Old Man Of Coniston Walk

Old Man Of Coniston Walk

Old Man Of Coniston Walk

Old Man Of Coniston Walk

The Old Man Of Consiton walk is one of the most popular Lakeland hikes with many walkers having completed and bagged this one. There are many varied and different routes that can be taken, whilst any route you choose can be varied in length to suit your requirements.

A simple walk may include the Old Man of Coniston, whilst depending on fitness levels a more rewarding walk may be undertaken which would include several other peaks such as Dow Crag.

Whilst ascending the Old Man Of Coniston Low Water is a great midway point when planning your route to stop and have a break for lunch or elevenses especially if the weather is warm and you have your dog with you.

At this point I will say that should you be looking for a shorter route up the Old Man Of Coniston there is a car parking facility at Boo Tarn, which is free and a very picturesque setting.

For me the real enjoyment of this walk is Dow Crag as it rises majestically above the impressive Goat’s Water opposite the Old Man Of Coniston and the larger circular walk this creates, with impressive views of Morecambe Bay and Coniston Water.

This walk started from the school car park within Coniston village and a £2 fee in the honesty box located on the left of the school gates following the popular route up Coniston Old Man.

Old Man Of Coniston Walk

Leaving the school and the centre of the village heading towards the main road cross directly over the road and start to climb this country lane. Looking towards your right and passing the first bend the Sun Hotel and Inn will come into view. The Sun Hotel is a great place to start your walk, whilst also a great place to finish with perhaps a drink and something to eat with meals being served after 5.30pm.

Directly to the left of the Sun Hotel is a clearly marked footpath sign, which will take you via Miners Bridge, which edges the copper mines valley.

We continued up along the country lane leaving the Sun Hotel and continuing up the hill through the wooded area until we reached the near ‘u’ bend in the road and here we exited the road through the gate, where the footpath sign is hard to see. Should you continue along this road you will come to the car parking area at Boo Tarn.

With the dry stonewall to our right we passed through two fields and came to a small wooden bridge with a steep climb ahead of us through a bracken-covered fell. Here was discovered a small Adder, being Britain’s only poisonous snake characterised by the zig zag pattern on its back and eyes with a vertical pupil and orange background. Whilst shy and not at all aggressive the only reported incidents involve someone handling, so enjoy, although should you spot an Adder leave them to their habitat.

The footpath at this point is clearly visible with Coniston Old Man to your left as the path bends leftwards towards Crowberry Haws passing three stonewalls prior to arriving at Crowberry Haws, wherein the path from Boo Tarn now joins our ascent of the Old Man Of Coniston at the crossroads of paths. Continuing forwards you are now on the ascent of the Old Man and therefore probably the busiest part of the walk in terms of people, whilst notably the steepest and most arduous climb of the walk.

I have a theory on steep ascents that it is easier on the knees to climb upwards, as opposed to going downwards, therein I personally prefer when given a choice to climb steep ascents wherever possible as opposed to descending a steep hill. If you have any personal views on this I would be greatly interested to hear your theories?

With the above in mind the ascent of the Old Man of Coniston is very rewarding as the views looking down towards Coniston village and the lake are well worth the effort. The path continues ever upwards and is in the vast majority rough stone, which can be hard, going for some dogs with the possibility of cut paws and or worn pads.

As you continue there are many relics of Coniston’s industrial past, with the lower mine ruin and the footpath passing on through an old mine runway as you ascend, whilst a huge steel cables known as ‘Blondin’ still present today crosses the path. Reaching the upper mine ruin will fascinate anyone with the Blondin supports still standing and with the old engine room building still in a pretty good state considering how long ago it was shut down.

The Coniston Fells were mined for copper from the Roman times, whilst the middle of the 19th century was the most prolific. The mines went into decline in the late 19th century and the tough machinery and buildings lie derelict today, although being amazing feature of this landscape and hold stories of distant lives, in a different era, giving birth to the settlement of Coniston village.

The route now heads on upwards to Low Water surround by the impregnable huge walls of rock and fell of ‘The Old Man of Coniston’ with this being a fantastic spot to have a short, or long break to take in the clear waters of the small tarn and if your luck find some newts in these waters.

Old Man of Coniston Walk

On leaving Low Water the path gets very steep as it attempts to climb the shoulder of the Old Man of Coniston. The views from the shoulder pan out over the full length of Coniston Water and out over Morecambe Bay and the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand in the United Kingdom. To the west you will spot an impressive shape of water being that of Goat’s Water down below, whilst on the other side of Goat’s Water with an impressive ridge walk and grandeur all its own is Dow Crag, being our next objective.

