Sunday, 2 June 2013


As I mentioned in the last post, I've been hanging around Grasmere with not a lot to do, cos himself has been busy teaching.

OK, so I lied.  How can you be in the middle of the Lake District and not have anything to do!  It was quite the opposite.... I couldn't work out where I wanted to go.   Looking at the surrounding hills on my map, I chose to head up to Stone Arthur, cos I liked the name, and then just beyond it was Great Rigg, and then Fairfield.  When you say it like that, it's not far at all.   I could come down using a route I knew Peter had chosen for a video.  It's called "In High Places", you might see it on Sky if you watch the painting and drawing channel.  Basically the route comes past Grisedale Tarn and follows Ton Tongue Gill back to the main road into Grasmere.  

So that was the route planned, and I only needed one map.  So once Peter's class was underway, and I'd only disturbed him three or four of times, (to hand in the keys, and then go back for the keys cos I'd forgotten me sticks, and then to hand in the keys etc.),  I was off. 

The very direct route from Grasmere up to Stone Arthur is very steep. In fact, the path on the map doesn't match the one on the ground at all.  This would be because you'd need climbing gear to follow the very direct  ROW on the OS map.  The very sensible walking fraternity before me have decided they didn't want to climb, and instead, used their boots to carve out a zig zag path up.  Still steep, but now walkable, and much more sensible.  I needed loads of rest stops though.  Hey Presto, loads of pictures. 
The views start to open out quickly.  We are so lucky to have such a lush green country to live in. 
Stone Arthur ahead.  I'm glad I decided to come here, I really like the way the rocks terrace.  
Views from Stone Arthur, there's Helm Crag and Easedale Tarn from yesterday.  High Raise beyond, and the Langdale Pikes to the left in the distance
Grasmere village and lake.  I managed to zoom in on our campervan from here.  But I'm not boring you with that picture.
Looking over the side of Brackenwife Knotts.  What a way to see the hills eh?
I like Stone Arthur.  

So from there it was up to Great Rigg, which I must have found fairly uneventful, as I didn't take many pictures, although I did enjoy a rest stop at the top.  This is when I realised that I was now on the Fairfield Horseshoe route.  I've seen it mentioned and discussed in forums, but hadn't really thought about it.  However, now I was up here, I could see the long, grassy path leading up to Great Rigg, and then on towards Fairfield.  I joined the masses on the long walk up.  Actually, I didn't so much join them as watched them all overtake me.  (I'm slow remember). 

The grassy slope to Fairfield, with a false summit or two to dash your hopes as you climb
It does seem like a long haul, but when you are there, the views all around, it's worth it. Time for the camera again......
Looking South  out over the Fairfield Horseshoe towards Windemere
North East, St Sunday Crag on the left
I have to admit I took a little while finding the path down, but only because the summit is a big area, covered in rocks and boulders.   But as soon as I'd got the Tarn on my right, I knew I was heading in the right direction.

Grisedale Tarn
The first part of the walk down from Fairfield to Hause Gap is reasonable.  But the path turns to scree, and the slope becomes steep.  I was glad I had the sticks as I made my way down cautiously.  

I can see the path home from here, leading to Ton Tongue Gill.  (Wonderful name).
Grisedale Tarn again, with Dollywagon Pike behind.  (Another wonderful name).
From Hause Gap, looking back at my route down.  Some bits of that were STEEP. 
But not nearly as steep as the way ahead.  That's Seat Sandal.  Luckily I'm not going that way.   

Once last look at the Tarn before I make my way down 
The path down from here is boulder littered, making the walking interesting and fun.
I was joined by a Wheatear, she did what all Wheatears do, and hopped along ahead of me, keeping me company
Lovely and quiet, in comparison to the busy thoroughfare of the Fairfield Horseshoe.
Waterfall on Ton Tongue Gill.  Peter sketched this for that video I mentioned. 
It was here I was joined by an energetic and chatty woman who didn't overtake me, but kept me company as we walked down the valley to road, and then back to Grasmere.  We parted company at the village hall at about 5 o'clock.  Peter's class was just packing up for the day.  They all looked at me in surprise.  Apparently the text I'd sent Peter at 2 o'clock telling him I was on Fairfield hadn't reached him till about 20 past 4.  He was thinking I'd be a long time yet.  Now I know I'm slow............. 

