There are dozens of high-level tarns scattered throughout the Lake District, beautiful pools usually occupying glacial hollows on the fellsides. They were given the name ‘tjorns’ – ‘little lakes’ or, literally, ‘teardrops’ – by the Scandinavian settlers who dominated these uplands 1,000 years ago. Easedale Tarn is one of the most popular of these pools, sitting at the foot of steep, rocky fells to the north-west of Grasmere.
It’s a two-mile walk from the village to the tarn, a steady climb for much of the way. Walkers pass beside the dramatic waterfalls of Sourmilk Gill before reaching the water’s edge. In Victorian times, there was a refreshments hut beside the tarn, serving light lunches and hot drinks to sightseers. It had to be demolished in the 1960s after it was damaged by vandals, but you can still see the remains of it – a large boulder to the left of the path close to the outlet stream used to form part of the hut’s wall. Some of the foundation stones are also still visible.
It is possible to complete a full circuit of the tarn, but the ground at the western end is very boggy, so few people attempt it. Rather than retracing your steps to Grasmere though, consider crossing the stepping stones at the eastern end of the tarn and then dropping into Far Easedale. Sam Read, the bookshop on the corner near the village green, sells maps and walking guides that can help you decide on a suitable route.