Greenhead Gill Round.

Start. Grasmere.

Route. Grasmere - Swan Hotel - Greenhead Gill - Stone Arthur - Brackenwife Knotts - Great Rigg - Erne Crag - Rydal Fell - Heron Pike - Allcock Tarn - Grey Crag - Bracken Fell - How Top - Dove Cottage - Grasmere.

Notes. A much neglected round ascending to Fairfield's southern ridge via the rocky playground of Stone Arthur, the route kisses the popular Fairfield Horseshoe before plunging from the summit of Heron Pike, a pathless descent to Alcock Tarn, or maybe Allcock Tarn, for this account I'll ignore the OS map and refer to the latter. From Allcock Tarn an easy descent through Bracken Fell Woods deposited me back in Grasmere.

After parking in the large lay-by just north of the mini roundabout at Grasmere I made my way north along the edge of the A591, the Swan Hotel marked the point I left the main road. The narrow lane next to the hotel ushered me to a finger-post inviting me to Allcock Tarn and Stone Arthur, this path first followed another narrow lane ascending in the company of Greenhead Gill, before ejecting me onto the fell side, ignoring the path to the right (Allcock Tarn) I turned left destination Stone Arthur.

The initial ascent was steep before the path traversed across the contours of the hill, easing pressure on legs and lungs, I'll be honest it wasn't that bad. My route passed above the deep cut ravine of Greenhead Gill with the remains of the Grasmere Lead Mine somewhere in the beck bottom. A steady climb soon saw me scrambling up the rocky nose of Stone Arthur, winding my way through wonderful rock architecture before the final pull to the summit of Great Rigg. From Great Rigg I turned south, away from Fairfield, the ridge line stretched out before me, along it I wandered, a well trod path under foot, a short detour saw me brewing tea on the summit of little Erne Crag, not mentioned on any tick lists but jolly well should be, it's a wonderful little top passed by by most walkers on their way to higher things.

From this much neglected top it was a short walk above Blind Cove to the summit of Heron Pike. Take a look at the map, a path descends from here to the foot of Greenhead Gill, think again you're out of luck, no path exists on the ground, and if it did we'd miss a Lakeland gem, a diamond in a rocky hollow, Allcock Tarn. As it was a clear day I just plunged over grassy slopes, once the tarn tilted into view I made straight for it. Formally known as Butter Crags Tarn it was enlarged by the construction of a stone and earth dam, stocked with brown trout and re-named Allcock Tarn after the chap who commissioned the work. After the tarn a well trod path descends over Grey Crag winding it's way down hill, it passes through the National Trust owned Bracken Fell before reaching a tarmac lane above Dove Cottage. This was part of the Grasmere/Rydal coffin route, it deposited me back on the main road amidst the crowds heading to and from Dove Cottage.

view route map.


On view from the edge of the A591, Helm Crag and Steel Fell.

Greenhead Gill.

Clear of the tree line, views across the Vale of Grasmere tilt into view.

High above Greenhead Gill with this stunning view across Easedale and the Vale of Grasmere to take my mind off the drop behind me.

Magical views to the Coniston massif.

Rising from Great Langdale the Langdale Pikes, Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell, with Easedale Tarn resting in a grassy hollow under the cliffs of Blea Rigg.

Much neglected Erne Crag with Heron Pike to the right.

Dollywaggon Pike rises above Hause Gap with Seat Sandal to the left and Fairfield the right.

A wonderful view from the ascent of Great Rigg, let the grassy trod guide the eye to the summit of Stone Arthur before drifting away to the western fells.

Great Rigg provides a fine viewpoint, Windermere Lake and the ridge path over Erne Crag and Heron Pike.

Drinking in the views to the head of Grisedale, Grisedale Tarn is just visible over Hawes Gap with Dollywaggon Pike dominating the scene.

In the distance the desolate stoney summit of Fairfield.

A lone walker soaks up views to the mighty head of Rydal.

Taking in the view from the summit of Erne Crag, Great Rigg mighty Fairfield and the shadowed Rydal face of Hart Crag.

Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell as seen from Heron Pike.

Allcock Tarn nestles in a rocky hollow above the Vale of Grasmere.

Dappled light across the central fells.

From the descent to Allcock Tarn striking views over Grasmere, looming above the scene Coniston Old Man and it's lieutenants.

Allcock Tarn a gem in a mountain setting.

We've been there, rising into scudding cloud Great Rigg.

My descent route with stunning views over the Vale of Grasmere.

Sunlit lowlands with Helm Crag under a dark shadow.

Victorian fish pond passed en route.

The route through Bracken Fell.

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