Far Easedale and Sourmilk Gill.

Start. Lay-by on A591.

Route. Lay-by on A591 - Grasmere - Easedale Road - Far Easedale - Stythwaite Steps - Easedale Tarn - Sourmilk Gill - Easedale - Easedale Road - Grasmere - Lay-by on A591.

Notes. I find myself back in the Vale of Grasmere today, back in the lay-by just north of the mini-roundabout, time was again of the essence, a re-occurring theme, an excuse that's beginning to pall, my destination Easedale Tarn. Once visited by Victorian gentry, they laid a track to guide their fell trekking ponies into the hills, many walkers use this track today but alas, the tea room that serviced their thirst as long gone. Just Northwest of Grasmere tucked away in the folds of the hills lies a lonely boggy valley, visited by few, Far Easedale, this short excursion kisses the mouth of said valley, just close enough to fuel the imagination.

I followed the same route as the last time, signed paths ushered me into Grasmere via Millennium Bridge, Easedale Road again guided me to a small cluster of grey slate houses, but this time I ignored the noisy crowds heading up Helm Crag, I continued into the lonely, the quiet Lakeland I love so much, just me, a few sheep and the sound of tumbling water. A stoney track guided me under Jackdaw Crag between dry stone walls as far as the foot-bridge at Stythwaite Steps, built to replace the stepping stones, then re-built to replace the one that got washed away.

I crossed said bridge before leaving Far Easedale, a narrow path on the left guided me under Stenners Crag and Cockly Crag, stepping stones aided my crossing of boggy ground, the many cataracts of Sourmilk Gill were soon accompanying me towards a vast bowl honed by ice and sculptured by wind and rain, Easedale Tarn occupies this vast bowl reflecting the sky and hills bringing life to this high valley. I forded the beck before finding a comfy perch to sit and drink in the atmosphere. Surrounded on three sides by towering cliffs it was easy to imagine Victorian gentry dressed in finery sipping tea and soaking up the ether, it was the track they built that was to guide me off the hill. I descended to the west, the waters of Sourmilk Gill my constant companion, under Brinhowe Crag I wandered passed some splendid cascades, once in the valley the track crossed sheep pastures before ejecting me into Easedale Road, all that remained, to re-trace me steps of earlier.

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Rising above the Vale of Grasmere, Helm Crag.

En route to Millennium Bridge and the lovely village of Grasmere.

The rocky crown of Stone Arthur seen from near Millennium Bridge.

This stoney track once the main route over the hills to Borrowdale was my guide to Far Easedale.

Heading into Far Easedale viewing the milky waters of Sourmilk Gill.

Stythwaite Steps and an alluring view into Far Easedale.

Autumnal views across the vast tract of wetland that guards the route between Easedale and Far Easedale,

Heading through an empty wilderness looking back to Helm Crag.

Dramatic rock scenery over Easedale Tarn, Blea Crag with Eagle Crag to the right.

Easedale Tarn an inspiring place, gracing the northern skyline Tarn Crag.

Wonderful views over Bracken Hause, to the left Dollywaggon Pike with Fairfield on the right.

One of many never tiring cataracts and cascades that add to the splendour of Sourmilk Gill.

Sourmilk Gill in a constant rush to reach lower pastures.

In those lower pastures looking to Tarn Crag.

Stone Arthur with Great Rigg beyond, seen from the fields of Easedale.

Heron Pike towers above the Vale of Grasmere.

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