Alcock Tarn.

Start. Grasmere.

Route. Grasmere - Dove Cottage - Wood Close - Grey Crag - Alcock Tarn - Greenhead Gill - Grasmere.

Notes. Nestled in the palm of the mountains rocky hand 1200ft above the Vale of Grasmere sits a real Lakeland gem, little Alcock Tarn. Until the 19th century a natural tarn christened Butter Crags Tarn, enlarged by a Mr Alcock of The Hollins Grasmere to form a trout lake, unwittingly he has created a real tourist attraction for those with the energy to make the steep ascent. For me it holds fond memories, at the height of Thatchers Britain this is where it all begun, who'd of thought I'd have Mr Alcock and Margaret Thatcher to thank for my healthy obsession for the fells.

My morning started in a rather large lay-by on the edge of the A591 just north of Dove Cottage, I strolled down the main road before ascending the tarmac lane passed Dove Cottage, a short climb followed to reach a crossroads and a group of farm buildings with a pond to the left, just passed the crossroads a finger-post announced it was only 1¼ miles to Alcock Tarn. I left the tarmac, this way-marked path guided me through mixed woodland over a carpet of fallen leaves, before carrying me up the hill. After leaving the forestry behind I passed a round fish pond possibly Victorian, from here my route wound it's way in graceful curves up the fell side, I crossed the summit of Grey Crag before stepping onto the large shelf accommodating Alcock Tarn.

I wandered around a while, drinking in the atmosphere, soaking up the views before making my descent. After passing through a gate at the northern end of the tarn, I crossed a shallow defile between Butter Crag and the relentlessly steep slopes of Heron Pike. The path plunged down the flanks of Greenhead Gill, zigzags eased the strain on the leg joints, after fording the beck a field gate allowed access to a tarmac lane, which in turn guided me to the Swan Hotel where I turned left to start the short walk back along the main road.

view route map.

home.

Seen from the edge of the A591, Helm Crag rising from the Vale of Grasmere.

Rising to the west Silver How.

My route ahead.

The fish pond passed en route.

Clear of the forestry and views to Steel Fell and the pass of Dunmail tilt into view.

Viewing the Ullscarf skyline.

Looking down on the Vale of Grasmere with the lake and village clearly visible.

Taking centre stage Helm Crag with it's long ridge leading to Greenup Edge and Ullscarf.

Grey Crag guardian of Alcock Tarn.

Seen from under the low cliffs of Grey Crag the Langdale skyline.

Seen through the pass of Dunmail Raise, carrying a little snow Skiddaw.

A glimpse of Windermere Lake over Loughrigg Fell.

Stunning vistas to the Coniston massif with Grasmere adding a little sparkle to the valley below.

Wonderful views to Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and the Langdale Pikes.

The Langdale skyline seen over Alcock Tarn.

Viewing Great Rigg from Alcock Tarn.

South over Windermere Lake.

Seen over the long ridge of Lingmoor Fell, Wetherlam, Great Carrs and Swirl How guardians of the Greenburn valley.

Another look across this delightful stretch of Lakeland water.

About to pass Butter Crags (on the left) looking to Great Rigg.

Cutting deep into the flanks of Stone Arthur and Heron Pike, with Great Rigg at it's head Greenhead Gill.

From my descent path views to Silver How.

And finally after a tortuous descent from the mountain, Greenhead Gill takes on a rather tranquil guise as it heads across the valley to become part of the River Rothay.

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