Mountain Journeys

Sour Milk Gill Grasmere: Getting off-path for a fun adventure


Below the main waterfalls - Sour Milk Gill Grasmere


Sour Milk Gill Grasmere

There are a couple of well known Sour Milk Gills in the Lake District, one that tumbles out of Blueberry tarn into Buttermere and the other originating from Easedale tarn and forging a route to Grasmere.

It was the later of these that gave us yesterdays adventure. A Gill we have walked alongside many many times and occasionally scrambled small sections of it, but we had not scrambled the full length of the rocky stream bed until yesterday. And all this came about as a last minute thought. I had been due to climb with local friend Jim of Lake District Climbing, but the day had started off very wet, so uninspiring conditions for climbing. We agreed to 'have a think about it' and hopefully make something of the afternoon should conditions improve.

By late morning I was itching to get out and Kate seemed keen to fit in some exercise too. I started to think of what we could do as a team of 3 starting from home and on a potentially damp day. A Ghyll scramble is always a bit wet anyway, so thought that would work well, but where? Grasmere is easy enough to cycle to on the mountain bikes. A plan was forming.

We took in a good chunk of off-road terrain to reach Grasmere then continued up into Easedale, with a wet river crossing en-route!!

With the bracken now growing quite high and plenty of other natural objects around, it was easy to hide the bikes, although we did lock them too. Leaving these only minutes from the start of the scrambling route felt really good. Although we had endured a passing shower, the weather was now rather wonderful, with blue skies ahead, it was short sleeves all round.

Keeping to the dry rocks gave excellent friction and good sport was had. The damp or moss covered rocks required extreme caution as they were very slippery. The stream bed had loads of good quality solid rock and a number of fine cascades to be climbed. All of these were good fun and relatively straightforward. This isn't a good Ghyll for swimming, but there is one pool we encountered that would be okay for swimming, in fact Jim did contemplate the idea.

Escape from the Ghyll was always easy as the main path to Easedale tarn runs alongside and the Ghyll has an open aspect. A short, steep climb on impeccable rock gives a good finale before a sudden change of angle. We found a good picnic site near here whilst deciding on the next plan of action.

Whilst enjoying lunch, we learnt from Jim about the 'Guides hut' at Easedale tarn. Don't be getting excited, it's no longer there! This was once a refreshments hut on the shores of Easedale tarn, if visiting have a look for the huge boulder near to the outflow, this was the sight of the hut. Everyday is a school day 🙂

With the afternoon racing by, we called it a day and took a leisurely stroll back to the bikes for the ride home. One thing lockdown has made me consider much more is how and where I travel. If possible it'll be on a bike. Although I think for climbing days I'm still far more likely to use the car due to the weight of all the equipment.

With the Lakes looking set to reopen to overnight visitors from early next month, it's good to have a few ideas for what to do. We can well recommend a walk to Easedale tarn, and if wanting to spice the walk up, Sour Milk Gill is to the right of the main path and gives some fun scrambling. If you're unsure about scrambling or about where to walk / what to do whilst in the Lake District, we'd be delighted to help with ideas and can arrange fun and adventurous days out. Check out our Activities Page here

Thanks for reading



Kate enjoying good friction on the drier rocks - Sour Milk Gill Grasmere


The weather forecast said rain, but we had sunshine 🙂 - Sour Milk Gill Grasmere



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