Fell Walks in the South Eastern/Central Area
The Lake District has genuine dangers: steep and unpredictable slopes, and weather that can change in literally a few moments. So PLEASE always check the weather beforehand,
always let someone know where you are going if you have any concerns about your walk/trek, and ALWAYS ensure you have suitable clothing, maps, and safety equipment in case anything goes wrong...
thermal blankets, water and food are amongst the most obvious. Torches and whistles are also important. You need to satisfy yourself that you are properly prepared.
All of the walks on this page have risks and shouldn't be tackled in adverse weather conditions without more detailed instructions and
suitable equipment for the weather. If you are entering cloud, then you will need to have good map reading skills or preferrably a GPS device that you are familiar with.
Please remember, these are only outlines to to help you discover some of the walks we ourselves have enjoyed.
You will need Ordnance Survey Maps OL4 and OL5. Both are provided at the lodge. If someone has gone off with them
for some reason, then buy them before you set out!
- Walk 1. The Coffin Trail and Alcock Tarn click here
- Walk 2. Helm Crag (AKA The Lion and the Lamb) click here
- Walk 3. Scafell Pike click here
- Walk 4. Crinkle Crags and/or Pike of Blisco & Bowfell click here
- Walk 5. Sergeant Man via Easedale Tarn click here
- Walk 6. Place Fell click here
- Walk 7. The Dodds click here
- Walk 8. Stickle Tarn click here
HELM CRAG FROM GRASMERE (Otherwise known as the Lion and the Lamb)
Here is where you're heading!
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- Drive to Grasmere and park (or, if possible, take a bus!) Make sure you allow at least six hours parking (though it shouldn't take quite so long
unless you linger - which is, of course, the best way to enjoy the Lake District!
- Head out of the village along Easedale Road in a sort of West-North-Westerly direction until the road 'kisses' the Easedale Beck. There is a bridge across.
- Don't go across the bridge but keep on the same road/track through a field for several hundred yards until you come across some buildings
- Turn North past the buildings, through a gate, and and find the path up to Helm Crag on the other side of some trees...the first time we did it, we went too far to the West (left) and had to turn back.
I took a map bearing of NY 327086, which is roughly where the ascent begins
- Now just follow the very zig-zaggy path up to the top of Helm Crag itself - it's very steep in places but easy enough in its own way - I should think it will take an hour from the car park: maybe less, maybe more - depends whether you get lost or not (but I'm going from memory don't forget!!)
- There are two 'tops' - the first is the Lion (NY 327092), the second is the Lamb (NY 326093). The names won't really make any sense to you, however, until you see them from the North. Some people feel obliged to climb the rocky outcrops
to the very top and have their photo taken ("this is me on top of the Lion") , but my own advice would be to walk around the bottom of them (keeping to the West)!! Both summits are very rocky, and even our 'ex-fitness instructor' son-in-law was happy just to look from a safe distance...but it's up to you of course! Avoid the Eastern side of the crags altogether - they are dangerous!
- This is Jeanne and Brandy on the top of one the easier crags.
- If you like, you can now go back down the same way you came!
- OR! You can carry along the ridge in a WNW direction for about 2k or 3k past Gibson Knott (NY319099) towards Calf Crag (app NY 302104)
- This is a wonderful ridge walk that is fairly easy going and gives you a great view towards the likes of Sergeant Man and beyond to the beginning of the Central Fells. I guess it takes about an hour or so, and it's one of the most
enjoyable walks we've done!
- Just past Calf Crag to the West (NY 300105), you have a choice: you can either turn towards the left (Southerly) and head back along Far Easedale (West South Westerly) to Grasmere. Or...
- Normally we head off North Easterly towards Steel Fell (about a 2km undulating climb)
- The ground is often very boggy and there is no distinct continuous path that we've been able to find (although you should see a line of old County Boundry railing posts and a wall further on). The Fell flowers are truly beautiful, as is the general 'desolate' terrain - I doubt you'll meet anyone else.
- Here are some map references to keep you going the right way: NY 304110; NY 307111 (small tarn to your left); and NY 314113.
- You're nearly at the summit. Keep heading Easterly towards NY 3195 1116: Dead Pike (553m). Hopefully, you can look out East towards the likes of Dollwagon Pike and Hellvelyn,
or North over Thirlmere. One time, we saw the lake sort of emerging out of the mist...very spooky.
- OK! That's all the climbing done. Retrace your steps for just a few metres looking for a path that heads off South Easterly to what is known as Contra Breast. Head SE along it for a couple of hundred yards (to NY 3209 1105) and you should find a very clear path going down in SSE direction
- At points along this path you will understand why Helm Crag is known as the Lion and the Lamb - with a little bit of imagination, that is
The lion does, I guess, look like a lion lying down: but the lamb??