On leaving the ever-popular summit of Coniston Old Man and usually the numbers of visitors too we commence to descend towards Goat’s Hawse and at any point here it is possible to shorten your walk should you so desire and reduce this circular trek. At the crossover of paths at Goat’s Hawse continue upwards towards the summit of Dow Crag, to which the climb is easier than the ascent of the Old Man Of Coniston. To me this is now a more peaceful walk with less people and more of a sense of personal ownership of the fells.

On reaching the summit of Dow Crag at 2552 feet it is a large and gradual point of boulders and not human friendly, although some walkers will endeavour to climb the rocky summit. In contrast to the summit of the Old Man Of Coniston, Dow Crag feels somewhat isolated having no trig point or Cain. Standing upon the summit of Dow Crag feels like you have climbed a real Lakeland mountain, especially with the downward drop to Goat’s Water. It is easy to skirt this rocky outcrop and continue on the footpath at the other side, although the path is not too clear at this stage as with the abundance of rock upon the fell and requires you to follow your nose. Having circumnavigated the summit it is now down hill all the way and this can be a great homeward feeling remembering the Sun Hotel and the possibilities of food and drink.

Leaving the summit of Dow Crag the path continues down the ridge over the tops of Buck Pike and Brown Pike, with a final steep descent onto the Walna Scar Road, wherein you simply follow this all the way back towards Coniston village and maybe some food and drink at the Sun Hotel after completing the Old Man Of Coniston walk.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this the Old Man Of Coniston walk please visit Old Man Of Coniston on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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Old Man Of Coniston Walk

I trust you enjoyed this Old Man Of Coniston walk.

Coniston Water

Coniston Village and Lake Coniston

Coniston Village and Lake Coniston

Coniston Water

Coniston Water and the village of Coniston where once a hub of our industrial past, whilst today it is one of the most visited of all the Lakeland destinations, offering great walks to the world renowned Old Man Of Coniston as it rises dramatically to a height of 2,635 feet behind the village. With the village delightfully set between the mountain and the lake.

Should you consider climbing the local fells of Coniston, weather permitting you will be rewarded with some fantastic views and on a clear day you can see Morecambe Bay and the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand in the United Kingdom.

That being said Coniston Water is the third largest lake within the Lake District being 5 miles long, half a mile wide and with a depth of 184 feet.

The Romans mined copper from the fells above Coniston and this industrial activity continued in medieval times. In the 13th and 14th centuries Coniston Water was an important source of fish for the monks of Furness Abbey who owned the lake and much of the surrounding land with copper mining continuing in the area until the 19th century.

One of the most famous local inhabitants was the Victorian artist and philosopher John Ruskin who owned Brantwood House, which is situated on the eastern shores of Coniston Water, and he lived in it from 1872 until his death in 1900. Ruskin is buried in the churchyard within the village of Coniston.

Arthur Ransome set his children’s novel ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and some of its sequels on a fictional lake, although drew much of his inspiration from Coniston Water. Some of Coniston Water’s islands and other local landmarks can be identified in the novel. In particular, Peel Island is the Wild Cat Island of the book including the secret harbour.

Record Breaking Coniston Water

For a lot of people the association of the water speed world record attempts with Coniston Water being the scene of many of these attempts to break the world record of Sir Malcolm Campbell originally set in 1939 at a speed of 141.74 miles per hour in Bluebird K4. Between 1956 and 1959 Sir Malcolm Campbell’s son Donald Campbell set four successive records on Coniston Lake in Bluebird K7, a hydroplane.

In 1966 Donald Campbell decided that he needed to exceed 300 miles per hour in order to retain the record. On January 4th, 1967 he achieved a top speed of over 320 miles per hour in Bluebird K7 on the return leg of a record-breaking attempt. He then lost control of Bluebird, which somersaulted and crashed, sinking rapidly. Donald Campbell was killed instantly on impact. The record-breaking attempt could not be counted as a run because the second leg was not completed. The remains of Bluebird were recovered from the lake in 2001 and Campbell’s body was recovered later in the same year. A replica of Bluebird can be seen at the Lakeland Motor museum, at Holker Hall.

