BB1635 : What Is A Tranearth?

Thursday 13 October 2016

What is a Tranearth?

This I asked as we passed Tranearth Cottage, the Lancashire Climbing and Caving Club’s bothy.

None of us knew but we did notice that whatever it was, Fleming, Frank and Matthew had all had one nearby, according to the OS map.

All thoughts on the subject soon vanished as we reached Tranearth Quarry, filled by the Torver Beck.

Perhaps it is as well that neither Terry or Graham was with us as it is alleged to be a favourite place for “wild swimming” or skinny-dipping as they might call it.  How people get down to it is a mystery as I could see no path.

However, there is another way down.  Cliff Jumping.

If you want to see three lads leaping from great heights into the quarry water, have a look at Cliff Jumping at Tranearth Quarry.

Tony would probably call it child abuse!  Watch it and be impressed.

I still can't work out how to get back out.

Click on picture for video

We pressed on to the Walna Scar Road in order to take the gentle southern route up Brown Pike, Buck Pike and onwards to Dow Crag.  

First, however, we wanted to see Blind Tarn, presumably so called as unless you bother to climb Brown Pike you are unlikely to see it, hidden away as it is in a basin below the ridge.

Brown Pike from Walna Scar Road

Comitibus :  Walna Scar Road

It is reached by following an old miners’ trail up and over a shoulder. Surrounded by high walls of rock and screes, it is an interesting little tarn. Another hidden skinny dipping opportunity for those of that inclination.

Blind Tarn

Returning to the Walna Scar Road we soon found the ascent path and could look down on Blind Tarn.

Fortunately, most of the time iwe were out of the breeze but as we neared the top we started to feel the 50 mph gusts.  At least the rain was holding off.

The Scafell Range


The wind was at its wickedest as we approached the Dow Crag summit. We opted for the more awkward but not exposed short boulder climb to the summit rather than the path with the 1,000 foot drop.  Fortunately we didn't get blown off but were happy to find a wind-break a little further down for lunch.

Lunch shelter

Goat's Water from Goat's Hause

The descent was straightforward.  Down to Goat’s Hause and then turn right down to Goat’s Water.  Here there is a tremendous view of the intimidating Dow Crag Cliffs.

Can you see the blue stretcher box?  It's at the bottom of the central buttress.  Expand the picture and you should be able to spot it.

Once beyond the tarn, rain threatened but not for long.  In fact, by the time we passed the wild-swimming Tranearth Quarry the sun had come out and those with a good eyesight (or imagination) could see  Blackpool Tower.

Martin points out the Tower for Tony

Tranearth Cottage

We took advantage of there being no-one in the Tranearth Cottage climbers’ hut to take a break sitting in the sun.  What had happened to the forecast rain?  We weren’t complaining.

Instead we returned to contemplating what on earth a Tranearth is.

The Wilsons

Or was.

My guess is that it derives from a "tranche of earth"; in other words a piece of ground given or belonging to a named person such as Fleming, Frank, Matthew or perhaps even Don!  

The debate could have continued but time was pressing and there was one thing left to do.  

This we did at the Wilsons Arms.

I wonder if Wilson had a Tranearth once upon a time?

Don, Thursday 13th October 2016.

Afternote:  The only reference I can find to the history of the word "tranearth" is that the name is used for a type of rock layer of the Sheinwoodian Age to the Gorstian Age and found, funnily enough, in the Tranearth area.  But how did it get that name?  Anyone know?


Response: Bryan dug out the following interesting item which goes some way to answering the question.

North west of Torver there seems to have been a rapid extension of fell enclosure onto Torver High Common, at Matthew Tranearth and Fleming Tranearth, with names like New Intake. The Tranearth place-name seems to indicate a division extending up the fell in a line from individual farms on the valley floor, perhaps fossilising earlier customary stints.

In 1639 two tenants from Little Arrow Farm in Torver were fined for setting up new hedges on the common at Little Moss without permission. Records for judgements made at Hawkshead Courthouse to settle disputes regarding the commons exist from the 16th century. These include a person brought before the court for keeping swine on the commons beyond the ‘stint’, which is likely to refer to a particular parcel of the common. Such was the enthusiasm for intaking at this time, that the intake land north of Blelham Tarn represented a doubling in size of the enclosed land.

The Black Pearl

Almost as seen on the River Mersey last weekend




Thursday 13th October 2016

Distance in miles:

9.2 (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

2,500 (Memory Map OS 1:25k)


Dow Crag


Don, Martin, Tony

Map shown: Harvey's

BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1635 .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be that up to date - or for the totals of   the mileages and heights (ditto) see the Excel file: BB Log.

You can navigate to the required report via the Home Page

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To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see Which Wainwright When? This may or may not be up to date!

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
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BOOTboys 2016


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