- When we got to the bottom of Contra Breast on our first time doing this walk, a gangly hound came running past us - followed by several more. We were in the middle of a hound trailing race.
They had got round the circuit that took us about three or four hours in less than half an hour. We'd not heard of this sport before. They all follow an Aniseed trail which has been
laid down...and my God do they run fast, leaping over stone fences en route. Here's a link to the website if you want to find out more: Hound Trailing
- Nearly done! Get to the bottom (Helmside) and then follow the minor road South back into Grasmere. It's still quite a long walk, but in summer time you'll
at least have the joy of going past some of the most beautiful meadows imaG!
OK! You want to go up Scafell Pike! And who wouldn't? The highest mountain in England at something like 978m (I think that's over 3,000 feet).
So who am I to put you off? We've climbed it four times now, and each from a different direction! But here's a few words of warning:
Scafell and Scafell Pike are NOT one and the same mountain, even though they're right next to one another. This can cause confusion. Not least the time when
Jeanne and Beks went up from Eskdale but, as dusk set in, they went around behind Scafell
and ended up at Wast Water - miles from anywhere. I had to drive something like 100 miles to rescue them in the dark.
Ah! The stories we still tell about that time!
The quickest (and I believe easiest) way up the mountain is to set out from the North end of Wast Water. I think that's what a lot of people do! But from Stickle Tarn Lodge,
it's a long drive to get there in the first place.
My own preferred route is to go from Old Dungeon Ghyll (NY 286060), nestled beneath the distinctive slopes of Harrrison Stickle and
Pike of Stickle - points of reference from miles around. You can get there by car in about half-an-hour or so - and if you belong to the National Trust, then the parking
is free (but otherwise make sure you've got six or seven pounds to spend - or sometimes you can buy a cheaper ticket from the pub itself).
- In short: go West/North West along the Cumbrian Way for a couple of miles alongside Great Langdale Beck to NY 261073. This is fairly flat
- Cross the beck and then head off West up to Angle Tarn (NY 245077). Go around the North of the Tarn, following the path, and then carry on upwards (sometimes steeply) in a WNW direction looking for a junction in the path at around NY 235083. I seem to remember that there is a stone built shelter here - but it might be a bit further on!
- Turn S/W and climb for another few hundred metres until you reach Esk Hause - a distinctive 'pass' (NY 233080). Follow a path from this junction more or less due West for about 1km. You will be walking below Great End, which is above you to the North.
- At NY 2254 0803, where another path joins from the NE, you need to veer SW for 1-2km (past Ill Crag on your left) until you reach the summit of Scafell Pike (NY 2154 0722). The path undulates steeply in places and becomes increasingly rocky.
- Just before you get to Scafell Pike itself, you drop down steeply into a sort of gulley and then there is very steep final climb over rocks to the top. There is a shelter at the top; so even if it's cloudy, you'll know you've got there.
I cannot stress strongly enough that this is only a general guide, and a proper route should be plotted and followed using an Ordnance Survey Map or equivalent.
I think this route took us about 5 hours there and back - but it was in thick mist and I had to use my GPS continuously - so I've not got any good pics to show!!
In good weather, however, this is probably your best bet from Stickle Tarn Lodge.
Please DO NOT attempt this climb without further instructions
and unless you are confident you have the proper clothing and safety equipment
This isn't just me waering my don't-get-sued hat...the Lake District weather can change incredibly quickly, and the 'slopes' are often far more treacherous
than some people give them credit for.
Provided, however, you understand the risks and are properly prepared, then
everything should be just fine!
The route I'd like to take you along in this guide is the Eskdale one.
Again, these are only general instructions and you MUST use a map and/or other more detailed guidance.
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- Drive out over the Wrynose and Hardknott pass until you reach a parking space on the left, just before Jubilee bridge (NY 2135 0109).
- The drive will be worth it in itself; although on the occasion when I drove out there in the dark to rescue Jeanne and Beks who were stranded at Wast Water, there were dozens of sheep asleep in the road itself - presumably
enjoying the heat of the tarmac. So, watch out for the humpy summits where you have NO idea what's on the other side!
- During my nightime drive, I saw a beautiful white Barn Owl. I've never seen one before, so it made it all worthwhile.
Once you've got over the Hardknott pass, there are some FANTASTIC views out to the sea - and beyond. This next photo doesn't really do it justice - especially
with me in it on my phone (I'd finally got a signal - right at the top!)
