9th July 2011

Dunmail Raise to Alcock Tarn


Walk Overview
Time 10.00 to 14.30
Duration 4 hr 30 min
Distance 8.5 mile
Ascent 3400 ft
Walking with On my own
Dunmail Raise - Seat Sandal - Grisdale Tarn - Grisdale Hause - Fairfield - Great Rigg - Heron Pike - Alcock Tarn - Greenhead Gill - A591 to the top of Dunmail Raise
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside, top of Dunmail Raise

There is lots of available parking along this stretch of road, and just as well. Anyone who has driven over Dunmail Raise will have noticed how many cars form the line on each side of the road. I'm tempted to say that this is somewhere you'll never fail to get a space. Simply leave your car at the end of the line.


Route Map

At the top of Dunmail Raise at 10am.
You'd probably say I was grasping as straws here, but I'd intentionally delayed today's start by a few hours because the forecast had hinted that it might 'sort of' clear from the west by mid day. What I did may have been no benefit whatsoever, but I still managed to stay out of the cloud, I had no rain and when the sun was out it was just as it should be at this time of year.

Steel Fell seen on the opposite side of Dunmail Raise. I keep promising myself that I'll walk up Steel Fell from Dunmail Raise someday. From what I can make out I can see two options, a narrow zigzag path and the line of a fence. I've always had the notion that if some bloke can swing a sledge hammer to get the fence posts in, than I should be able to walk up the same route.


A close up of Thirlmere.

and not so close up.

Almost at the summit of Seat Sandal and looking down to Grasmere.
The two lakes in the distance are Windermere and Coniston.

Just before I left the summit I took this picture showing a small section of Ullswater. The fell on the right is St Sunday Crag.

Grisedale Tarn.

Up, down and now I'm heading up again. I should say that the path from here to Fairfield is much steeper than this photo makes it look.

A view back to Seat Sandal.

On route up to Fairfield I took this picture looking over the outflow end of Grisedale Pike to Dollywaggon Pike and 'her' zigzags.

A view down to the Tongue Gill route from Grasmere to Grisedale Hause.

Cofa Pike and St Sunday Crag, taken from Fairfield.

Fairfield's stony summit certainly isn't the most picturesque fell top, and although it's still a great place to be, I enjoy the walks I use to get here more than the actual summit. The fell itself is in a great spot though, it can be reached from lots of different directions and can be included on so many different routes. Fairfield is definitely more than just the highest point on the 'Fairfield' Horseshoe as I'm sure many people think.

Rydal is a lovely quiet valley where you're almost guaranteed to have the place to yourself. Getting into the valley is straightforward enough from Rydal, but getting back out at this end is easier said than done. Having said that, there are a few places where it is possible, and those of an adventurous nature would love it.

A view back to Fairfield.

I left the ridge at Heron Pike and took an off path route down to Alcock Tarn.

The tarn can be seen here on its ledge above Grasmere.

Getting closer.

and finally there or am I here. Anyway, I hung around for ten minutes or so in the hope of getting a sunny picture, but the cloud was playing its tricks and this was the best I could manage.

Stone Arthur, Great Rigg and Greenhead Gill, taken from the path down from Alcock Tarn.

From the same place as the previous picture I turned around and took this picture showing Helm Crag, Steel Fell, Tarn Crag and Ullscarf; to name a few.

The path joins up with Greenhead Gill for a short distance where there's a footbridge to get you across the gill, through a gate and off the fellside.

Dora's Cottage in front of Helm Crag.

Broadrayne Farm at the foot of Seat Sandal.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks