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Date & start time: Sunday 19th July 2009. 9.45 am start.

Location of Start : Glen Mary bridge car parking, near Coniston, Cumbria, Uk. ( SD 321 998 )

Places visited : Tom Gill Force, Tarn Hows, Iron Keld Plantation, Black Crag, Low Arnside, Low and High Oxen Fell, Hodge Close, Holme Fell, Yew Tree Farm tearooms.

Walk details : 7 mls, 1800 ft, 5 hrs 30 mins excluding afternoon tea.

Highest point : Black Crag 1032 ft ( 322 m )

Walked with : Fourteen members of the OFC . . . Jill and Nigel, James and Olivia, Anne and Andrew, Gary and Sheena, Dave and Josie, David Hall, John Paterson, Ann, myself and the dogs, Tim, Polly, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Blue skies and high clouds, warm with a slight breeze on the tops.

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 Tarn Hows and Black Crag

Map created by EveryTrail


Slightly more people than normal on the walk today as Jill B teamed up with Gary to suggest a walk in the Tarn Hows area.

The car park at Glen Mary Bridge, near Yew Tree Tarn in Coniston, suddenly fills with lots of OFC member's cars.

The walk starts up the path alongside Tom Gill . . .
. . . with several waterfalls including this, the largest one.

The river flows out of the Lakeland beauty spot of Tarn Hows.

We walk out into the sunshine as we reach the broad footpath of the circular walk round the lake.

A large group of Graylag Geese float over to see if there are any scraps of food left on offer . . .

Too late for breakfast leftovers and far too early for lunch . . . sorry !

Impressive Pines on one of the lake's promontories,
The lighter vegetation is the Iron Keld plantation at the end of the lake.

By the curved seat, we take the path over the stile and leave the lake behind.

Dave, Josie, Ann and Anne start up the Iron Keld track.

The vegetation is starting to grow back but it has been many years since they first cleared this part of the forest.

Climbing higher, we get the first view of Coniston Water as we look back over Tarn Hows.

This is the major cairn on Black Crag, but not the one on the summit.

From here you can look down on the lower reaches of Windermere and away to the Lancashire hills to the south.

A gaggle of fellwalkers reach the top and enjoy the views on offer from the summit.

Often these lower fells can give great views and the clear weather today is a real bonus.

Half of the group manage to face the same direction in time for the photo.

Olivia (over from Switzerland with James), Andrew, David, Jill, Dave, James and Nigel.

Looking round, this is Coniston Old Man (left) and Wetherlam (to the right) with shadows on Holme Fell in the centre.

Our walk would take a loop around the other side of Holme Fell before climbing up to the summit and down through the woods, back to the car.

Crinkle Crags and Bowfell form the skyline with Pike O' Blisco in the centre,

it's shadowy top making it merge in slightly with the background fells.

In the sunshine now, Pike O' Blisco is clear but the Langdale Pikes and Lingmoor now catch the fast moving shadows.

Below is is Low Arnside Farm which we would walk past shortly.

Following our group up to the summit

were a couple from Lincoln, Sue and Stu.


They were up here on holiday

and we stopped and chatted for a short while

before going our separate ways.

From here the route took us down to Low Arnside.

Paths were not necessarily well defined on the descent, as we made our way across several larger areas of damp ground.

A delightful Golden Ringed Dragon Fly . . .
. . . with delicate wings an big green eyes.

The insect lives up to it's name and shows he's no vegetarian as he catches and starts to devour an unfortunate honey bee.

Dark sided Wetherlam behind the farm as we reach the track.

Gary and Andrew wait at the gate as the others make their way down.

Tim is on the lead as we near the mid point of our walk, the crossing of the Ambleside to Coniston Road.

David acting as " lollypop lady " as we cross the road at a slightly awkward bend on the main road.

Low Oxen Fell, another classic cottage and a rather nice home for someone.

Just up the track slightly we come to High Oxen Fell farm.