Sailing Coniston Water

There are two public launch services on Coniston Water with the Coniston Launch offering special lake cruises of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and ‘Campbell’s on Coniston’ for those wishing to explore the lake and its history. The National Trust’s steam yacht Gondola along with the Coniston Launch both call at Brantwood. Boats can be hired from the lakeside near the steam yacht, with various sizes of boat for hire.

The Monk Coniston Estate, Beatrix Potter purchased originally belonging to the monks of Furness Abbey in 1930. She immediately sold half to the National Trust and upon her death the remainder was given to the National Trust. The estate stretches from Coniston to Skelwith Bridge. It includes the famous Tarn Hows. The attraction being its sheer beauty, surrounded by thick woodland, and views towards Wetherlam, the Helvellyn range and the Langdale Pikes. There is a 1.5 mile path at Tarn Hows that is level and well maintained and thus suitable for wheelchairs.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Coniston Water please visit Coniston Water on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

There is an abundance of holiday accommodation near Coniston Water and the surrounding area of the lake, with Campsites, Guest Houses and local pubs. For a pet friendly home search our Lake District Cottages for a local cottage close to Coniston Water.

I trust you enjoyed this article on Coniston Water and found it helpful.

High Street Walk

High Street Walk

High Street Walk

High Street Walk

Is a great pub quiz question: which high street in England has no shops at all? The answer is the fell of that name – High Street is the highest summit in the Far Eastern fells at 2,700ft, making this an exhilarating walk. The summit of High Street walk is also known locally as Racecourse Hill, from the days when horse racing took place upon the vast flat summit.

The Romans built a road along the crest of High Street between forts at Ambleside and Brougham, near Penrith. The ascent of High Street from Mardale in my opinion is the most rewarding as it is somewhat removed from the ever popular tourist destinations of central Lakeland.

Traveling to Haweswater reservoir and along the road that traverses the lake with little traffic and probably no mobile phone signal set the theme for a day’s walk of peace and quiet. The road comes to a dead end at Mardale Head where there is currently a small free car park.

There are several routes one may take to ascent High Street walk, although for some, too complete 3 Wainwright fells in one day is a great achievement and this can be done with an approximate 5 to 6 hour walk. Weather and your level of fitness permitting, whilst I managed to complete the walk in just less than 6 hours. Taking my time, taking pictures as I walked and enjoying the fantastic scenery.

Leaving the car park follow the path around the lakes edge until you reach The Rigg, which is the large bit of land extended into Haweswater reservoir. The most popular route is to now take Rough Crag, although I had decided to make this High Street walk, a bigger circular walk and to ascend via Kidsty Howes leading to Kidsty Pike. Kidsty Pike being the first of the Wainwright fells complete on this days walk. During this first section of the walk up Kidsty Pike you will be on the coast to coast walk route traveling generally east to west.

High Street Walk

With the initial ascent of Kidsty Howes the path is clearly marked although rather steep, whilst quickly gaining altitude and not forgetting to turn and take in the view of Haweswater below. There is a rather rocky trail as you reach the top of the upward climb, which can be slippery so good boots are recommended at this point.

Clearing the rocky crag you have a nice walk along Kidsty Pike, whilst if you now look towards your left you will now clearly see Rough Crag, home to the only Golden Eagles in England. Having spoken to several locals it is believed to be only the male eagle now alive, alas no Golden Eagle today.

As you round the summit of Kidsty Pike Hayeswater will come into view as you descend slightly to your left towards High Street where you will see a small dry stone wall. Here there is a little confusion in the footpaths and I would recommend following the dry stone wall as this will take you to the summit of High Street marked by an Ordnance Survey triangulation point. This being something of an anti-climax with an almost flat top.

On a clear day it is possible to see all the way to Shap and the Pennines, along with the quarry at Shap. In the opposite direction you will have stunning views weather permitting towards Helvellyn and Striding Edge.

High Street Walk

I believe that it is only through taking this route that you will fully appreciate wherein the name High Street has evolved from the Roman times, as the marching Roman’s would probably have been safer on the top of the world as opposed to marching in the valley’s below. You can imagine the summit being busy with troops passing each other on army business.

Continue walking with the stone wall on your right until you come to a definitive fork in the path and taking the left fork towards Nan Bield Pass. Here dependent upon your level of fitness and the weather conditions it is possible to continue on to Harter Fell, or alternatively descend via Small Water. Should you decide to continue on to Harter Fell this would be your third Wainwright fell to ascend within the one walk and in one day.

