Lake District


North Yorkshire

North Wales



About Summiteer

~Tarn Crag (Central Fells)~

21st January 2022

Peter Molly Tarn Crag

Peter & Molly on top of Tarn Crag

Dull Easedale

Early Views

Following a familiar format for fellwalking forays, we set off from home at 0600hrs. Peter and I run a business which can be attended to remotely on Fridays, so why not mix work and pleasure and take any calls or emails from the comfort of the great outdoors? We parked in a lay-by outside of Grasmere adjacent to the A591. Within Grasmere are pay & display car parks and our length of stay would cost £8. How long before the greedy little machines appear in the lay-bys? Soon, we follow Easedale Road to Easedale Beck and off we go...

Molly in Easedale

Molly in Easedale

This January has been largely dull, mainly dry and not particularly cold. Some walks stick in the mind for decades, I walked with Jess in the same area back in December 1995....

Jess in Easedale


Way back then, we didn't count the Wainwright Fells or set targets; we didn't post our photos on t'internet; we didn't take selfies and we parked on the roadside in Grasmere (in winter) at no charge (now limited to 1hr free of charge).

Sourmilk gill Sourmilk gill

I'll let you know when (a) we meet other fellwalkers and (b) when we take our first work telephone call. This cascade is flowing down a channel known as Sourmilk Gill and if you are reading Wainwright's Book Three - Tarn Crag 5 you will notice that walkers have the option of crossing the beck just above the waterfalls to follow the east ridge up Tarn Crag, this is what we will do today (all being well).


Juniper Bushes

The gill was crossed safely, but in spate it might not possible. Juniper populates the flank just above the falls. The ascent of Tarn Crag here is all new to me, I've been on top of this fell twice before but not used this path.

Greathead Crag

Greathead Crag

Today's the day we hear that the magnificent singer and entertainer Meat Loaf has died. For many Bat Out of Hell is a soundtrack of their youth, they know every word of the whole album. A sad day, indeed. Heaven needs wait no longer.

We never seem to be able to get a photo of the full walking party...

Two out of three ain't bad

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

Tarn Crag

Tarn Crag

The final part of the ascent is via the gap in the crags up there.

Gibson Knott

Gibson Knott

All being well, the ridge in sunshine will be our descent route.

Molly Tarn Crag

Tarn Crag Summit 1,801ft asl

Molly bags a new one; Peter isn't sure & I'm down to just 10 more Direct Ascents of the 214 - how exciting is that? And one of them can't be climbed directly, so maybe nine or maybe nine plus a circuitous indirect route. List, targets, ambitions, where would be without them?

Easedale Tarn

Easedale Tarn

South of the summit is another cairn and a fine view of Easedale Tarn, an ideal place for five minutes and light refreshments. The plan is to find a way across the open fell to the top of Mere Beck and hence to Calf Crag. The following photo is taken 45 minutes after the one above. We tracked across the fell on feint paths to the south of Ferngill Crag and when we found the un-named tarn and a derelict fence, we knew we were in the right place.

Remote Tarn

Un-named Tarn (Mere Beck Tarn?)

Forlorn and abandoned, often laid flat or at 45 degrees, iron fence posts mark the disregarded boundary between ancient counties up here. Wainwright doesn't offer a "Ridge Route" from Tarn Crag to Calf Crag.

Brownrigg Moss

Brownrigg Moss

We safely navigated a way down close to Mere Beck, aiming for Brownrigg Moss and the tarn therein.



A fine cairn marks the top of the path up from Far Easedale and Wythburn (less of a path). We are now on Calf Crag territory.

Brownrigg Moss to Calf Crag
Brownrigg Moss
to Calf Crag

Three hours and twenty minutes into the walk, we pass a couple of walkers; subsequently on the ridge down to Helm Crag we saw quite a few other folk. Almost back to some kind of civilisation.

Me n Molly

Me n' Molly on top of Calf Crag, 1,762ft asl

A rare ray of sunshine and an ever rarer photo of me with Molly. Whenever I try to rig up the camera for a shot on timer or use the App on my phone which then controls the camera, Molly turns around or wanders off, so inviting my brother along has added benefits. We've been here before....

Molly Calf Crag

Molly ~ Calf Crag 13th December 2015

This was just after Storm Desmond and we came up to look at the damage to the A591 near Dunmail Raise.

Gibson Knott

To Gibson Knott

"Several minor interesting path, a beautiful walk, and splendid views" 1.25 miles from top-to-top and Wainwright's words are as true today as they were more than 60 years ago.

Molly Gibson Knott

Molly on top of Gibson Knott 1,379ft asl

Ah, we had a work call up here. Not an important one, but relevant nonetheless. In the event, we couldn't log onto the emails, so working on the fells wasn't quite the success it was supposed to be, but we can catch up on Monday, no doubt. It was the only work call of the day, we have a business where more than 80% of the trade is regular, repeat stuff requiring minimal communication between the parties.

Another Molly

Another Molly!

A gang of four pass us between Helm Crag and Gibson Knott. It turns out their dog is also called Molly.

Helm Crag

To Helm Crag

The last felltop of the day. It is generally acccepted that walkers (and dogs) do not need to climb to the top of the fine rock structure at the top in order to tick it off. I've climbed to the very top once and that is enough.

Helm Crag Summit

Molly - Helm Crag, 1,299ft asl

The whole summit structure of Helm Crag is very interesting and not ideal for exploration towards the end of a walk. It turns out to be my fifth time up here and it's certainly Molly's first time, so she can tick it off when she gets home.

Stone Arthur Helm Crag
Stone Arthur
Helm Crag Descent

Whilst it has been a good day with fine weather for walking, a little sunshine is most welcome. Back in the lay-by, someone has parked somewhat inconsiderately. We parked close to the gate, but left enough room for tractor and trailer to gain access or leave the field. So by parking in front of my car, the gate has become somewhat blocked. I am determined to write a strongly-worded note and put it under the wipers when we get down there.

Free Parking

In the event, the red-arrowed car had gone by the time we returned to the car.

Molly and Tarn Crag


This viewpoint is just beyond the footpath down the fell, but well worth the small detour.

Steep Steps

Steep Steps



A hotel with cafe and a fine lawn to sit and take afternoon tea. Or it would be, a bloke lent out of an upstairs to inform us that they are closed until February. This year, I presume. We'll have to try one of the many fine cafes in Grasmere.

Harleys Grasmere

Harley's Bistro & Cafe Bar

Those who know me well, would expect us to go to Baldrys. However they are closed for a winter holiday. Two cafes were just closing at 3pm; at least two were under renovation. One or two showed no signs of life; one was understandably busy given all the other disappointments. Harley's (above) were neither closed, about to close or too busy. A fine eatery within the shell of an old church. It appears that pews have been recycled into benches; dogs are welcome and coffee is expertly prepared by the minister, sorry, barista. The kitchen is in the vestry; the bar is perhaps where the pulpit might have been. We enjoyed our drinks and handed back the stained glasses. The church has been repurposed very tastefully and the altarations are excellent!

Walkers: Peter Ratcliffe, Molly and Me.

Time taken: 5hrs 45mins over a distance of about 12 miles.

Route: Roadside parking A591, Grasmere, Easedale Road, Easedale, Sourmilk Gill, across the beck to follow a distinct path up to Greathead Crag and up to Tarn Crag summit. Across the hinterland to Mere Beck and the tarn, follow the derelict fence to Brownrigg Moss and Calf Crag. All the way down the ridge with Gibson Knott in front of Helm Crag. Down to Lancrigg and along the road back to Grasmere.

Weather and conditions: Dull start, slowly brightening all the way until a little sunshine on Calf Crag and more sunshine on Helm Crag. Dry throughout and not too cold.

Refreshments: On the way home, we called in at The Plough at Lupton on the A65. Dogs are welcome in the bar and the bar is a large area. The establishment is "boutique" and like "artisan" for bread it means slightly fanciful and more expensive. However, the food was good and the service excellent, we were well looked after.

"Let the Altars Shine"

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2022 ©

Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....