Lake District Walk
Tarns of Eskdale
Walk Route Description
This Lake District walk does not feature any summits but takes in five of the Eskdale tarns in Lakeland, three tarns of note and two much smaller tarns, which do not merit much attention. Eskdale is one of the quietest but prettiest valleys of Lakeland and was a favourite valley of the late Alfred Wainwright, the famous Lakeland author, who described it as "the finest of all valleys".
The easiest approach to Eel Tarn is from the Woolpack Inn. However, in order to include Stony Tarn as part of a roughly circular route, this walk heads for Stony Tarn first. Follow the path from Wha House Farm as if heading for Slight Side on the way to Scafell. To locate Stony Tarn involves leaving the path. This is not the easiest of approaches to Stony Tarn, however, and even in good visibility can present navigational difficulties. This is due to pathless terrain which comprises a succession of rises and hollows of similar height and composition. Stony Tarn is inclined to remain elusively hidden when approached from this direction.
The lack of a clear path and its not being en route to a mountain summit means that Stony Tarn tends to be seldom-visited. This is a pretty water and is seen to good effect from different angles. It is overlooked by hills on two sides including to the south which explains why it remains out of sight from the top of Harter Fell across the Eskdale valley.
To reach Eel Tarn from Stony Tarn, there is no path, but the task is straightforward enough provided that you follow a more or less straight course from the outflow of Stony Tarn to the south west. Eel Tarn is only about half a mile away and is seen in the distance as you descend. It is rather boggy around the edges so is most likely to be seen from a distance. By bearing right (north west) from the tarn, a clear path (which comes down from Burnmoor Tarn) is located that heads south west and which leads down to the hamlet of Boot.
To reach the next tarn, Blea Tarn, climb up steep, pathless felllside from near Dalegarth Station on the miniature railway, leading to Blea Tarn Hill. Although by climbing to the top of the hill, there is additional height gain, compared with making for the tarn directly, the extra effort is worthwhile for the fine view of the tarn from the top of the hill. A clear path leads down and along the east shore of the tarn to the outflow. A short digression to the right reveals a further two tarns - Siney Tarn and Blind Tarn though both are very small and rather overgrown and it is perhaps surprising they were considered worthy of having names at all. Nearby Blea Tarn is considerably larger and more picturesque. A clear path now leads down to the south east from near the outflow of Blea Tarn to rejoin the Eskdale valley below at Beckfoot Station. While it is possible to return to the start point by following the road back all the way, a route variation involves taking the next turning on the right and then following the path alongside the River Esk, passing Low Birker Farm on the right before the path rejoins the road shortly before the Woolpack Inn. There tends to be little traffic on this secondary road, in any case.
Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers.
|Ordnance Survey Explorer OL6||Sheet Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Explorer OL6||Digital Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Ordnance Survey Landranger 90||Sheet Map||1:50k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Landranger 90||Digital Map||1:50k||BUY|
It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.
GPS files - right click or option-click the button and choose "Save As..." to download this file.
Recommended Books & eBooks
The Cumbria Way
A guidebook to the 73 mile Cumbria Way, an easy long-distance walk though the heart of the Lake District National Park, from Ulverston in the south to Carlisle in the north, with good transport links to either end. The route is largely low-level but this guide offers alternative mountain days to climb some of the famous fells en route.
Walking in Cumbria's Eden Valley
Guidebook to 30 graded walks in Cumbria's Eden Valley. The routes, which range from 3 to 15 miles and are best from bases such as Kirkby Stephen and Appleby, explore the region's diverse landscapes and offer dramatic views, either of the Pennines, Lake District or the Scottish hills. Linear routes link with the Settle-Carlisle railway.
This practical handbook covers digital outdoor photography and the whole range of outdoor activities including walking, running, cycling, water sports (in and on the water), as participant or spectator. Covers basic concepts, equipment and processing and optimising your images back at base.