For the purposes of this walk I am now going to split my walk into 2 and from here I would recommend continuing down the footpath and pass Small Water to your right on the clearly marked footpath returning to the car park.

Should you wish to continue on to complete the 3 Wainwright fells and wish to see my description of this extended walk plus the pictures I have taken please click the link Harter Fell walk.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this High Street walk please visit High Street Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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Aira Force Walk

Aira Force Walk

Aira Force Waterfall, Ullswater

Aira Force Walk

Aira Force walk is probably the most famous of all the waterfalls within the Lake District National Park and makes for a great short woodland walk of approximately 2 hours, although it can be extended up on to High Force and Gowbarrow Fell following in part Aira Beck which rises onto the upper slopes of Stybarrow Dodd at a height of 720metres (2,362 ft).

Aira Force Walk can be accessed from several vantage points, whilst there is a National Trust car park on the Ullswater Lake road which is pay and display. There is free car parking currently available at 2 separate car parks on the A5091 heading towards Dockray. These offer an alternative walk to the Aira Force waterfall from above as opposed to walking upwards from the shores of Ullswater Lake, home to the daffodils that inspired Wordsworth’s most famous poem.

Aira Force Walk

Aira Force drops an impressive 66 feet down a rocky ravine and after heavy rain is impressive with a fine mist spray towards the bottom of the waterfall. In the 1870’s the Howard family of Greystoke Castle had an old hunting lodge or Peel tower (maybe similar to that of Dacre Castle) close to the shore renovated into what is now Lyulph’s Tower, set amongst its own sporting estate. The Howards landscaped the area around Aira Force walk, and used it is a pleasure garden, planting over half a million ornamental trees, and established a network of tracks, footpaths and bridges.

In 1906 Gowbarrow Park, including Aira Force came up for sale for housing plots. An appeal was launched by the recently formed National Trust, which resulted in the purchase of 750 acres.

Aira Force waterfall is now on land owned by the National Trust.

Any walk that is undertaken to visit Aira Force waterfall,  it is worth pointing out that depending on the time of year and recent rain fall that the footpaths and tracks can be very wet and even slippery where the paths consist of smooth stones.

Undertaking the Aira Force walk from the National Trust car par simply follow the footpaths and within a short distance you will see a bridge crossing the Aira beck and here you can simply choose to go clock wise or anti clock wise around the main Aira Force waterfall. Taking the anti-clock wise route cross the bridge and follow the footpath upwards and Aira Force walk through the woods and to view the woodland river scenery should take about 2 hours.

Aira Force Walk

To make more of a day’s outing to Aira Force it is worthy of a mention of the Royal Hotel which offers a friendly Cumbrian bar with a fine selection of Real Ales and food after a walk to or from Aira Force waterfall.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Aira Force walk please visit Aira Force Waterfall on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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Helm Crag Walk

Helm Crag Staircase

Helm Crag Staircase

Helm Crag Walk

Helm Crag, near Grasmere

Grade: 3 Approximate length: 8 Miles

Despite Helm Crag Walk being of low height (approx 1,328ft) it sits prominently at the end of a ridge, easily seen from the village of Grasmere. This combined with the distinctive summit rocks at the south east end of the summit ridge, which provide the alternative name, ‘The Lion and the Lamb’ makes it one of the most recognised hills in the area, with the term Helm meaning ‘cloud capped hill’.

Alfred Wainwright wrote of Helms Crag walk that “The virtues of Helm Crag have not been lauded enough. It gives an exhilarating little climb, a brief essay in real mountaineering, and, in a region where all is beautiful, it makes a notable contribution to the charms and attractions of Grasmere”.

This is the only Wainwright that the man himself never summited due to the tricky nature of this final rocky climb.

Helm Crag walk offers a varied array of Lakeland scenery, with wooded glades, spring blue bells, rocky out crops and open fells covered with ferns dependent on time of year.

Starting from Easedale Road within the village of Grasmere, follow the road whilst crossing over Easedale Beck. Pass the road sign posted Youth Hostel on your right and continue upon the road until the road turns sharply to the right.

Helm Crag Walk

I should point out that at this point there are 2 possible routes you may take, whilst this particular walk will follow the Lancrigg route as opposed to the Far Easdale and Helm Crag walk footpath.

Having rounded the sharp bend coming into view you should see a footbridge on your left which would take you to Easdale Tarn. Continue on the road keeping to your right until the road divides, taking the Lancrigg road, where it is possible to enjoy refreshments, such as teas, coffees and light lunches at Lancrigg Vegetarian Country House Hotel.

