An Easedale Round

A very rewarding opportunity to renew acquaintance with a number of long-standing Lake District fell ‘friends’, this walk started out from near Lancrigg Guest House in Grasmere, went up Far Easedale to the rim of the ‘corrie’ below Greenup Edge, and thence further up to Ferngill Crag and Tarn Crag, before returning via the path back down to Stythwaite Steps.
The earlier parts of Far Easedale, up to Stythwaite Steps bridge, are undoubtedly the most scenic, and the ascent up the flank of Ferngill Crag something of a slog, especially so on this occasion, due to the ever-deepening snow. However, the views back over to the Calf Crag-Helm Crag ridge during the latter stage were always very worthwhile, and the tedium was also much relieved by an accompanying line of old metal fence posts (which once marked the boundary between Cumberland and Westmorland). These remnants prompted my companion Jim Mercer to discourse very eloquently and learnedly on the operation of their wire-tightening mechanisms, the method of securing them to the fence post, and sundry other technological marvels - see video here while available, ahead of general release! No longer will I see rusty old iron fence posts in quite the same light!
The summit ridge eventually gained, there were fine views over to Sergeant Man, the Langdale Pikes, and later on, down to Codale and Easedale Tarns (the former frozen), and of Belles Knot (the Cumbrian ‘Matterhorn’!). In addition, by this point, the sunlight, though gradually failing, gave the surroundings a quality increasingly reminiscent of lines in Yeats’ “Cloths of Heaven” poem - that is, as though the sky and fells were
‘Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light.’
And as if these experiences and sensations were not enough, the day included various other ‘distractions’ as well, without which a truly Herdwickian walk never seems complete, such as a circling buzzard eyeing up the possibility of lunching on Sooty; much slithering about on steep snow banks while ‘Matterhorn’ moves were practised, ahead of a visit by Jim to Zermatt; and, the ‘half-light’ or whatever having by this point faded completely, conducting the final half hour or so of the outing under cover of darkness (save for our ‘headlights’) - the final ingredients needed, in other words, to make this yet another truly great day out, in great company!
Highest point (Ferngill Crag): 1900 ft./ 579 m. Distance: 5.4 miles/ 8.8 km. Ascent: 1842 ft./ 561 m.

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