- From the car park, walk down the road a little and then follow the path on the R/H side of the River Esk for about 4 or 5 km. The views are as magnificent as any!
- Here's one of the tricky bits, so make sure you've got a map. Just after grid reference NY 226048, the river turns sharp left (West). You don't really need the grid reference as the
bend in the river is obvious. There IS a path marked on the map which more or less follows/hugs the river, but we couldn't find it.
- You want to be heading heading across quite a flat plain for about 1km to the NW, which is where the How Beck tumbles down a very steep slope as a waterfall to join the river Esk.
- Right at the bottom (NY 218058), there is a lovely refreshing clear pool of water, prefectly suitable for a quick dip on a hot day like we did.
- Once dried off, we carefully climbed up the steepish rock face on the r/h side of the waterfall - I found it quite easy, but Jeanne didn't. Great care is therefore advised as the 'path' isn't clear. I would have been quite wary about doing this if had been very wet; and I would judge it to be treacherous if it was icy - and therefore to be avoided
- I believe there is an alternative path to the left of the waterful. I strongly recommend reading about this section of the walk in a guide book before setting out: e.g. a Wainwright - which we leave in the lodge.
- Once at the top (NY 215 060) and I think it's fairly obvious that you've got the Scafell Mountains ahead of you to the North. Not too far now!
- Follow what I remember to be quite a clear path for 1/2 km or more until you start the scree scramble up to Mickledore
- On the left of this scramble is the path that takes you to SCAFELL rather than SCAFELL PIKE...so keep straight on
- When the scree slope has been ascended (NY 211070), you turn right (North Easterly) for the final ascent across boulders up to Scafell Pike summit.
The boulder strewn final ascent to the summit...it feels quite alien and eerie.
- Here are some views from the top of Scafell Pike itself looking back West towards the slightly lower summit of Scafell
- Here's a view looking East...with the slope that you need to come up if you come form the Old Dungeon Ghyll route. As I said, it was very misty when we did that
route and there were a few people who felt they just couldn't manage the final ascent to Scafell Pike (Jeanne included!)
What a difference the weather can make!
- Return to your car or bus stop by retracing your steps. Well done!
Crinkle Crags (and/or Pike of Blisco)
We can see Crinkle Crags as we walk around White Cross Bay Park. As often as not, their 'heads' are in the clouds.
The diverse and challenging terrain, the unique shape of each 'Crinkle' (there are five + 'Shelter Crags'), and the spectacular views must make them one of the most popular treks in the Lake District.
If they are in cloud, however, it really isn't advisable to attempt this trek
- unless you are already familiar with it, or unless you are a proficient orienteer. Once in the mist, it is very easy to become disorientated
and there are some hazardous drops if you end up in the wrong place! --- we've nearly been there ourselves!
The bearings I'm going to give you should help, but please don't take any unnecessary risks!
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- I suggest starting from the Old Dungeon Ghyll Car Park (See above for Scafell Pike)
- Come out of the car park, across the stream, then turn right (West) along a farm track through fields to Stool End (NY 2766 0568)
- As you go through the beautifully-kept farm yard, no doubt lots of Collies in the sheds will bark at you. On the gate at the other side is a warning about dogs being shot if they worry sheep
- On one occasion, Beks made sure Brandy had a good read of it before we went on!
- Follow the path at the bottom of 'The Band' (which is on your right) SW for just under 1km to a bridge across the Oxendale Beck (NY 2702 0525)
- Cross over and begin the very steep stepped climb up the clear path on the lower slopes of Pike of Blisco.
- After about 1km (NY 2665 0461) at an elevation of about 380m, the path becomes a bit less steep.
Here's a view looking back to what you've already walked!
- The path now carries on upwards, almost due South, for another 1km.
Here are some views looking up towards the Crinkles, and the famous gulley known as Mickle Dor (not to be confused with the Scafell Mickledore)
- You will come over the brow of the path eventually, and then it flattens out towards Red Tarn. Carry on to a path junction (NY 2666 0396) just before the tarn.
It's a beautiful, secluded tarn, and the rock has by now taken a distinctive reddish hue - hence its name, I guess.
- If you can find some shelter, this is a good place to stop for a rest and food/drink. You are now at over 500m and the wind will almost certainly pick
up on the next leg!
- Up to your left (East) is the Pike of Blicsco (705m). The path up to the summit is quite clear if you have the energy for a detour, or if that's where
you want to end up.
