Black Fell & Holme Fell via Tarn Hows

Following a long day out in the Coniston Fells, day six of my autumn trip was reserved for something a little easier going! With my attention still on Wainwright’s Southern Fells, it was time to head for the area’s two lowest fells – Black Fell and Holme Fell.

Black Fell sheepfold

I had pre planned a circular walk from Skelwith Bridge, and although it would require some on the spot modifying and improvising, it would be a much more relaxed affair with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery!

Skelwith Bridge

I took the morning Langdale bus service for the short journey to Skelwith Bridge, beginning the walk at around 9:45 am. Taking off southwards, first crossing Skelwith Bridge itself, I opted to change my planned walk along the A593 for a kilometre, when I noticed just how fast the traffic was blasting along the narrow road! Fortunately the good old Cumbria Way was nearby, and I ducked onto it to take a longer, safer route.

Nr Skelwith Force

With Skelwith Force so close, I took a quick detour for a look at the pretty waterfalls, before continuing along westwards.

The Cumbria Way

Before reaching Colwith Force, I got off the Cumbria Way for a necessary 0.5 km of road walking, with just a 100 m on the busy main road that I took as quickly as possible.

Black (Fell) Sheep!

Building by Low Arnside on Black Fell

Happy to be on a footpath again, I made my way up the lower slopes of Black Fell, aiming for the stone wall that bisected the high point of the fell, Black Crag.

Black Fell’s summit

I took a slow casual wander towards the 322 m summit, having a luxury of time rather than a mad bagging rush, and was happy to find a nice trig column, psychedelic style bent wall and a nearby felled tree!

Summit wall on Black Fell


Summit panorama

All round views took in the Fairfield Horseshoe, Langdale Pikes, Coniston Fells, Ambleside, Windermere and Esthwaite Water.

The view south


Black Fell’s trig column looking to the Langdale Pikes…


…and to the Coniston Fells

For my descent off Black Fell I went south, past Iron Keld and into Iron Keld Plantation. Through the sparsely populated trees, I followed the path onto a wide bridleway, and then onto a footpath down to the northern tip of pretty Tarn Hows.

Tarn Hows

As I reached a stile, I disturbed a couple, improvising a table, and apologetically got over and out of their way!

Popular Tarn Hows from the south

I took a slow mender along the lake shore path, following the western bank of the popular tarn. The path was a lot more populated than I am used to when out walking, courtesy of the convenient parking nearby.

Tarn Hows panorama

Clear of the tarn and back on a narrow footpath, I headed for the start of the ascent to Holme Fell.


Through a field, a horse grazed on the long grass, refusing to pick his head up for a good photo!

Horse hiding

The path up Holme Fell offered a glimpse down to little Yew Tree Tarn, and the quick ascent meant I was eager to explore one of the lower tops to the north , before continuing on for the summit of the area’s lowest Wainwright fell.

Yew Tree Tarn

Holme Fell’s summit

From my vantage point, I saw a couple of walkers coming down from the double summits of Holme Fell, and after making my way back to the main path, I was soon on my way up.

Holme Fell summit cairn

First reaching the lower eastern top, then onto the 317 m summit, the highlight being a view over the full length of Coniston Water and over Lingmoor Fell to the Langdale Pikes.

Coniston Water from Holme Fell

Relaxing over along lunch in the afternoon sun, I reluctantly begun my descent, heading north past a few small disused reservoirs.

One of Holme Fell’s disused reservoirs

A few hundred metres of road walking led past a disused quarry at Hodge Close, where a steep drop surrounded a large pool of dark stagnant waters below.

Hodge Close Quarry…


…You wouldn’t want to drink that!


After another few kilometres of walking, I joined up with my outward route at the base of Black Fell, simply reversing my route for the journey back to Skelwith Bridge.


Once again with a little time to wait for the bus, I was glad to take advantage of the bar in the Skelwith Bridge Hotel for a well deserved drink!


Only one day remained of my autumn walking adventures for 2016 and for the final day I had some big ones planned – Bow Fell via the Climbers Traverse and Great End!

Time: ~ 7 Hours

Altitude: High: ~322 m/ 1056 ft

Low: ~50 m / 165 ft

Distance: ~ 11 Miles / 18 Km

Wainwrights: 2 – Black Fell, Holme Fell

One thought on “Black Fell & Holme Fell via Tarn Hows

Let me know what you think!