Brother’s Meeting Stone

Grisedale Tarn with fells in distance.

A guest blog from Norman Hadley

In the vast cleft between Fairfield and Dollywaggon Pike sits a boulder. Boulders are many in the fells, but only a select few are named. The most famous, such as the Bowder Stone, Pudding Stone and Brock Stone, are celebrated proving grounds for rock-climbers. But this one is not bedaubed with chalk and is only remembered for its connection to poetry and shipwreck.

Here it was, in 1800, that William and Dorothy Wordsworth walked up from Grasmere to meet their brother John, coming up from Patterdale. It’s more usually called the Parting Stone, because sailor John was lost at sea a few years later.

But, in 2021, the theme of meeting has acquired an added poignancy, when so many of us have been cloistered in our houses with our kith and kin reduced to talking heads in boxes on a screen. So let’s celebrate the Wordsworths’ initial act of reunion and set aside their later mishap.

This is a walk (strictly two walks) requiring a bit of planning. Arrange with friends or family to set off up Tongue Gill and Grisedale Beck at the right time, to reunite in this lovely mountain setting. Maybe chink glasses in honour of the sister and brothers who met here two centuries ago. In her Christmas message last year, the Queen promised we’d meet again. And what finer setting?

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