Otherwise, head off right (almost due West) and follow the path as it climbs up beneath the distinctive outcrop of Great Knott to the North side of the path
- Head on to NY 2593 0412
- As the path now begins to head slightly to the North of West, the landscape is very bare. Here are some pictures of what you'll see as you
approach the First Crinkle
- Eventually you'll come to the bolderous terrain at the start of the first Crinkle.
- Pick you way through the rocks to Crinkle 1 summit: NY 2500 0456. You'll now realise that what seemed like little 'bumps' from a distance
are goodly sized summits in their own right
- Nor are they linear. Crinkle 2 is set well to the West of Crinkle 3 for example (this is why Crinkle 3 can deceivingly look higher from a distance;
but Crinkle 2 is actually the highest: 859m I believe)
- From Crinkle 1, it's about 500m going NNW to Crinkle 2. And you'll need to go down a rocky slope before climbing back up again. This next picture gives
some idea of the actual 'relief', and it also shows the significant drop between the first and second Crinkle:
- Perhaps you'll have heard of 'the Bad Step'. This is a steep rock face to the East (right) side of Crinkle 2 that needs strong arm muscles, and a certain
amount of courage, to pull yourself up.
Wainwright avoided it. You'll be able to make your own assessment as you draw close. My own assessment is that the summit of Crinkle 2 is NY 24866 04876,
so that's where you're heading.
- If you want to join Wainwright, you can go up the summit via the West (left) side. There is a path that runs up from NY 2479 0488 to NY 2480 0490.
Essentially, it's heading North.
Once you've got to the top of this slope, you can head back slightly South of East towards the summit and meet up with anyone else who may have gone up via the
- If you want to go to the summit of Crinkle 3, I suggest you keep slightly to the East of Crinkle 2 and look out for a path that leads Northerly down off the summit.
Once down and have got to aroundNY 2492 0497, you can see the summit of Crinkle 3 off to the East. My own calculation is that the actual summit bearing is NY 2500 0499
- But you don't actually need to go over the summit of Crinkle 3. You can head straight for Crinkle 4 by carrying on the Northerly path you were taking as
you came down from Crinkle 2. My own advice is to do so! If you find yourself going round the East (right hand) side of Crinkle 3 by accident, there is a very precipitous slope which
could be extremely dangerous. So better safe than sorry, eh?
If you MUST go to the summit of Crinkle 3, then I would do so and then come back down to the West of it before heading off North to the summit
of Crinkle 4, which I have marked down as NY 2497 0505
- Here is a typical view of the terrain on the top of the Crinkle summits:
- Here is a view looking East:
- And here's one looking West back to Eskdale:
- Keep going North - just to the West of the NY25 North/South grid line - and you'll reach the summit of Crinkle 5 (NY 2498 0516)
- From just beyond here somewhere, I took a picture looking back to the Pike of Stickle and Harrison Stickle. Further along the ridge to the left, you
can see the little 'pimply' bump which is the summit of Sergeant Man.
- You still have a good kilometre or so to walk along what is called 'Shelter Crags'. Although essentially North, the path is now gradually moving away
slightly West (left) from
the NY25 grid line. Here are some bearings for you to follow:
NY 2499 0533; NY 2493 0546; NY 2489 0560; NY 2486 0595
- You will now be heading down towards a gulley/pass between Shelter Crags and Bowfell. Keep a watch out for the path leading off to your right (East).
You will come to some small tarns on your left known as 'the Three Tarns'. If you go past them and start heading up the steep scree slope to Bowfell, then
you've gone too far!
- The head of the path you need to take is at NY 2483 0607
- Take this path and head down East onto what is called 'the Band'. The path actually splits to the right and to the left. You CAN take the R/H path, but
I'm leading you along the more Northerly of the two. It heads downwards in just slightly North of a Westerly direction.
- Once on it, it is very clearly defined - with man made steps in places.
- The bad news (depending on the weather and how tired you are) is that you've now got a descent of about 2.5km across the Band until you get back to Stool
End (where the noisy collies are)
- It's mainly easy going, but there are some steep, rocky parts to the path. The views, however, and the thought of getting back to the Old Dungeon Ghyll
pub for a beer or hot choclolate, will keep you going
- The last time Jeanne and I went down there, we saw a herd of Red Deer running around on the grassy slopes. Wow!
- Once back to Stool End, simply retrace your tracks back to the car park.
- If you didn't take the Pike of Blisco detour, then I guess it will have taken you about five or six hours...it all depends, doesn't it?
- We once carried on to the top of Bowfell as well. Add on about another hour if you do that - and why wouldn't you when you're so close?
