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Mar 31 2014

A Solo Hike to Easedale Tarn and Codale Tarn

The Lake District is definitely a mecca for hikers.  I saw them everywhere during my time in the Lake District: The Borrowdale Valley, Keswick, and Grasmere.  I like to do a bit of hiking myself but, as I knew nothing of the local hikes, I consulted the Internet.  As it turns out, there are tons of different hikes from Grasmere.  I looked on the National Trust website and found a couple of walks that sparked my interest.  I decided to start on the Easedale Tarn walk and see where it would lead to.  I had the vague idea of heading to Sargent Man, but would decide en route.

That morning, I walked into Grasmere village, went to the National Trust shop and, having spoken to a really helpful lady, decided to buy an OS map to help me stay on track and make sure I wouldn’t get lost.  I also popped into the Co-op, which is opposite Easedale Road (the start of the hike) and bought my lunch.  I didn’t want to have to rush back or be hungry while I was a long way from anywhere.  Then, with map in hand, I set off up Easedale Road for my day’s hike.

A great start to the hike was going over a cute bridge, which was signposted for Easedale Tarn.  The first part of the route is fine, but stay on the path.  I don’t know why, but I have a habit of veering off track.  It really isn’t the place to veer off when the ground is sodden, which it was.  Once I actually stayed on the path, it was fine, although even that was very wet at times and I needed to get off the path.  I had walking shoes and not boots on, so I was desperately trying not to get my shoes too wet.  The thing is, I stepped on some mud that I thought was solid.  It wasn’t and my foot plunged through the wet mud – yuck!  So, with one muddy, wet foot, I continued on.

Then, suddenly, it opened up and there it was, Easedale Tarn, like an oasis.  In case you’re wondering what the heck a tarn is, it’s a mountain lake or pool.  This was a great place to stop for a few minutes to enjoy the view.  Because it’s a fairly easy hike, there were quite a few people doing the same.

I really wanted to move on to see Codale Tarn, which didn’t look that far away on the map.  It turned out to be a little more difficult to get to than I thought.  The path disappeared and I had to continually try to dodge the soft, sodden, muddy ground.  Then, by one of the waterfalls I passed, I had to scramble up the rocks.  I hadn’t expected that and it was a bit of an adventure and a challenge doing it on my own.  I met a couple of women who were sliding down on their bottoms because that was the easiest and safest way to do it.  I had a quick chat with them to confirm that I was going in the right direction to Codale Tarn.  I was.  That was good news, so I went scrambling up the rock.  It flattened out somewhat, so I could walk up the remainder of the way.  But, ‘where the heck was Codale Tarn?’, I wondered.  I couldn’t see it and thought I would have seen, at least, a glimpse of it.  Having looked at the map, I knew I was close.  I headed to my right, once again, trying not to step in the sodden, muddy ground.  That was quite a task because it was pretty much everywhere I stepped.

Nonetheless, I carried on and finally caught sight of Codale Tarn.  It is smaller than Easedale Tarn, but no less beautiful.  Apart from the two women I met, I didn’t see anyone else on my route to Codale Tarn and there wasn’t anyone by the lake either.  I had this incredibly beautiful place all to myself.  Did I feel special?  Oh, yes and very grateful to be able to enjoy the peace and tranquility while I ate my lunch.

Then, it was time to make my way down.  I was very thankful that it was a clear day, which enabled me to see Grasmere Village in the distance, because there are no signs up on the fells, I couldn’t see a path to follow from Codale Tarn, my map reading skills leave a lot to be desired, and there was no one around to ask.  I went in that direction and knew that, when I was passing Easedale Tarn, I was heading in the right direction.  There were more spectacular views on my way back.  The only person I came across on my journey down was another solo female hiker.  It was great seeing another female doing the same thing on her own.

The journey down wasn’t easy because of the sodden ground, the lack of a path, and it was rocky and fairly steep in parts.  There were times when I eased myself down on my bum for safety.

I have to say that I was glad and very pleased with myself when I finally reached the bottom safely and in one piece.  That’s probably the most extreme hike I’ve done on my own.  To a lot of people, this wouldn’t be extreme, but it was to me because it was the first proper solo hike I’d done in a remote area with no path for most of it and with so few people around.

Easedale Tarn Hike 5

By the end of the trek, I was tired.  On the way back, I decided to treat myself and went to a vegetarian restaurant the hotel manager had told me about – Lancrigg Country House Hotel and Restaurant.  It happens to be at the start of the Easedale Tarn hike, so that was handy.  I hadn’t booked.  I just turned up and thought I could order dinner.  What I didn’t realise was that they didn’t start serving dinner until 6.30pm and I arrived at 5pm.  I was so tired, I decided to plonk myself down and wait.  The staff were great.  I sat in the lounge with a view of the grounds and mountains, had a glass of organic wine, and I was served dinner before 6pm.  After that, I had to summon up the energy for a 2-mile walk back to my hotel.


You can see the area I’m referring to in this map.

Center map
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Have your say

Have you hiked to Easedale and Codale Tarn?  What other routes from Grasmere have you hiked?

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.


  1. Joe

    If you had carried on up past belles knot you would have had a great view down to stickle tarn in langdale and Harrison stickle and pavey ark two of the langdale pikes.
    Pavey ark is where jacks rake is a very well known scramble.

  2. Teresa Keane

    So close, yet so far! Thanks for the information, Joe! I’ll bear it in mind for the next time I’m in the area.

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