Walk date – 6th May 2023
Distance – 7.6 miles
Weather – dry, overcast, light breeze, a few glimpses of sun
The weather forecast for today was sort of OK, dry and not very windy although it would be mostly overcast and not offering very much by way of sunshine. Although we tend not to go out walking at the weekend we thought it might be a reasonably good day for doing so today. The dull weather forecast might persuade folk to stay indoors and watch TV instead and thus parking might be easier. When we arrived at the lay-by on the A591 just outside Grasmere it wasn’t full and we parked up easily enough. After we’d crossed the road and made our way along the field path into the village we noticed the large field, where the Grasmere sports day is usually held in August, was obviously home to some other event for the day. No indication of what the event was so I checked up when we got back home and found that the Fred Whitton Challenge cycling events were being held there over this three day Bank Holiday weekend. That explained all the ‘Major Cycling Event’ notices, posted along various roadsides, that we had been seeing during the preceding days. The field contained rows of parked cars which probably explained why the lay-by wasn’t as full as it otherwise might have been. Grasmere village itself was just beginning to get started, with only a few people out and about, and there was the delicious aroma of gingerbread coming from the shop selling it as we walked past. A few walkers were spread out along the back road leading to Red Bank but none turned off onto the Kelbarrow path so we had the path to ourselves and encountered no more until we reached the top of Silver How. It was a similar story after leaving Silver How and it was only when we got back down to Easedale Tarn that we began seeing other walkers again.
Grasmere lay-by – Grasmere village – Kelbarrow – Silver How – Lang How – Swinescar Pike – Little Castle Crag – Great Castle Crag – Easedale Tarn – Easedale – Grasmere village – Grasmere lay-by
Silver How from the lay-by as we set off walking into the village via the field path.
The Grand hotel’s tree sculpture now complete. We noticed that work had started on this last year but as it had only just begun I didn’t take a shot of it. The tree, dating from around 1869, is/was a giant redwood into which has been carved various creatures – a flying bird at the very top, a squirrel – presumably a red, a woodpecker, and a couple of owl faces. There is a similar tree carving, a large owl on the opposite side of the hotel driveway which was completed several years ago and which has now weathered in very nicely.
Here’s where we turned off and passed through the wooden gate onto the Kelbarrow path. All the walkers ahead of us kept straight on, presumably heading for Loughrigg or a lakeside walk.
Spring greenery along the Kelbarrow path.
A pause to remove a layer and an opportunity to look back along the path so far. It was very muggy coming through the woodland so the long sleeved jumpers just had to come off. Things are looking rather dull and cloudy over the Nab Scar to Fairfield ridge and everything is very hazy.
Feeling a little more comfortable now that we have removed a layer and had a drink so off we go again on the steady climb towards our turn off point. No bracken shoots showing as yet, it seems to be a little later in arriving than usual this year. Some green shoots of it can generally be seen by now.
Seat Sandal, Fairfield and Great Rigg looking very sombre below all that cloud.
We reach the point where we’ll turn off and make our way up to the top of Silver How, although its not looking very silvery at the moment. The first part of the climb is over grass, the second part, through the narrow gully at the top end, consists of a stone pitched series of steps. All of it is steep so it makes for very warm work on a very muggy day.
The climb does offer some decent views of Grasmere water and Rydal Water beyond it though which are not available when walking along the path by the wall.
We’re on the stone pitched path at this point and almost at the top of the gully. The path up here started by the wall down below so its quite a climb. A view of Loughrigg and Dow Bank with Windermere in the distance is what you get at this point.
Just below the summit of Silver How at this point and a grand view of the Langdale Pikes. We could have had a grand view of Bowfell had it not been for all the cloud swirling around it over on the left of the shot.
On the summit now with a view of Helm Crag and Steel Fell across Far Easedale. A glimmer of sunlight lands on them and also on Clough Head behind them.
Fairfield, in the centre, still looking gloomy although Seat Sandal and Stone Arthur have bits and bobs of sunlight now and again.
The summit cairn on Silver Howe together with someone’s pack and walking poles lying on the ground close by. Their owner is out of shot behind me encouraging the rest of the group who are still making their way up.
We got waylaid for quite a while up here. We had a longish chat with an American chap from New Jersey who, when I asked how life was in the US, replied with a smile “Well, its always a trial.” He eventually went on his way and we were then approached by a young man asking for directions to Loughrigg from this point so we helped him out a bit more precisely than the app on his phone was able to do. The females in his group looked very uninterested and remained seated around the cairn with their sleeves pulled over their hands. The light breeze was a bit stronger up here though and we put our long sleeved jumpers back on. They went on their way only to be followed at the summit by another group of youngsters who also asked for directions back to Grasmere but using a different route to the one they had used for their ascent so once again we obliged. About twenty minutes had passed by this time so we started off again before we could be waylaid yet again.
