Grey Crag and Alcock Tarn

A stunning morning walk yesterday from Grasmere, up to Grey Crag and Alcock Tarn. We were actually just going for a stroll up Far Easedale, but when we reached Grasmere, the clarity of the views took us higher – up to Grey Crag and Alcock Tarn.

Grey Crag (c) John Bainbridge 2020

A while since we’d visited either.

Compared to the other heights around Grasmere, I always feel Grey Crag tends to be a bit neglected. But it’s a fine rock outcrop, reached by a delightful ramble up through woodland and across open fellside, with terrific views westwards across so many familiar Lakeland tops.

Looking Back (c) John Bainbridge 2020

We wandered up past Dove Cottage. Most people going that way only think of the Wordworth’s occupation, but I think as much about my hero Thomas de Quincey – you can see one of his Laudanum bottles within. At the moment, the whole Town End area of Grasmere is full of builders as there are renovations going on.

Grasmere from Grey Crag (c) John Bainbridge 2020

A steep woodland path climbs up to Grey Crag from the lane above Town End, beautiful woodland too, with glimpses between the trees of Grasmere and Silver Howe beyond. But as you come out on to the open fellside, the views open out, over the mere itself, the village, and so many familiar tops beyond, the highest still crowned with snow.

From Grey Crag, one of the finest viewpoints in the district, a whiting Wetherlam looked particularly magnificent, with just a glimpse of the top of Coniston Old Man appearing over its shoulder – I always think of the Old Man as the Kanchenjunga of Arthur Ransome’s lovely novel Swallowdale.

Alcock Tarn (c) John Bainbridge 2020

The Langdale Pikes looked really dramatic too, with a snow-crested Pavey Ark seeming to have wandered in from the Alps.

We walked on to Alcock Tarn, once a little reservoir. Rather lovely, its waters reflecting the snow on the higher slopes of the ridge.

We descended by the rocky path down into Greenhead Gill, the setting for Wordsworth’s poem, Michael – one of his best, I think.

We strolled into Grasmere, for no trip is complete there without a browse in Sam Read’s bookshop, and tea and refreshments in Baldry’s excellent cafe.

Rather a nice way to spend a late winter morning.

If you want to find our more about my writing and the books, do take a look at my writing blog at


Published by John Bainbridge

Rambler, hillwalker, stravaiger and trespasser, access campaigner. Novelist writing historical and period crime fiction.

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