Heron Pike, Great Rigg and Stone Arthur

Walk date – 27th June 2021

Distance – 6.3 miles

Weather – mostly dull and cloudy, occasional sun, a very slight breeze


Low and heavy cloud has been the order of the day recently but today was supposed to be slightly better, turned out it wasn’t, but we gave it a try anyway. The cloud stubbornly refused to shift, not surprising since there wasn’t any wind to speak of, so there was little sunshine today and the resulting low light meant it wasn’t a good day for photography. Shame about that since there are some good views to be had on this walk. Nevertheless we had a very pleasant walk in mild and windless weather so it wasn’t too bad on the whole. A bit more sunshine would have made all the difference.


Grasmere (A591 lay-by) – Greenhead Gill – Alcock Tarn – Nab Scar – Heron Pike – Erne Crag – Great Rigg – Stone Arthur – Greenhead Gill – Grasmere (A591 lay-by)

We walked up from the lay-by using the tarmac lane alongside Greenhead Gill. The bridge which replaced the old stone one lower down the gill has lost its initial rawness, has weathered in nicely and no longer sticks out like a sore thumb. Once across the bridge its just a matter of following the path on the opposite side until you reach Alcock Tarn.

The view from further up the path above Greenhead Gill when we stopped at the seat to mop our faces and remove our very lightweight outer layer. Its quite muggy today and there’s not much by way of a breeze through here.

Looking south along Alcock Tarn

Behind us is a view of Stone Arthur, we’ll be descending Stone Arthur on the return leg of today’s walk.

From the tarn we climb over the stile in the wall below and follow the traverse path below Heron Pike over to Nab Scar. Looking back at the tarn shows that little by little the reeds in the tarn are taking over. If that process is allowed to continue the tarn will eventually disappear, the ducks will have lost their watering hole and we will have lost a lovely place to visit.

Bowfell gets one of today’s very rare and fleeting sunny spells. Crinkle Crags and the Langdale Pikes on either side of it remain in the shadows.

Heading towards Nab Scar as we reach the ridge line. As you can see from J’s attire its very mild today despite the cloud.

Grasmere from Nab Scar. The Coniston Fells are over on the left skyline, over on the right of it Crinkle Crags and Bowfell have another splash of sunlight. I keep wondering when it will be our turn.

Ahead of us is Lord Crag, just after taking this shot a steady stream of walkers began appearing from the Rydal side of Nab Scar. We did have an occasional patch of blue sky every now and again, this was one of them.

View of Lake Windermere from higher up Lord Crag.

The view ahead as we reach Heron Pike where a lot of walkers had decided to stop for a break so it was quite busy just here. Just ahead is Erne Crag, our next port of call.

Slightly to the left of the previous shot where Seat Sandal and Dollywaggon Pike, and the rest of the Helvellyn range, are appearing behind the Great Rigg ridge.

The walkers who had been perched here when we arrived had now moved on which gave me a chance to actually show the summit area on Heron Pike. Everybody else was considerately taking their break on the grassy area over to the right.

On the way over to Erne Crag now and another splash of sunlight, landing this time on Grasmere. Over on the extreme right Scafell Pike and Great End are beginning to appear.

Looking back to Heron Pike where the crowd of walkers is gradually dispersing and continuing along the ridge.

Approaching Erne Crag.

The view towards Rydal Head as we carry on from Erne Crag. Great Rigg, Fairfield and Hart Crag are on the skyline. Another section of easy walking is ahead of us before the steep climb up to the summit of Great Rigg.

A look across the Rydal Beck valley to High Pike from a nameless tarn along the way …..

….. and from the same tarn a look back to Erne Crag where the walkers passing over it are silhouetted against the sky.

Looking towards Rydal Head, and down to the Rydal Beck valley on the right.

Plenty of water on view from this shot looking back along the ridge. Lake Windermere on the left, Coniston Water in the distance on the right, and Grasmere below to the right. We’ve reached the point at which the path begins to steepen as it rises up to the summit of Great Rigg.

