Easedale Tarn from Grasmere.

Start. Grasmere.

Route. Grasmere - Easedale Road - New Bridge - Sour Milk Gill - Easedale Tarn - Cockly Crag - Stythwaite Steps - Easedale Road - Grasmere.

Notes. Trapped in a hollow between the foreboding cliffs of Blea Rigg and aptly named Tarn Crag, Easedale Tarn proves to be a popular visitors attraction, and has since the Victorians first set foot on it's shores over a hundred years ago, they constructed the original pony track that conveys today’s visitors. So popular was it, an entrepreneur from Grasmere, Robert Hayton established a tea shop just above the outflow, all that remains is a rather large boulder surrounded by nettles in summer. Referring to it's gloomy, sombre appearance on days of low cloud and heavy weather, Dorothy Wordsworth described Easedale as the “Black Quarter”, no such problems today, it was what I like to call an icing sugar day, snow on the hills, sunlight in the valleys, god was in his heaven as I wandered along the track from Grasmere.

My route today was simple but not conventional. After parking in Grasmere I made my way down Easedale Road, when the road swung sharp right at a small copse I stepped into the wood, a metal gate allowed access to pastures. I wandered on over the surface of a well used track, at a steep rise I joined the many cataracts and cascades of Sour Milk Gill. Guided by the waters of the gill I wandered on soon reaching the undoubtedly picturesque Easedale Tarn.

After sitting a while, drinking in the atmosphere I forded the beck to start the rather unconventional stretch of the days little outing. The main path swung right skirting Cockly Crag, normally this would be my preferred route, instead I turned left, a faint path carried me along the shore line before I swung right to ascend the crag. Crabbing from sheep track to sheep track I wound my way through dead bracken. After summiting Cockly Crag I picked my way over, around and down low crags, eventually descending to the main path linking Easedale with Far Easedale. A short descent followed before reaching and crossing the wooded foot-bridge at Stythwaite Steps. I was now in Far Easedale following the waters of Far Easedale Beck south, when the path left the beck I stepped between dry stone walls, this narrow stoney lane guided me through woodland before a gate allowed access to a tarmac lane, it was easy walking over a level surface in stark contrast to the stone strewn lane I'd just exited, easy walking back to Grasmere, allowing plenty of opportunities to glance over my shoulder to admire the landscape I'd just been wandering through.

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Looking quite imposing from Easedale Road, the steep slopes and rocky crown of Stone Arthur backed by the snow covered ridge leading to Heron Pike.

Under winter conditions, Tarn Crag seen from Easedale Road.

With banks lined with birch and holly, in no particular hurry to spill it's waters into Grasmere, Easedale Beck showing no sign of the drama just a little further up stream.

A glance of Tarn Crag rising behind the cliffs of Brinhow Crag.

The attractive cataracts of Sour Milk Gill tumble from upper Easedale.

A little height gained and Heron Pike tilts into view.

One of the many cascades that make up Sour Milk Gill, christened by the Victorians, Churn Milk Gill, they thought the tumbling waters resembled churning milk.

Stunning views down Easedale with Heron Pike under snow and Wansfell Pike on the far horizon.

Rising above Bracken Hause, under heavy snow Dollywaggon Pik and Fairfield.

There's a timeless quality about the landscape up here, here's a shot to Far Easedale over the rolling slopes leading to Tarn Crag, across the skyline Gibson Knott and the cliffs of Moment Crag.

This may just be a rather large boulder with a stunning view to Helm Crag and Fairfield to me and you, but take a look below.

Built to slack the thirst of Victorian visitors, a touch of luxury in a wild landscape, I sort of wish it was still in use.

A stunning view to an icy wonderland, from a rather large boulder above the outflow of Easedale Tarn, Dollywaggon Pike, Fairfield and the ridge leading over Stone Arthur seen over Helm Crag.

Who needs summer when winter brings scenes like this, Tarn Crag rising over Easedale Tarn.

Closing the head of the valley Blea Rigg and Eagle Crag.

Devoid of foot-paths the approach to Cockly Crag, a little discomfort gifted me with many views like this one over Helm Crag to the snow covered ridges leading over Fairfield and Great Rigg.

From the summit of Cockly Crag wonderful views across the Vale of Grasmere with Heron Pike dominating the scene.

Looking back to Tarn Crag.

Wandering through a timeless landscape, I could be miles from anywhere, looking to Blea Rigg proving I'm less than a mile from Easedale Tarn.

Another lonely Lakeland gem, Far Easedale dominated by the cliffs of Calf Crag.

The foot-bridge at Stythwaite Steps, as it's name would suggest the bridge replaced a set of stepping stones.

Viewing the tumbling turbulent waters of Sour Milk Gill.

With tarmac under my boot soles wandering back to Grasmere, looking back to Tarn Crags with fond memories.

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