Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Alcock Tarn

Name of walk Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Alcock Tarn
Date of walk 2015-10-12
Distance walked (miles) 9
Duration of walk 6 hours 15 minutes
Weather Mist, then good visibility
Peaks on walk Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike
Walked with Ged and blind Kas
Parking Lay-by outside Grasmere on the main road.

On Monday Ged, Kas and I drove just past Grasmere, parking in the lay-by on the A591, not far past The Swan Hotel. We would be heading up to Stone Arthur (1650ft), then onto the ridge of the Fairfield Horseshoe to Great Rigg (2516ft) and Heron Pike (2037ft) and then descending down its grassy slopes to Alcock Tarn. A walk of 8.9 miles. It was raining when I set off from home, but it was due to clear up later in the morning to leave a fine, but cold day, with good visibility.

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We took the lane opposite the lay-by which leads past some rather nice homes to the lane signed for Alcock Tarn. Looking across the fields towards Helm Crag. There is mist in the valley still.

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We head up by the beck. At the gate at the top we head left for Stone Arthur.

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View across the rooftops from the pitched path.

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A glimpse of the promised sunshine.

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View out from near the top of the pitched path, beside the conifers, over to Grasmere.

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We will follow the higher path across the hillside.

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View back along the track before we zag in the other direction.

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The grassy track heading to Stone Arthur. Blue skies approaching!

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Just on the top of the rise on the left you can make out the glimmer on Alcock Tarn.

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A close up of the hill regression with Alcock Tarn below.

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Stone Arthur, sometimes called Arthur's Chair, getting nearer, as are the blue skies.

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View back as we climb up the rock section.

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Zooming in on the far fells above Easedale Tarn, where I was on my last walk. Helm Crag in the foreground with Blea Rigg to the right and Tarn Crag above the Tarn. Sergeant Man on the horizon. Bowfell and Scafell Pike at the back.

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A close up of Easedale Tarn, no crowds of school children today!

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We head further up the ridge.

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Steel Fell on the right.

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Steel Fell, Dunmail Raise and Seat Sandal.

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The route up to Great Rigg.

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We met some guys diverting from the Fairfield Horseshoe to take in Stone Arthur's summit.

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Now more height is gained you get a good view over to Alcock Tarn. The middle seems to have reeded-up since my last visit.

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It is a very gentle climb.

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Not far now. Ged has his hood up. The wind is very cold. I did tell him that it would not be shorts weather! I packed hat and gloves for the first time since last winter!

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We have now gained the ridge of the Fairfield Horseshoe. Looking back down the Stone Arthur ridge to Grasmere. Coniston Water on the top left.

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From the otherside of the ridge the view back down the valley to Ambleside and Windermere.

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In five minutes we are on Great Rigg summit. Fairfield is just behind me. It is very tempting to continue the one mile walk on to Fairfield, but there is a risk that it will become covered in cloud, like Helvellyn is at the moment, and we would still have to return to Great Rigg, adding more mileage to what was planned as a short walk. So we wisely decide to head for Heron Pike.

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Heron Pike on the left.

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Looking into the head of the valley. On our way up Stone Arthur ridge we could faintly hear the sound of dogs and a hunt horn. The last time we were here we met the hounds heading down into the valley, and the side of Great Rigg was populated by men in tweed and ties. Although the sound was now much louder, there was no sign of men or hounds in the valley. The sounds must have been carried on the wind from the Grisedale/Patterdale valley.

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Looking through Grisedale Hause to a glimpse of Grisedale Tarn. Behind it is Dollywaggon Pike. Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn beyond. Seat Sandal on the near left.

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Another zoomed up view over Easedale Tarn. Above Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark is Bowfell, Scafell and Scafell Pike.

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Excellent visibility now.

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Great Gable to High Stile.

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View back to Great Rigg on the left, and the top of the Horseshoe which includes Fairfield, Hart Crag and Dove Crag.

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From the summit of Heron Pike, a shady view back.

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A Raven on the summit, not even bothered by Kas.

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Windermere.

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After descending from Heron Pike summit we headed diagonally left down the grass slope. Looking across to the Stone Arthur ridge.

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Heading for Alcock Tarn, left.

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Alcock Tarn.

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We arrived just as a large black cloud loomed overhead, so we sat and had lunch.

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When the light is on both the tarn and the mountains behind, it almost looks like an infinity pool. Not today! Ged and Kas join me at the opposite end of the tarn..

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From this end you can look back at the Stone Arthur ridge route up to Great Rigg, top right.

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The wind is wizzing down the tarn and it is quite chilly, so we head off on the track that will take you back to Grasmere via Dove Cottage.

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There are good views over Grasmere.

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From here we can look down on my car in the lay-by, which is now totally full up.

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The small pool.

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Walking through the woods which leads to the road.

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The sign says 'Coffin or Resting Stone', and explains that before St. Mary's in Ambleside was consecrated coffins had to be transported along the Corpse Road for the 4km to St Oswald's Church in Grasmere for burial. The stone, along with others on the way, was used for supporting the coffin while the bearers rested.

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Dove Cottage, one of the homes that was once lived in by William Wordsworth.

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We head through Grasmere.

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We stop for a coffee in the sunshine.

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We detour to the Heaton Cooper Gallery and then the gallery next to the bookshop before heading back to the lay-by. A last view up to Stone Arthur.

The walk, including lunch, coffee stop and gallery browsing, took us six hours and fifteen minutes. This is a reasonably gentle walk with no navigational difficulties, on good clear paths (apart from the off path descent to Alcock Tarn, best not attempted in mist).

Jo.

 

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