Down we go following the path over to Lang How.
One of the tarns below Lang How. No more walkers were met from hereon.
The larger tarn below Lang How is gradually silting up but when we first walked past it was a much larger body of water.However that was a very long time ago, unfortunately! The top of Bowfell is still hidden by cloud.
On we go, now heading towards Swinescar Pike.
Another tarn comes into view as we follow the path around Swinescar Pike. I think the hill over to the left must be a viewpoint across Great Langdale. There was what looked to be a cairn on it but it is not named on the map so I can’t say what what its name is.
The path turns eastward so we have a sunny view of the Helvellyn range beyond Helm Crag and Steel Fell. The walk from Silver How over to Castle How is full of humps and bumps so the views are constantly changing.
On top of another bump now with a view of Pike O’Blisco, Crinkle Crags and Bowfell encircling the green fields of Oxendale.
Approaching the sprawl of Castle How. On the OS map the area consists of Little Castle How, Great Castle How and Looking Howe but its difficult to ascertain which part is which as they all seem to blend together. Anyway this is the first part of the cluster and between us and it is a marshy area so the path winds around it to the left and then begins to climb up the hillside. With a zoom in it might be possible to see the path passing below the area of fallen rock towards the middle of the shot.
We wind our way to the left and get a view of Lingmoor and Side Pike as we round the marshy area. The smoky grey Coniston fells are on the distant skyline.
Mum keeps a wary eye on us after we disturbed her lamb’s mid morning nap as we passed by. She didn’t look at all pleased about it either.
The skies have darkened again over the Helvellyn range and Fairfield. Its a very gloomy old morning so long distance views are hard to come by. On the plus side though it isn’t cold although our jumpers are still on, but that’s more to do with us not bothering to stop and remove them more than anything else.
Having threaded our way up, down, over and around all the humps and bumps we are finally reaching the end of our journey across from Silver Howe as Blea Rigg comes into view where there is one more part of Castle How to cross before we reach today’s descent path.
I think that that part of this sprawl of rocky hillocks is Looking Howe but don’t quote me on that because I’m not sure.
A lovely little tarn comes into view just before we climb the last little hill comprising Great Castle How …..
….. so we decided that it was just the place to stop and have something to eat before going any further. A very pleasant place to tuck into sandwiches and coffee.
After our break we carried on to the descent path between Castle How and Blea Rigg from where I took a look back over our route and …..
….. over towards the Helvellyn range where the cloud has lifted and blue skies have suddenly appeared.
We didn’t bother going over to Blea Rigg today since we had a walk up there in June last year so we began to make our way backdown to Easedale Tarn.
Typically the sun shone on our backs all the way down so we had to stop after a while to take off the jumpers. After a gloomy morning it was nice to have though and we weren’t complaining.
Back down at the site of the old refreshment hut above Easedale Tarn where, as far as walkers were concerned, it was business as usual. Lots of people up here just sitting and enjoying the afternoon sunshine or taking a paddle/swim in the tarn.
I managed a shot of Tarn Crag though despite the area being busy.
I stepped off the path for this shot as so many people were making their way up that there just wasn’t the space for all of us. It has turned into a very pleasant early afternoon and it isn’t a very long walk up from Grasmere which is why people are out and about. Even Seat Sandal and Fairfield have brightened up.
Seat Sandal and Fairfield still sunny behind the col between Helm Crag and Gibson Knott.
J, now down to bare arms, viewing Easedale Beck as we continue our descent into Easedale.
As we approached the falls a swimmer plunged into the pool but at the same moment I took the shot he appeared again and you can just see part of his face behind the rocks towards the bottom right of the shot.
A longer view of the same waterfall as drops down below Ecton Crag. The swimmer is out of the pool now and getting dried off just to the right of path.
Just below the series of falls is this neat and tidy sheepfold, it might not be visible when the bracken starts growing.
Almost back down in the valley bottom now so a longer view of the falls is possible. Plenty of people were still sweating their way up the path.
Blindtarn Cottage has a sad history connected to it. A search on the web for it will give the story so I won’t repeat it here.
Passing by New Bridge where a lady was sitting on the other side of the beck and painting her view of the scene.
One more beck to cross and then we hit the tarmac to begin the walk back down to a very busy Grasmere village.
The cloud once again hangs above Stone Arthur as we cross the field back to the lay-by. Cars are leaving the field where the Fred Whitton Challenge started from, the lay-by has thinned out and so we reach the end of today’s walk. The weather was agreeable and we’ve had an enjoyable day out but there were spits and spots of rain falling on us at this point and we ran into one or two heavier showers on the way home so it seems as though we’ve had the best of weather for today. The forecast is looking a bit dodgy for Bank Holiday Monday with stronger winds and rain being on the cards, ah well ’twas ever thus.