Open Water Swimming
Swim the Tarns
There are over 200 tarns in the Lake District providing lots of opportunity for wild or outdoor swimming. Most tarns are high up the mountains so require a long walk to access.
Some are large, some are small, but all are in amongst amazing scenery and well worth the effort. Here are just a few of my favourites larger ones high in the mountains.
This is a large tarn, and my pick for a swim in. It is a popular overnight wild camp spot and also the cross roads to many walks. It is located in the middle of lots of the highest Cumbrian Fells and just off the Cumbrian way. With steep cliffs surrounding it, it is a dramatic backdrop to a wild swim. (It can be tackled from lots of start points – just decide which fell you want to walk with this swim) I’ve been to this tarn via so many routs and it never disappoints. Personally, I would either go via the Langastrath Valley parking at Rothswaite or from the Langdale Valley from the Old Dungeon Ghyll following the Cumbrian Way.
This is a large tarn situated in the Langdales. It is a steep hike up to it but once there it is an awesome site and a great swim with amazing views. To tackle this you park at the New Dungon Ghyll in the National Trust car park and literally walk up following Stickle Ghyll all the way to the dam and tarn beyond.
Dale Head Tarn
If it’s just about visiting the tarn then the quickest and easiest way up is from Honsiter Slate Mine. If you want a nice walk...which can be tough at times...the walk up through Newlands Valley is a nice way to get there. Not one of the larger tarns but equally not one of the busier ones. It’s a nice tarn for a dip and another lovely picnic spot.
There are a few tarns called Red Tarn, but in this case we’re talking about Red Tarn in the shadow of Helvellyn’s Striding Edge and Swirral Edge, so worth a visit for a swim and a look at this iconic Lakeland image. If you fancy tackling Striding Edge, then Red Tarn can provide a nice swim stop en route.
The best way up to Red Tarn is from Glenridding. Parking is available in Glenriding with a large car park near the Information Centre. All the paths up the Hellvellyn pass Red Tarn, so whichever path you choose you’ll get there. I’ve always taken the path behind the village heading through the trees along side Glenridding Beck. Once you pass the small campsite keep right and follow the well trodden path up to Red Tarn.
This is another large tarn nestled among the giants and requires a climb to get to. Many people pass this tarn heading for Scafell Pike, so worth a stop while also conquering England highest mountain.
The best start point for this walk swim is Seathwaite. This is a popular start point for so many walks that parking is often tight, but it’s basically at the side of the road, find your spot, and head towards the end of the valley and the farm where you will see the footpath for Sprinkling Tarn. Keep left and follow Grains Ghyll and the footpath all the way to the tarn.
This is again a popular tarn where many footpaths meet. From here you will find people heading from Wast Water and from Seathwaite – towards Scafell Pike or Great Gable to name just 2 of the more famous peaks in this area.
Heading from Seathwaite and the farm, when the path splits, this time keep right towards Taylorsghyll Force waterfall and follow Styhead Ghyll all the way to the tarn.
More will follow as we swim the 200 Tarns!!!