Sergent Man Via Easedale Tarn
(January 2019: Full description coming very soon)
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- We normally park in one of the Grasmere car parks when we do this walk. Approaching from the South, you turn left into Grasmere at the rdbt on the A591. There is a public car park on the right, but the one we prefer is in the centre of the village as it's less far to walk on weary legs when you're on the way back - just past St. Oswalds Church on the left beside Grasmere Garden Village
- There is also a good bus service to Ambleside:
Click here for local bus information.
- Walk out along Church Stile past the Gingerbread Shop. You MUST call in there at some point during your visit. Only a few people can fit in the tiny building and the queues can look quite long outside; but they always move quite quickly and the gingerbread is, truthfully, second to none. You will be served by assistants in period costume and it will feel like stepping back into a Dicken's novel!
- Turn right onto College Street, and then cross over Broadgate into Easedale Road
- After about half a mile, the road sweeps round sharply to the right. There is a wooded copse on the left with a footbridge going over the River Rothay. Cross over the bridge and carry on along the path as you head just slightly North of West towards Easedale Tarn
- The path is easy to follow, and after about a kilometre it climbs steeply to the left of Sour Milk Gill waterfalls
Sourmilk Gill on the lower slopes
- Suddenly, Easedale Tarn will open up in front of you. I took a waymark reading at NY 3104 0871
- Follow the path around the southern side of this magnificent tarn. Do NOT be tempted to take a broad path on the left after several hundred yards which heads SSW towards Blea Crag. If you stick fairly close to the tarn then you'll be OK
- After another kilometre, the path will begin to rise steeply as you climb more or less due West to reach an intersection of paths with Stickle Tarn to the South (left) and Codale Tarn to the North (Right). MY waymark reading here was NY 2920 0842
Looking back to Easedale Tarn with Codale Tarn to the left
Ovelooking the Lodge's namesake: Stickle Tarn (nestled in shadow of Pavey Ark's daunting vertical cliff face)
- The path now changes direction to head North West and the summit of Sergeant Man - a rounded rocky outcrop - will be reached after about another kilometre of steep climbing; sometimes quite scrambly and rocky
- On a clear day, you will have a magnificent view of all the central fells, including Scafell Dike and Great Gable
From Sergeant Man summit looking West to the distinctive pudding basin shape of Great Gable
- The plateau surrounding the summit is pretty featureless and the paths across it are indistinct
- On our first climb to Sergeant Mann, Jeanne and I found ourselves enveloped in dense cloud and very soon found we were lost. For a while, we couldn't even see one another, which was quite scary. This was before we used GPS, and the old metal boundary fence posts helped us eventually retrace our steps and go back the way we'd come
- So unless you are very confident in your map reading, or know how to use GPS proficiently, I certainly would advise trying to cross this plateau in poor visibility. In good weather, of course, you should have little problem; although it can still be a little disorientating at times
- Head North West for about a kilometre to High White Stones. Here are some waymarker readings to help you:
NY 2855 0910
NY 2839 0923
NY 2822 0939
NY 2809 0955
- From High White Stones, you have great views across the Langstraff valley
Looking back southerly towards Sergeant Man
West from High White Stones across the Langstraff Valley (which leads to Angle Tarn in the heart of the Central Fells)
North from High White Stones all the way to Bassenthwaite and the Skiddaw/Blencathra massif
- An extension to the walk which Jeanne and I have enjoyed is to head due North for several hundred yards to Low White Stones (NY 2824 1005) and then carry on NE for another five hundred yards until a path running East (NY 2859 1053) is located which will take you back along Far Easedale - across the old Westmoreland boundary - to Grasmere, passing under the shadow of the Helm Crag range to the North of you.
- On the other hand, you may wish to retrace your steps from here
(January 2019 - full description coming very soon)
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A supreme winter mountain view from the top of Place Fell, looking West towards the distinctive
outline of the Hellvelyn Range...Striding Edge is about a quarter of the way in from the left.
Looking Northwesterly towards the Blencathra massif
Yours truly testing the water frozen by the 2018 "Beast from the East"
(January 2019 - full description coming very soon)
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The cascading watefall at Aire Force beside Ullswater, where the walk begin
On the way to Great Dodd looking North to the mightily impressive Blencathra massif
Near the summit of Great Dodd - a dodd being a round topped hill
Looking down across Thirlmere. The wind blowing in across the fell tops from the West was a as strong as we've evr known,
just as I'd imagine the Jet Stream to be. A stone shelter proved to be as welcoming as an oasis in the desert.
Beginning the descent from Sticks pass to Glencoyne
Ullswater coming into view
Detailed info to follow