Here's the map.  2800ft of up and about 6 1/2 miles it sez.  My GPS tracked an extra mile, but I think that was cos of the zig zagging at the start, and a bit of an extra curve on the end.  Doesn't matter, it was all lovely.  

Saturday, 1 June 2013

One day, two walks - Easedale Tarn and Helm Crag

Easedale Tarn
Me n himself went out to buy a van for his business, and came back with a "Motorhome".  (A Ford Transit conversion that's been called campervan, trampervan, transformer and van since we got it.  Maybe we should give it a proper name?)  I wasn't gonna let him have first go at an overnighter on his own, (naturally),  so I joined him on the campervan's maiden trip out to a weekend workshop in Grasmere.

I say joined, what I really mean is got in his way a bit - but not for too long.  Whilst he showed a class of thirteen how to put paint and paper together to create something wonderful,  I went out for an easy walk.  It had to be easy, cos I was saving meself  for the evening, so I took a wander up Easedale Tarn.

I'll just say at this point that the Grasmere area seems to be right smack at the point where all four of the main Lake District OS maps sort of meet, and it would be quite possible that you would need all four if you planned a circular walk in the area.  I only had two, so the circular walk was out of the question.  It also meant I could only go so far east before I fell of the edge of the ones I had.

The path to Easedale Tarn from Grasmere is wide, easy to follow and very popular, especially on a day like today.  Here are the photographs:

Sourmilk Gill Waterfall ahead
A closer view.  This is from the East side of the waterfall  
Easedale Tarn
I took my time, but it wasn't long before I got to the Tarn, I ate an early lunch, watched the walkers go by and a pair of ducks wander around hoping to be fed by whoever happened to have food.  There were groups of people swimming, and I watched them splash and scream for a while.  It was far too early to start making my way back and I looked at the surrounding paths, trying to work out how much further I could go.  I started to walk up towards Blea Rigg, but as I said earlier, my map ran out and my GPS isn't the best thing to use to plan a route, not only that I wasn't supposed to tire meself out. (I promised Peter). So I turned round to start the walk back to Grasmere.  I didn't want to take the same route back though, so I first crossed over to the West side of Sourmilk Gill, and then (because the main path was going the wrong way), followed a sheep's path along the side of the Gill back down to Easedale.  This was a little more fun than the way up, and involved a tiny bit of scrambling. 
Sourmilk Gill Waterfall from the bottom. 
Just couldn't resist this picture.  Herdwick lambs are so cute. 
I managed to stretch this out a bit, but I still had plenty of time.  A little potter round Grasmere, a coffee and a short nap filled the in the time until Peter managed to wave the last student off and it was time for us to get together for the evening's exercise.  It has become traditional for Peter to walk up Helm Crag before the evening meal every time he runs a workshop in Grasmere, and today was no exception. 

We set off just a little before 6pm.  The evening light was wonderful, and here are a few more photo's:
Not at the top yet.  Looking over Grasmere from just above High Raven Crag
Looking down on the Pass of Dunmail Raise from the top of Helm Crag.  To the left is The Howitzer, the highest point of the Crag.  Normally Peter climbs it.  Not today though, because I nearly have a heart attack when I watch him do it. 
On our way down
The silver ribbon of Easedale Beck under the evening sun. 
Long shadows over the hills
And then we were back in Grasmere, for a well earned pint in Tweedy's Bar before go back to the van for supper and our first night's sleep within.  (Very comfortable by the way).

About 9 miles and 2000 ft of up (including all the wandering about).   Here are a couple of maps:
A short walk to Easedale Tarn

And a short walk up Helm Crag    >>

Tomorrow I have something a little bit higher and further planned.