Taking the track to the front of the house you will pass through 2 gates and into a wooded area where the path is clearly marked. Keeping to the path follow this as it meanders through the wood and gently climbs upwards and through the woods. The track will traverse the farm fields with a dry stone wall to your left, whilst you walk upon level ground before passing through a gate.

The height of Helm Crag walk will now become apparent as it rises to your right, with a steep climb to come. You will arrive at what I can only explain with similarities to a stone staircase, although this staircase rises considerable higher and when wet can be slippery. On reaching the top turn left following the track which is clearly visible and this will take you to the summit.

On reaching the summit this is an ideal stop for refreshments, although it can be windy and you will be rewarded with stunning views of Grasmere below and the main road between Keswick and Grasmere but a threaded black line in the valley bottom.

Helm Crag Walk

Follow the ridge from Helm Crag walk as it gently swings around to descend towards Far Easdale where you simply follow the track downwards, although in places it is not so visible. Having descended you will join the footpath from Far Easdale and turning left follow this footpath down Far Easedale Gill which will bring you back to Easedale House and the road back to Grasmere.

It is possible when you join Far Easdale Gill footpath to turn right and continue over to Easdale Tarn should you desire to extend your walk, weather and time permitting.

Please note that our walk description of Great How, like any outdoor activity can be extremely dangerous and can result in permanent disability or even loss of life. Participants should be aware and except these risks whilst being responsible for their own safety. Always seek advice and information before embarking on any outdoor activity.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Helm Crag walk please visit Helm Crag on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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Dacre Castle Near Pooley Bridge

Dacre Castle

Dacre Castle

Dacre Castle

In 1307 William de Dacre was granted licence to crenellate his dwelling on the site (Actually the crenellation is for Dunmallard Hill, about ½ a mile away) of Dacre Castle.

Dacre Castle is a peel tower rather than a castle, with walls of seven feet thick and 66 feet high, and having 3 notable floors, whilst originally built in the 14th Century for protection against the Scots.

Marauding by the Scots was dying out in the 17th Century, and in 1675 the castle was made more habitable by Thomas Leonard the 15th Baron Dacre and first Earl of Sussex, who added the large windows. His arms can be seen above the door.

The Dacre castle and its extensive lands were bought in 1716 by Christopher Musgrave following the death of Lord Dacre, although it was then allowed to fall into disrepair. Musgrave’s daughter Julia married Edward Hasell who was granted the Dacre estates. These grants of land and property were absorbed into the Dalemain estate and used it as a farm house, whilst it still remains part of the Hasell estate.

The condition of Dacre Castle did not improve much until 1961 with the granting of a 10 year lease to a – Mrs Bunty Kinsman who was a famous beauty and leader of London Society, who took on the repair and restoration of the castle, whilst writing a book entitled ‘Pawn Takes Castle’. It is also discussed and rumoured localy that Kristine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies may have stayed at the castle, although how true this is no one knows.

Dacre Castle Near Pooley Bridge

The Dacre castle sits at the side of a small roadway, which fortunately is a right of way, and affords excellent close up views of the Dacre castle. The nearby Dacre village church of St Andrew is worth a visit with the famous Dacre Bears within the church yard.

The castle makes for a good Pooley Bridge circular walk taking in the stately home of Dalemain and the village church and Dacre Castle.

The location of Dacre Castle was once the meeting place of three kings in ancient times who got together (unsuccessfully) to arrange a peace treaty between England and Scotland. Their regretful ghosts are said to make an appearance at the castle to this day. However a much more macabre haunting has been described as follows.

A young heir to the Dacre Castle, Sir Guy of Dacre, fell in love with a young French girl by the name of Eloise, the daughter of a French nobleman. In order to win over her love, he asked one of his friends and his Italian tutor, to help woo her for him. Unfortunately the girl and his friend fell in love whilst Sir Guy was away fighting in Scotland and began a secret affair, which carried on even when Guy married her.

Sir Guy And Dacre Castle

When Sir Guy once again left Dacre Castle to fight in Scotland he entrusted the castle to his loyal friend Lyulph who soon learned of the affair.

Eventually the two lovers eloped and moved to York, although it wasn’t long before Sir Guy found them and captured his wife. He took her back to Dacre castle and locked her in the dungeon, where she found her lover chained to the wall. Unfortunately, he was already dead, and as she went to kiss him his head rolled on to the floor.

