Easedale Tarn

Walk Date – 16th April 2016

Distance – 6.3 miles

Weather – dry and sunny, very cold north wind


Today’s walk starts in Grasmere which meant a bit of a detour since the A591 is still closed to general traffic. It is scheduled to re-open to all traffic on 13th May, an event that everyone is definitely longing for. We decided on a low level walk as the forecast was for a very strong and very cold north wind and being on the high fells in those circumstances isn’t especially enjoyable.


We parked in one of the lay-bys on the outskirts of Grasmere from where I took this shot of Tarn Crag, on the left, Helm Crag and Steel Fell over to the right.

A short walk from the lay-by brings you to the Millenium Bridge and the footpath into Grasmere village. Its a lovely sunny morning but crikey, its so cold even down here at valley level.

We take the Easedale Road out of Grasmere where we cross over this bridge into Easedale itself.

From the bridge a paved path runs close by the beck, an easy walk which gets the leg muscles nicely warmed up

Across the beck is Helm Crag below which is another footpath, not visible in the photo though, which also leads up to Easedale Tarn. We’ll be using that one for the return leg of the walk.

On the skyline behind us is Stone Arthur, the one with the rocky lumps on top of it. Behind that is Great Rigg and behind that is Fairfield. I’m thinking that it will be rather nippy for anyone walking up there today. I’m already getting fed up with blowing my nose and wiping my eyes in this cold wind and I haven’t walked any great distance so far.

New Bridge across the beck, although its not that new any more.

New Bridge looking towards Far Easedale.

Blindtarn Cottage. A very tragic story is connected to this house, the details of which were written down shortly afterwards by William Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy, who refers to it as ‘Blentarn’.  Her account of the tragedy is much too long to reproduce here, but if you would like to know more about it here’s the link to the full story – https://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~rayl/greens_doc/Greens%20of%20Grasmere.html

We’re well into Easedale now and straight in front of us are the waterfalls in Sour Milk Gill with the footpath climbing alongside to the left of them.

I took a long distance close up of the falls to avoid having to scramble down to the bottom when we got nearer to them.

Before reaching the falls I turned round to take this shot looking back into Easedale. This is a very popular walk so there were lots of people on the footpath, most of them doing the same as us, removing jackets now that there’s more warmth from the sun and protection from the wind.

How can I have walked up this path so many times and not have noticed that sheepfold before today? Maybe the bright sunlight and the absence of tall bracken made it stand out today, or perhaps I’ve just not been very observant on previous occasions.

The view of the falls from the path isn’t so good and getting down into the gill is awkward, which is why I took the close up shot earlier on.

Higher up there is a better view of one of the bigger falls …..

….. and you can get as close to it as you like down there on the rocks. I stayed higher as I wanted to include the pool at the bottom in the shot. I keep meaning to come here in the middle of winter when there is a chance of seeing the falls in a frozen state, but so far I haven’t got round to it.

We’ve climbed above the falls now and the gradient has eased. The path is down towards the bottom right of the shot with a couple of walkers making their way along it. The fell in the middle foreground is Helm Crag, and just behind it is Great Rigg which rises on the left up to Fairfield.

A close up of Grisedale Hause, the U-shaped gap between Seat Sandal on the left and Fairfield on the right. Both of them smothered in shadow by those menacing dark clouds.

A longer view of the previous shot.

The large boulder and stones mark the site of what was once a refreshment hut in days gone by. I wish it was still here as a bowl of hot soup would have been most welcome, it was perishing up here and the jackets were back on again.

Easedale Tarn. A lovely spot for a picnic on a hot summer day. The blue sky and sunshine are deceptive though, and the very few walkers who did stop and rummage in their packs for a little light refreshment were huddled into thick jackets, woolly hats, winter gloves and anything else they could find to keep out the cold wind.

Across on the other side of the tarn is Tarn Crag. I don’t suppose you could call it anything else really.

At the far end of the tarn is the Blea Rigg ridge.

Tarn Crag on the far side of the tarn.

The surrounding fells were no protection against the wind today so no reflections on the tarn today.

I’m surprised this shot came out as level as it did, I had to lean into the wind just to be able to stand upright. Time to go and get some shelter I think, I can’t feel my fingers they are so numb.

We crossed the tarn outflow and picked up the little path opposite so we can return to Grasmere via Far Easedale.

This route does have one big drawback though, and there’s quite a long waterlogged section where there are stepping stones to help to get you across with dry feet.

We’re a good way down now, and we have some shelter from the biting wind, so I take a look back at Tarn Crag.

This tree managed to find a home in the split boulder. It should continue to thrive as it has a plentiful supply of water. Saturated, soggy, squelchy, call it what you like but its best not to step into it as it is definitely above boot top level.

Close by is this huge boulder which doubles up as a waymarker for Grasmere. It also sports a rather natty hair style. The boulder is also surrounded by a morass of squelch.

Here’s the two of them being overlooked by Helm Crag.

Another look back up towards Tarn Crag.

About to cross Far Easedale Gill at Stythwaite Steps. Hang on a minute that’s a bridge, I can hear you saying, but …..

….. here are the steps, or stepping stones, which are just below the bridge. The bridge is handy when the beck is in spate and it covers the steps.

Stythwaite Steps and bridge and a view into Far Easedale, and looking up at some rather threatening dark clouds coming our way. Let’s hope they hang on to their contents until we get back to the car.

Well, there goes the blue sky and sunshine leaving us to walk down Far Easedale under dull grey skies. There’s another sheepfold that I haven’t noticed before too, I’m definitely blaming it on the bracken for growing so tall that they are hidden from view in the summer. Now that its died back everything stands out a lot more.

A cluster of old barns alongside the path in Far Easedale.

The waterfalls in Sour Milk Gill, and the path we walked up to begin with, from the Far Easedale side.

Similarly, a view of New Bridge from the other side.

The rough track eventually gives way to this tarmac lane. Here’s a look back at Tarn Crag, the fell in the shade behind the the big house. I kept thinking about who might have been living there when the Blindtarn Cottage tragedy occurred and if they had been able to offer any help at the time.

A patch of weak sunlight lands on Stone Arthur as we return down the lane to Grasmere.

We’re almost back in the village so before the view disappears I took a shot of Helm Crag, on the left, with Seat Sandal on the right. As you can see a lot of cloud has built up and this eventually got thicker and greyer the further east we went as we drove back home via the Kirkstone Pass. About halfway along Ullswater we ended up driving through a mixture of rain, sleet, hail and snow, and if it keeps going overnight then things could look a bit wintry again tomorrow.