28th September 2014

Nab Scar and Alcock Tarn


Walk Overview
Time 11:55am to 2:15pm
Duration 2 hr 20 min
Distance 5.1 mile
Ascent 1700 ft
Walking with On my own
A591 - Dove Cottage - How Top - Whitemoss Common Tarn - Coffin route to Rydal - Nab Scar - Alcock Tarn - How Top - A591
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking Spaces, A591 outside Grasmere

When Grasmere is very busy and parking is a problem, this would be a good place to try. It may be outside the village but it's only a 5 minute walk to the village centre. From the south end of the lay-by cross straight over the road and follow the signed footpath to Millennium Bridge and the church.


Route Map


During conversations yesterday Nab Scar was mentioned more than once and it must have stuck in my mind because I got up this morning without really thinking of walking anywhere else.
"Where are off to today" Jennifer asked between coughs, sneezes and nose blows (she's full of cold).
"Nab Scar"
"Then Heron Pike?"
"No, just Nab Scar on it's own"

They aren't half making a good job of the house at How Top. I think I'll wait until someone has had the hassle of 'doing it up' and then make them an offer. Although I suspect they'll turn it down!!

Whitemoss Common Tarn. Hardly what you'd describe as a 'body of water' but I still wouldn't like to fall in it.

Loughrigg Fell seen across the bracken and trees below the Coffin Route.

Here are two views looking across the Coffin Route.
It's always lovely walking along here and despite getting two photos with no people, it was actually quite busy. Most folk were walking in the opposite direction so I felt a bit like I was swimming against the tide.


Nab Scar towers above the buildings at the higher end of Rydal.

That's alright you don't have to say sorry for pushing your way past me as we both reach the gate at the same time. Headphones in, looking at the ground and didn't bother to acknowledge I was even there. Obviously this guy adopts the 'he who travels quickest has the right of way' approach to outdoor activities. Ignorant b****** , , , , , anyway, on with the walk.

A view back down to Rydal with Ambleside and Windermere in the distance.

Now for the steeper bit of the walk up Nab Scar. I think the person that invented zigzags should be nominated for one of those 'unsung heroes' awards, in their case it could be for, , , , providing respite for breathless people the world over.

Looking across to Low Pike, High Pike and Dove Crag.

Nab Scar path.
Okay, it's not quite as precarious as this might make it look but you do get a heck of a good view. Especially on a clearer day than this one.

Looking down to Rydal Water. Not quite all of it but not far off.

The view back towards Ambleside, Windermere and Wansfell Pike.


Long distance views were very poor today, as you've probably noticed. Never mind, it was dry, surprisingly hot while walking up hill and still nice to be out and about on the fells.

Approaching the summit area.

You can just make out some people standing on Nab Scar summit further along the ridge (not the obvious people right in front).

The top.

From the summit cairn I look ahead to the path on Heron Pike. I'm not going up there though, I take the narrow path you can see leading out of the picture on the left.

It's an easy walk between Nab Scar and Alcock Tarn. Mostly down hill but not very steep and a great view all the way. Notice how much further on the bracken is up here compared to that lower down the fellside.


Nab Scar fellside.

I reach Alcock Tarn to find it deserted, peaceful and calm enough to stand for a while watching the small fish swimming about in the shallows.


I can't help but think it's only a matter of time until the middle section of the tarn becomes completely chocked with grasses and eventually silts up. What a shame. I know it's only mother nature doing her work, but, and it's a big but, the tarn as we see it isn't actually natural. So, if it's okay to interfere with nature to enlarge the tarn why not intervene to preserve it. Anyway: that's my two pennies worth!

Standing on the dam and looking across the tarn towards Stone Arthur and Great Rigg.

A close up of Grasmere.
Our car is down there in the lay-by down there. There's no point in telling you it's the red one because you can't see it for a tree.

Turning a little to the right, you see Helm Crag, Steel Fell and the gap that is Dunmail Raise.

On the way down from Alcock Tarn I'm treated to this view across to Grasmere and Silver How.

Well, that was a great little walk. No new ground at all for me but the first time I recall doing this exact route.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks