Tarn Crag & Grey Crag
A South East Lake District walk taking in two of the Wainwright Fells. In The Lakes and want to get away from the crowds? Here’s a 5 mile walk for you.
Facing a quiet weekend, I spent my last twenty quid of the month on petrol and set off for the Lakes for the day. I’l been flicking through the Wainwright guidebooks and seen that the two most south-easterly fells could be done in one go in a walk of around 5 miles. It look me over 3 hours but I was strolling and stopping regularly (especially on the uphill bits!).
Parking for this walk should be no trouble. There’s a large grassy triangle with areas to park all around it just before the pretty bridge in Sadgill. I got there at getting on for lunchtime so I parked a little further up the quarry road where there was plenty of room.
To start with, you walk up the rocky and stony quarry path in Longsleddale for a mile and three quarters, nearly, with the imposing Kentmere Pike on your left. Both sides of this valley are steep sided with lots of crags. There were people rock climbing on Buckbarrow Crag as I walked past. There looks to be a good scrambling route up that way as well, if that’s your kind of thing. As you get further up the hill, keep an eye out to your left for a group of waterfalls feeding the valley stream.
Upon reaching a gate on the quarry road, you turn right and head up a steep grassy and sometimes muddy hill. There are no paths of note on the fell whatsoever but a mixture of worn ground and fences are enough to make it easily navigable on a clear day. When mist threatens, make sure you know what you’re doing.
The climb is initially quite steep but soon slackens a little. Upon reaching your first summit of the day, Tarn Crag, you’ll notice a large stone structure. These pillars (there are more on the fell) are survey posts used while building an aqueduct for Haweswater and are unlike any hilltop structure I’ve ever seen.
As views in Lakeland go, this isn’t the most spectacular, but that’s just being ungrateful. The views are still stunning by every other measure and long reaching views towards the Pennines and Howgill Fells are a rare treat. The Coniston range is also prominent but Kentmere Pike is still the imposing mass it is at the foot of the valley.
Passing a cairn, there is a fairly dry path around Greycrag Tarn (not really a tarn, more a marsh) as long as you keep to the fence. Following this fence, a path of sorts will appear which you can follow to the craggy and cairn-topped Grey Crag, the second and final summit of the day. The views are not dissimilar to the previous top. A clear day gives a beautiful panorama.
From here it’s all downhill back to Sadgill. Paths, although not on OS maps, are clear enough to follow down the hill on a good day. There are a few routes down but I went via Great Howe for a fantastic view of Longsleddale. From here you can see a a good half of the walk you’ve done and there are numerous crags to have a sit down on to take in the view.
From here you can more or less follow your eyes. There are steep downhill sections here and a fair few rocks. I found a winding path through some bracken which took me safely back to quarry road and Sadgill bridge.
Route Downloads, Image Gallery and Further Information
If you'd like to go on this walk, this is the place for you!
You can download the GPX file for your GPS device, smartphone or tablet below. For more information on GPX files, what they are and how great they are for walking, visit the GPX files page.
Click images for larger versions. Images of 1920px along the longest edge are available from the Tarn Crag & Grey Crag Flickr album.