A Circuit of Blelham Tarn.

Start. Wray Castle.

Route. Wray Castle - Gate House - Low Wray Bridge - High Tock How - Hole House - Old Vicarage - Wood Close Point - High Wray Bay - Watbarrow Point - Low Wray Bay - Wray Castle.

Notes. Another wet day, not as bad as yesterday but wet none the less. I dug into the deep recesses of my mind and dredged this short walk to the surface. A circular ramble around Blelham Tarn, I'd be walking on new ground, to the best of my knowledge I have never set foot in this part of Lakeland.

I parked at the National Trust owned Wray Castle, a Victorian mock Gothic structure equipped with everything a good castle should have. My route followed the access drive to the gate house, I turned right onto a narrow ribbon of the grey stuff, tarmac rambling soon ended. After crossing Low Wray Bridge I accessed a footpath running parallel to the road, at an obvious path junction guarded by a gate and finger-post I checked the map, a number of interesting place names jumped from the map sheet, Outgate was in the right direction so it was the route to Outgate that took my fancy. Above Blelham Tarn I rambled, through wild flower meadows and mature woodland. At the next path junction I ignored the Outgate path instead ascending to High Tock How, after passing a typical Lakeland barn the path swung right, I continued straight on passing through a field gate onto a muddy track, this in turn deposited me at High Tock How Farm. I followed the access drive onto a narrow tarmac lane.

Almost immediately another finger-post announced I'd reached the path to Wray Castle, this route passed whitewashed Hole House depositing me in wild flower meadows with stunning views over Blelham Tarn to the cloud draped hills of south Lakeland. Free of grazing farm animals these fields were alive with colour, if only the sun would shine. On I rambled stiles aiding my crossing of field boundaries, to my right the whispering waters of Wray Beck kept me company, mature hedgerows guided me to an oak-covered knoll, I passed to the left of said knoll where a gate allowed access to a small oak cops and clapper bridge. I crossed to ascend a low ridge, at the head of the ridge I stepped through a field gate onto a narrow tarmac lane, I turned left. With tarmac under foot I rambled passed The Old Vicarage, round the next corner the gate house I'd passed earlier.

Just before reaching the neo-gothic building with it's turrets and arch windows a finger-post invited me to Belle Grange, I obliged following a well graded path to the shore of Windermere Lake. After passing through a gate on the left, a cast iron sign announced I had just stepped onto National Trust land. A good path then ushered me along the lake shore, passed Epley Point I rambled through the woods on Watbarrow and on to Low Wray Bay, I turned left at a wooden boat house, a short walk followed to the castle, the crowds and the patiently waiting car.

view route map


Looking north over the farmland surrounding Wray Castle.

Heading along the access drive away from Wray Castle, hands up if anyone out there knows the name of the hill under cloud, I initially thought it was Nab Scar.

A moody Lakeland day, looking to Todd Crag.

Latterbarrow above Blelham Tarn.

En route to High Tock How.

Viewing Wansfell Pike across Blelham Tarn.

Typical Lakeland barn on High Tock How.

Under a sullen sky the arms of the Fairfield Horseshoe.

There seems to be a trend in the Lake District to remove stiles to replace them with gates in the name of disabled access, nothing wrong with that, I may be disabled myself one day, a number of these old stiles aid the ramblers progress on what must be an ancient right of way, wouldn't it be a travesty if the park authorities decided to replace them.

Wild flower meadows below Hole House.

Clapper Bridge across Wray Beck.

This mock-gothic gate house marks the entrance to Wray Castle.

High Wray Bay.

Views across Windermere Lake from High Wray Bay.

Seen over High Wray Bay sylvan Wood Close Point.

Epley Point backed by Wansfell Pike.

Wray Castle, a mock Gothic building built in 1840 for a retired Liverpudlian surgeon. A brief history, In 1920 the castle was given to the National Trust, in 1931 they leased it to the Freshwater Biological Association, from 1958 to 1998 it became a training college for Merchant Navy radio officers....

....by 2011 it was empty, the trust proposed to lease the property for use as a hotel, however they decided to open it to the public during the holiday season that year, high visitor numbers reflected the castles clear potential. In 2014 the trust applied for retrospective planning permission to change the use of the listed building to a tourist attraction, so here I am amongst the tourists visiting Wray Castle.

Windermere Lake seen from Wray Castle.

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