Lake District Walks
Black Fell & Tarn Hows
Date: 16th July 2006
Distance: 4.7 miles
Ascent: 866 feet
Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Start Grid Ref: SD326995
A nice easy walk contrasting the sylvan charms of Tarn Hows with the extensive views from Black Fell.
Route Summary: Tarn Hows - Tom Heights Plantation - Iron Keld Plantation - Black Fell - Rose Castle Plantation - Tarn Hows.
1. Tarn Hows
2. Tarn Hows
3. The upper slopes of Black Fell
4. Lisa on the top of Black Fell
6. Windermere from Black Fell
7. Tarn Hows
8. Tarn Hows and the Coniston Fells
Walk Detail: Despite being partially man made the area of Tarn Hows really is quite beautiful and though popular it features a number of little headlands and coves where you can get away from the crowds. In order to do the latter we set off straight after breakfast at the B&B which proved to be a sound plan as I would not have cared to meet too much traffic on the narrow road from Hawkshead to Tarn Hows.
After walking round the western edge of the tarn we began our detour on the initially stony path that leads to the now desolate Iron Keld plantation. I applaud the National Trust’s decision to cut down the spruces to return the plantation to rough fellside but, certainly when I visited, it looked very messy.
It was a very hot day without much of a breeze and so even the easy climb up to Black Fell was heavy going and the cause of much sweating on my part. The summit of the fell, known as Black Crag, was quite pleasant and the views, as per the previous two days, were stunning. Particularly impressive were the fells at the head of Great Langdale to the northwest and the view of Windermere to the south.
We did not linger too long at either the summit or the so-called Windermere cairn because of the unwanted attention of flies, often a problem on a hot, still summer's day. The return to Tarn Hows was made more pleasant by walking into what slight breeze there was. Meanwhile the path that contours round the eastern edge of the tarn gave superb views over the tarn to the Coniston Fells. When we had finished I bought us both a much deserved and very refreshing ice cream.
Tarn Hows was truly lovely while Black Fell would make an excellent place to view the higher mountains in more wintry conditions. I’m sure I’ll probably visit both places again in the future.