It was busy along the ridge today but not over crowded. Walkers were well spaced out along the ridge and the spaces between all of us increased as the steep climb slowed everybody down. This shot shows the last part of the climb just below the summit. Knowing it would be very busy up there we decided to take a break before going on to the summit so we veered off towards the cairn over on the left, found a quiet spot and had our lunch break.

After our break we made the short walk up to the summit, still very busy with walkers also taking their lunch break, where I took a few shots of the surrounding views. Here the view is of Seat Sandal, on the left, with Dollywaggon Pike in the centre and the slopes of Fairfield rising on the right. With a zoom in you can just about see a smidge of Grisedale Tarn.

The ridge path going over to Fairfield. Most of the walkers on Great Rigg appeared to have made it their end point today as we saw many of those we had seen on the way up making their way back the way they had arrived. There were a few walkers making their way to Great Rigg from Fairfield so perhaps they were doing the full horseshoe. In the distance a sunlit Striding Edge and Helvellyn can be seen, and behind them the pointed top of Catstycam.

Hart Crag and Dove Crag, across the valley, form part of the eastern section of the Fairfield Horseshoe.

Looking back towards Lake Windermere along the Heron Pike ridge from Great Rigg.

The cairn on Great Rigg summit.

Long distance views were on the gloomy side today thanks to the heavy cloud but I had a go anyway. Left to right on the skyline are Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Scafell, Scafell Pike, Ill Crag and Great End.

The Coniston Fells from Great Rigg.

The north western fells, too many to name individually, beyond the slopes of Seat Sandal.

The unmistakeable silhouette of Great Gable appears over on the left, the next big lump along is Pillar and over on the right is the High Crag-High Stile-Red Pike ridge above Buttermere.

Appearing above the lower fells around Easedale are Pike O’Blisco, Crinkle Crags and Bowfell.

We leave the summit and make our way down to Stone Arthur. Ahead of us is a group of fifteen walkers who appeared on Great Rigg from Fairfield as I finished taking the long distance views. We thought they might be doing the whole horseshoe and carrying on along the ridge to Heron Pike but they turned down here instead.

Not wishing to muscle in on them we maintained a good distance between the group and ourselves as we headed down to Stone Arthur.

A glimpse of Easedale Tarn beyond Helm Crag as we made our way down, followed by …..

….. a shot of Alcock Tarn, Coniston Water and part of Grasmere.

A look across to the Heron Pike/Erne Crag ridge line …..

….. and a look back up towards Great Rigg before we lost the view.

The walking group at the Stone Arthur summit from the bield. We waited  here for a few minutes until the group moved off expecting them to follow the established path back down. Instead of following the path off to the left they descended to the right and took an off path route back to wherever their vehicles had been parked.

Stone Arthur summit, marked by a couple of stones on this outcrop of rock.

Yours truly on Stone Arthur’s summit.

Grasmere village and water from Stone Arthur.

Almost back down to the bridge where we started. Much of the descent path is on the steep side so the brakes had to be kept on for most of the way. Relief for the knees and thigh muscles when …..

….. we finally got down to the tarmac lane beside Greenhead Gill. The washed away old stone bridge used to cross the gill at this point.

Helm Crag is in full view now and we are almost at the end of today’s walk. We bear left down the lane heading for the A591 noting the amount of cars which have parked up along it since we arrived this morning. I expect that many of their occupants would normally have taken a holiday abroad but for the insane restrictions on travel. After the hypocrisy of the G7 shenanigans, the UEFA football officials saga and the tawdry Matt HankPanky affair why anyone still complies with anything to do with this pandemic nonsense utterly astonishes me. All the data shows that there never was a pandemic or an emergency, that a seasonal ‘flu/pneumonia, which ended last year with the arrival of summer as is always the case, was, and is still being, deceitfully classified as something else. A plague on all their houses, as the saying goes. Liars, deceivers and cheats the whole despicable bunch of them.