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Easdale Tarn - An Oasis of Peace

Just two miles from Grasmere lies a beautiful mountain lake. We put on our walking boots, filled the Holga with film and the rucksack with water (and more film) and headed out for some tranquility.

Discovering Lomography (and film photography in general) has turned me into a walking freak. I was never into going for long walks before, there didn’t seem much point to it. Walk for a couple of miles then turn around and walk back. But having a camera with you turns the walk into an expedition, it provides a reason to head out into the great outdoors. This is how my girlfriend and I ended up in the Lake District of England. Staying in a lovely B&B in the idyllic Grasmere, we checked our guidebooks over breakfast and decided to head up to Easedale Tarn.

Photo by panchoballard

Easdale Tarn is situated about about two miles from Grasmere, up a path that takes you through fields of cows, up rocky steps alongside a waterfall before eventually arriving at the tarn itself, a place described by poet Thomas de Quincey as a ‘Chapel within a Cathedral’. You can see why. The tarn (the name given to small mountain lakes) is enclosed by steep rocky hills on three sides, with the water running down into what is called Sour Milk Gill on the fourth, open side. The setting is magnificent yet without a guidebook, many tourists probably have no idea about its existence.

We set off in the morning and it was already obvious it was going to be a beautiful day. We passed by a lovely row of cottages, along a shady cobbled path and past the field of cows before reaching the steeper part of the walk.

This is where it got a little more like work. It’s not a tough climb but with the hot weather, it soon got sweaty! Fortunately, as well as a bag full of cameras and film, we also had plenty of water and some sandwiches – essential walking supplies. I organised my rucksack like so: cameras and film first; water and food second. I should probably give more priority to food but you know how it is with photographers.

Anyway, the walk up the hillside, whilst a little hot, wasn’t too difficult and it certainly provided some magnificent views as we walked alongside Sour Milk Gill, looking up towards the waterfall and back down towards Grasmere.

Be warned, if you’ve not done this walk before, it’s quite deceptive. Every time you approach the crest of a hill you think the tarn will be on the other side. This happens many times! Eventually though you’ll finally reach it. And believe me, on a day like we had, it’s well worth the walk. Stunning isn’t good enough to describe it. It’s so beautiful and so peaceful, even with lots of other holiday-makers around. We sat down, drank our water, ate our food and enjoyed nature in all it’s glory.

There was only one thing we didn’t like about the tarn. You’ve got to leave eventually! Oh well, the walk down was just as pleasant in many ways more fun. We were stalked by a sweaty man (okay, he was probably just going the same way…) and saw some rather interesting graffiti on a shepherd’s hut. Sadly I had run out of film by that point but it said – Coleridge Rocks! You see, in the Lake District it’s the Eighteenth Century poets who are the rock stars. And why not in a place where nature offers far more heady pleasures than any pop diva can?

written by panchoballard

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