Sir Guy kept her imprisoned in Dacre Castle until she finally went insane and rotted away with her lover. It is the ghosts of these two lovers that are said to haunt the Dacre Castle to this day.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Dacre Castle please visit Dacre Castle on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

There are some great walks around Dacre Castle, Pooley Bridge and the village pub of Dacre.

Fairfield Walks Near Grasmere

Fairfield Walks, Horseshoe, Grasmere

Fairfield Walks, Horseshoe, Grasmere

Fairfield Walks

Fairfield Walks, near Grasmere

Grade: 1 Approximate length: 9 Miles

Fairfield or more commonly known as the Fairfield Horseshoe is a classic Lakeland walk. As the name implies, the route follows the long horse shoe ridge, whose centre ‘nail’ is the summit of Fairfield, which runs around the valley of the Rydal Beck to the north – west of Ambleside.

There are many points where you may start a Fairfield Walks such as from Great Rigg, Seat Sandal, or Heron Pike, either way prepare, yourself for some really spectacular views and a long walk. You could also continue on to Dollywaggon Pike, Grisedale Forest, St Sunday Crag, or even end up at Ambleside.

Should you be staying for several days in the Grasmere area, then I would firstly recommend a walk to Easdale Tarn walks and Alcock Tarn walks, reason being whilst enjoying Farirfield walks on a good day you will have fantastic views of your previously completed walks. I would also point out at this stage that Fairfield walks is more of a hike than a walk.

This Fairfield walks starts from the village of Grasmere and proceed from the centre of the village making your way towards the A591 being the main road from Keswick to Ambleside. Should you wish to enjoy a visit to Wordsworth’s Dove cottage first thing in the morning before embarking on this walk, then Dove cottage is very close by and well worth a visit. Upon reaching the A591 make your way towards the Swan Hotel and taking the road to the right of the hotel as you look directly at the hotel, keep walking until you see a signpost for Greenhead Gill and Alcock Tarn also on your right.

Fairfield Walks

Continue up this pleasant country lane, with the stream to your right, until you reach the gate with the sign post for Stone Arthur and Alcock Tarn. Turning left follow the clearly marked footpath as you start climbing upwards towards Stone Arthur, keeping the stonewall on the left. This is a rather rewarding ascent whilst also steep, great fun and good exercise. Once clear of the trees you will be rewarded with some stunning views of Grasmere.

Stone Arthur is a good place to stop for a drink or light refreshments as Great Rigg and the summit of Fairfield are exposed and can be windy even on a calm still day.

Keep going until you reach the rocky peak of Stone Arthur, an excellent viewpoint, and then carry on along the ridge. You are now gently climbing to the summit of Great Rigg. Once you reach Great Rigg you will have an excellent view over the Rydal Beck valley and beyond.

Fairfield Walks

Walk down into the valley beyond Great Rigg then climb back up to the peak of Fairfield. On arrival at the summit of Fairfield within view will be Helvelyn, Grisedale Tarn, Ullswater Lake, Rydal Water and Windermere Lake.

Follow the path to the left from the summit following a line of stones continuing down the valley to Grisedale Hause (which is the low point between Fairfield and Seat Sandal), ahead to the right of you, you will see Grisedale Tarn. This foot path is not the easiest to find although once again look out for the small stone piles. The path is loose stones and can be slippery so take care. When you reach Grisedale Hause take a left turn when you find a gap in the old stonewall following a rough but clearly marked path down the left side of Tongue Gill. This is a nice even decent with a easily visible path.  As the ridge ends on your right there will be a footbridge over the river. Cross over and take a left along a clear track until you reach the A591 and turning left you are but a short walk back to the Swan Hotel where Fairfield Walks started.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Fairfield walks please visit Fairfield Horseshoe on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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I trust you enjoyed this Fairfield walks and found it helpful.

Penrith Castle

Penrith Castle

Penrith Castle

Penrith Castle

Whilst visiting Penrith and the Northern Lake District it is worth stopping off for a walk around Penrith Castle which is situated in the pleasant surroundings of Castle Park, on the southern edge of the town, opposite the railway station. The Castle is accessed via a wooden footbridge that spans the Castle’s moat.

The imposing ruins of Penrith Castle have a unique and intriguing history, with its sandstone remains of the ‘Castle of the Kings’.

Penrith Castle

The castle was built in 1399, when William Strickland, later to become Bishop of Carlisle and Archbishop of Canterbury, added a stone wall to an earlier pele tower,  primarily as a defence against the Scottish raids.

Old Fireplace at Penrith Castle

Old Fireplace at Penrith Castle

In 1419 Ralph Neville, first Earl of Westmorland inherited Penrith castle, whilst later developing it, with additions and improvements. A walled quadrangular castle was built but without the customary angle towers. Strickland’s Tower, the original pele tower house, flanked the castle’s entrance on the northeast front. Ralph Neville added the Red Tower and a new gatehouse on the northeast. Ralph Neville was killed at the battle of Barnet in 1471.

In July of 1471, the castle came into the possession of Richard, Duke of Gloucester and Lord Warden of the Marches Toward Scotland, as part of the Warwick inheritance becoming a royal fortress for Richard, before he became King Richard III in 1483. Richard added the banquet hall along with other additions, and during building work took up residence at the nearby Duke of Gloucester inn, and by 1672 the castle was in ruins.

Penrith Castle

Penrith Castle

Penrith Castle

Orders where given to repair Penrith castle but during the Civil War, it suffered heavy damage, probably resulting in the ruins seen today. During the Civil War the castle was the headquarters for General Lambert, but not for long as most of the action took place around Eamont Bridge a mile to the south.

The castle and the town remained part of the Crown Estate until the reign of William III who gave it and most other Crown property in Cumberland to his friend Hans Willem Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland. The castle eventually passing from the Earls and Dukes of Portland, to the Dukes of Devonshire, who later sold it to the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway Company who built Penrith railway station opposite the site.

The castle later passed into the ownership of the Penrith Urban District Council, who in 1920 converted the grounds of Penrith castle into a public park and built housing nearby.

Site Plan Of Penrith Castle

Site Plan Of Penrith Castle

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Penrith Castle please visit Penrith Castle on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Penrith Castle is a great ruin to visit anytime of the year and open all year round.

Alcock Tarn Walks, Grasmere

Alcock Tarn Walks, Near Grasmere

Alcock Tarn Walks, Near Grasmere

Alcock Tarn Walks

Alcock Tarn and Heron Pike near Grasmere

Grade: 3 Approximate length: 4 Miles

Alcock Tarn walks lies 1000 feet above Grasmere village on the western flanks of Heron Pike, whilst originally a natural tarn named Butter Crags Tarn, until the late 19th Century when Mr Alcock of The Hollins in Grasmere enlarged the tarn by means of a small stone and earth dam to create a trout lake.

It is well worth the effort of climbing 1000 feet from Grasmere, being a rather attractive tarn with grassy banks and some reed beds around the edge. The views to the south and west, with Grasmere in the valley below are stunning.

Leaving the village of Grasmere, make your way towards the A591 and the Swan Hotel. Traveling from Keswick to Ambleside on the A591 you will pass the Swan Hotel on your left and some 600 yards after you will find a convenient layby, wherein you may currently park free.

Alcock Tarn Walks

Following the road to the immediate right of the Swan Hotel make your way up this country lane leaving Grasmere behind you. On the right hand side you will see Greenhead Gill and Alcock Tarn walks clearly signposted. As the road makes its way gently uphill there will be a stream upon your right. Immediately in front of you there will be a gate when you reach the end of the road, passing through the gate follow the arrow to your right.

Follow the footpath up the hill then go right over the footbridge across Greenhead Gill. You will then see a well looked after footpath with yellow arrows bending to the right and steeply uphill between Heron Pike and Grey Crag. Traveling upwards with the stone wall to your right the path divides, whilst taking the path to your right this will take you to Alcock Tarn. You will first find a smaller tarn full of reeds with Alcock Tarn just beyond it.

Should you wish for a longer more strenuous walk, where the path divides in 2, simply continue along the other path following Greenhead path. This is a seldom used path and eventually disappears, although you will come to a small beck feeding Greenhead Gill on your right which I suggest you take climbing as high as you can then travers back towards Alcock Tarn. This route will allow you to drop down onto the tarn with enhanced views of the surrounding area.

You can walk along the right hand side to the end of Alcock Tarn. Head towards a gap in the dry stone wall go through the gap and keep walking along the rocky outcrop, an excellent view of Grasmere becomes visible below you. Follow the path steeply downhill passing through a gate then keep walking with the wall on your left hand side. This path leads you into a wooded area, the path swings to the left and pass through another gate in a fence then a gate in a wall. The footpath now continues between two walls, continue down until you reach the public road.