A quintessential Lakeland working farm

where someone has spent much time and effort in a beautiful flower display.

In the porch way, a straw teddy.

Attractive hanging baskets of Fuchsias on the barns, so David stops for a photo too.

Even the working side of the farm looks good in the sunshine today

as we make our way over to Hodge Close and the quarries.

Four iron bolts set in concrete at the head of the quarry incline.
We drop down into the dry Parrock Quarry at Hodge Close.

The cave with it's double arches join the dry section to the deeper, water filled Hodge Close Quarry beyond.

An old steel gantry leads out over the water,
Apparently the pool is as deep as the cliffs are high .

The lake is surrounded by steep quarry cliffs and loose debris scree slopes.

It's a popular area for divers and rock climbers but us fellwalkers just come to enjoy the view . . .

. . . and it will make a great spot for lunch !

Relaxing by the old gantry.

Nature is starting to reclaim the slopes . . .
Mature trees fill the quarry.

Slate mining in the area was in it's heyday in the 19th century and finally finished in the 1960's, but this part of the quarry has been abandoned for quite some time.

It has developed it's own little micro-climate and almost has a temperate rain forest look about it.

Back at ground level and into the warmth as we cross the old quarry slate tips.

We skirt the deep quarry and look back at the double cave entrance where we enjoyed lunch.

Rock climbers enjoying their sport as they start up the slab rock.

Our next objective was the summit of Holme Fell, seen here from one of the reservoirs on the side of the fell.

The true summit is hidden behind the trees to the right.

We cross the stone wall that forms the dam and holds back the water in the tarn.

James catches Polly emerging from a dip in the clam waters.
Anne is delighted to pick up reception again for the cricket scores.

It's TYest Match Special on the third day of the Lords Test and England are ahead. They have the prospect of a win over the Australians

. . . the first time at the Lords Crcket ground, the home of Cricket, in approx 75 years . . . makes a change from football chat I suppose !

We make our way up through the bracken, fourteen members forming an orderly queue up the fells.

Nigel reaches the pointed cairn seen in the earlier photo.

Behind him is Grasmere and Fairfield, the central fells in the picture is the Helvellyn Ridge heading north.

Olivia makes her way up to her second Wainwright top of the day,

her second fell ever, as this is her first visit to the Lakes.

Much hilarity as we try for a group photo . . . all fourteen of us.

I'm not really holding Gary's knee but suggesting Jill keeps her hand down as the shutter clicks !

The Kentmare fells across the heather covered top of Holme Fell.

A close up on the Langdale Pikes across High Tilberthwaite Quarries.

Coniston is full of small boats. It will be a good day for sailing with the sunshine and this gentle breeze.

Our final descent of the day as we leave Holme Fell.
Dropping down towards Yew Tree Tarn from Uskdale Gap.

The path leads to Yew Tree Farm where they are offering refreshments in the garden . . . how convenient.

Now owned by the National Trust, this is one of the farms formerly owned by Mrs Heelis, Beatrix Potter as she was better known in the literary world.

It was used as the film set for Hill Top Farm in the recent film, Miss Potter.

Inside it has much of the original furniture . . .
. . . and now has a small shop and tea room.

However we enjoyed our afternoon tea in the sunshine outside.

Mmmm . . . Carrot Cake !

Josie enjoys jam and cream with her scones . . . Andrew eagerly awaits his order.

John relaxes in the afternoon sunshine, cooled by the Cobber round his neck.

Jill however, tries an aerosol cool spray . . . it's amazing what she has in her rucksack !

Time to go as we leave Yew Tree Farm and make our short way back to the car.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with with Ann's Cannon 75 or my Cannon G7 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . Tea and scones at Yew Tree Farm.

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Previous walk - Wed 15th July 2009 Blawith Fell with Connie

A previous time up here - 3rd December 2005 Tarn Hows and Holme Fell - a Wainwright Walk