Indecision Time: Greendale Tarn and Middle Fell


The Junior Sherpa, The Adopted Yorkshire Couple, The Shandy Sherpa, The Beach Funster. Dr R discretely out of shot somewhere?

You’ll know those conversations which just go round in circles; it’s pretty clear what most people involved think, but nobody wants to make a decision? The kind of dead end back and forth typified by the scene with the vultures in the Disney Jungle Book film?*

First I say, “What we gonna do?” Then you say, “I don’t know. What’cha wanna do?” Then I say, “What we gonna do?” Then you say, “What’cha wanna do?” “What we gonna do? What you want…” Let’s do SOMETHING!!!

Well, we’d had exactly that sort of round and round discussion: It’s raining, the forecast’s diabolic, let’s make it a valley walk. I’m for carrying on. Well my (knee, groin, foot, ear….choose your own favourite) is playing up, I’d settle for turning back. I don’t know, it’s a shame not to climb a hill when we’ve got the chance. Then again, it is pretty foul….etc, etc, etc

Since there was no ‘crazy-looking bunch of bones’ on the horizon, we needed an idea to break the deadlock. I suggested that we amend our plan to climb Middle Fell by it’s South-Western Shoulder and instead follow Greendale Gill up to Greendale Tarn and then assess the situation again. I’m always a bit surprised when my suggestions carry the day, but on this occasion that’s precisely what happened. (Nothing to do, I’m sure, with the sulk which would have followed if I hadn’t got my way!)

We’d been standing by the bridge in the tiny hamlet of Greendale, having walked there from our campsite in Nether Wasdale – the destination for our annual May Bank Holiday get together. The party comprised the usual suspects, minus some who had elected to race, maypole-dance and eat cake at the Wasdale Show, but with the welcome addition of our friend Dr R who had driven round from Silverdale for a walk.

So we set-off alongside Greendale Tarn, all that is, except for Uncle Fester, who isn’t easily diverted once he’s hit upon an excuse not to go for a walk, and who’d headed back to the campsite. Which meant that he missed the droves of young people dressed in bin-bags who passed us en route to who knows where; and that he also missed the relatively sheltered and relatively dry spot we found for, in the circumstances, a really quite pleasant lunch and brew stop (pictured above).


Having reached Greendale Tarn, and the weather having improved a little, contrary to the pessimistic forecasts, we decided to continue and take in Middle Fell. After another round of back and forth, about whether to take a direct route to the top, or instead to head toward the ridge and then turn back to the summit, we eventually split into two parties.


I’ve really come to enjoy these broken Lakeland slopes, because with a bit of care, it’s usually possible to string a route through craggy ground which gives a pleasant impression, or perhaps I should say illusion, of exposure, without actually being at all difficult or risky.


This was a case in point and I found a few places to do some very easy scrabbling to take my mind of the effort of the ascent.


We met up again on the top, and although the views were a bit limited…


…it was frankly, great to have some views after such an unpromising start to the day.


Tongue Gills

We finished by descending the shoulder we had intended originally to climb, below the imposing crags of Buckbarrow.


A victory for ‘flap(ing) over to the East side of the jungle’ in my opinion.

Middle Fell and Greendale Tarn

*I am aware that there’s more than one Disney Jungle Book film, but I prefer to ignore the existence of all but the first.

‘Indecision Time’ incidentally, is a song from Hüsker Dü’s magisterial double album ‘Zen Arcade’. If you like your melody swathed in a wall of noisy distorted guitar, you’ll love it.

Indecision Time: Greendale Tarn and Middle Fell

3 thoughts on “Indecision Time: Greendale Tarn and Middle Fell

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I don’t know – I quite like a changeable day on my tod, when I’m in the mood. I’m more likely to cave in to the temptation to turn back though I suspect. I certainly enjoyed the walk anyway.

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