Alcock Tarn Walk

If you turn right at this point you will drop downhill pass Dove Cottage to reach the A591 and opposite is the road back into Grasmere village.

Please note that our walks description of Alcock Tarn walks, like any outdoor activity can be extremely dangerous and can result in permanent disability or even loss of life. Participants should be aware and except these risks whilst being responsible for their own safety. Always seek advice and information before embarking on any outdoor activity.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Alcock Tarn walk please visit Alcock Tarn oun our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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Easedale Tarn Walks, Grasmere

Easedale Tarn

Easedale Tarn

Easedale Tarn

Easedale Tarn, near Grasmere

Grade: 3 Approximate length: 5 Miles

Easedale Tarn is approximately 910 feet above sea level.

I am no literary genius, or new age poet, I stake no claim to be a modern Wainwright, although Easedale Tarn Grasmere happens to be one of my favourite walks. This particular walk once loved by Wordsworth and his wife Mary, is a must should, you be staying in Grasmere.

This is a very popular low level walk, with an exceptional feel of being in the mountains, whilst an easy walk to follow but with a steep climb to Easedale Tarn itself, with some rough ground on the decent, depending on your return route. The Tarns outflow is Sourmilk Gill, named after the milky white waterfalls, which run east towards Grasmere. The Gill displays impressive water scenery when seen from Grasmere, and from the footpath to the tarn.

At this point I have to recommend the purchase of an Ordnance Survey map, having recently walked this footpath, whilst being spoilt for choice, should you wish to extend you’re walk.  On reaching Easedale Tarn you could continue on to Helm Crag, Sergeant Man, High Raise, Langdale Pikes, and Silver How.

Easedale Tarn walks, there and back again is around 5 miles depending where you start from in Grasmere, whilst it is also possible on reaching the tarn to walk completely around its shores. At the point where the beck leaves the tarn is a good spot for lunch, or a snack break, whilst taking in the stunning scenery.

Starting from the main visitor car park in the village of Grasmere, turn right leaving the car park heading towards the church of St Oswald church which is worthy of a slight detour. Following the road as it meanders through Grasmere you will come to Easedale Road on your left with a stone sign set within a dry stone wall near the bus stop. Follow the road out of the village and cross over Easedale Beck. Pass the road signposted Youth Hostel on your right continuing on until the road turns sharply to the right.

Easedale Tarn

I should point out that at this point there are 2 possible routes you may take, whilst this particular walk will follow the Easedale Tarn walks footpath as opposed to the Far Easedale and Helm Crag footpath.

Having rounded the sharp bend coming into view you should see a footbridge on your left where you leave the road. Take the footpath, crossing the bridge follow the track alongside the river in the direction of the waterfall, which you should be able to see ahead of you.

Prior to crossing Blindtarn Gill the footpath divides into two, take the left hand footpath keeping the river to your right and do not cross the stone bridge. Keeping to the track you will commence to gently climb with the footpath dividing into two once again, take the right hand path and do not enter the field.  Crossing Blindtarn Gill continue along the track which then climbs a slope on the left of the Sourmilk Gill, dependent upon recent rain volumes you will have a great view of the water falls as you climb on you’re right. Walk between Ecton and Brinhowe Crags which will gradually climb to the bottom of Easedale Tarn, opening on to the tarn and maybe lunch.

Depending on levels of fitness, you may walk around the tarn, return by the same route, or in the alternative return via Far Easedale Gill.

Easedale Tarn

To return via Far Easedale, as the beck leaves the tarn cross on the stepping stones and on the far side of the valley drop back down along a rough footpath. The path is clear to begin with but becomes obscure and marshy in places as it crosses a feeder to the beck. You will now climb over the neck of Ecton Crag and drop back down in the direction of Far Easedale Gill. The route isn’t perfectly clear at this point, but there are the odd yellow arrows just to let you know you are on the right route.

Keep going until you reach the footpath over the Gill, here there is a footbridge crossing Far Easedale beck, then turn right following the clearly marked track until you reach the road, following the road you should find yourself back at the start of the walk.

Please note that our walk description of Easedale Tarn walks, like any outdoor activity can be extremely dangerous and can result in permanent disability or even loss of life. Participants should be aware and except these risks whilst being responsible for their own safety. Always seek advice and information before embarking on any outdoor activity.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Easedale Tarn walk please visit Easedale Tarn Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Please feel free to comment below on Easedale Tarn walk, share or even hit the Face Book like button.

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