Swim Run in the English Lake District

We don't just run in the Spanish mountains, we also do a lot of trail running in the UK in the summer months. Although usually much cooler than Spain the UK can get hot at times, and here is an idea for those balmy summer days in the English Lake District.

  • Start - Thirlmere
  • Finish - Grasmere
  • Distance - 20 miles
  • Ascent - 4,500 feet

 


With the temperatures in the mid 20's it was a relief that the first opportunity for a swim was just a mile into the route. Harrop Tarn doesn't look that promising as a swim location, but what appears to be a shallow pool near the path is nice and deep with no need to wade in. The forest location and water liilies make it an iddylic setting. We were off to a great start.

SWIM 1 - HARROP TARN

Scenery: 9
Water Clarity:5
Ease of Access:9
Water Temperature:8
Solitude:7


Despite the recent hot weather the ground underfoot over to Blea Tarn was very wet.  Emerging out the woods into the heat of the day a tough little climb led us past Standing Crags and there below us was the next swimmin venue. We headed to the end of the Tarn to avoid the rough ground at the Southern end. This certainly felt remote, and although we did meet another couple heading for a swim in Blea Tarn you are likely to have the it to yourself. This was probably going to be the coldest swim on this circuit, but today it felt very pleasant. 

SWIM 2 - BLEA TARN

Scenery: 8
Water Clarity:5
Ease of Access:5
Water Temperature:7
Solitude:9


We opted not to swim in Watendlath Tarn, it is a popular place for fishing and always quite busy, but a cup of tea and some cake at the cafe kept our energy levels up. Dock Tarn lies a mile or so further on along some very rough rocky paths. We couldn't find any deep water here, but it was VERY warm, almost bath like! Not a great place for a swim though.

SWIM 3 - DOCK TARN

Scenery: 7
Water Clarity:3
Ease of Access:3
Water Temperature:9
Solitude:8


A steep decent towards Seathwaite and the heat was building towards 30c. The beck in Langstrath was full of people cooling down, but in the distance we eventually saw the "honeypot" of Blackmoss Pot. Probably around 50 people had made this their destination in this mini heatwave, but it was great to see so many people having fun. There was plenty of opportunity for swimming though in the deep ravine, which holds even deeper water. We opted not to take the big jump into the main pool - there were queues for this! Our sheep dog "Nap" had a couple of good swims here as well.

SWIM 4 - BLACK MOSS POT

Scenery: 7
Water Clarity:10
Ease of Access:3
Water Temperature:9
Solitude:1


We had a long hot slog over Stake Pass and Mart Crag Moor, the late afternoon heat sapping our energy. Apart from a few figures on Harrison Stickle we were all alone after the crowds at Black Moss. Eventually the view opened up and there was Stickle Tarn beneath us. A quick descent and plunge straight into the tarn - bliss! Perhaps the most spectacular swim on the circuit with Pavey Ark a brooding back drop reflected in the still waters. Although now early evening there were still a few people about and we encouraged one to have a dip as well.

SWIM 5 - STICKLE TARN

Scenery: 10
Water Clarity:8
Ease of Access:4
Water Temperature:8
Solitude:5


A direct line to Codale Tarn took us less than an hour. Hidden away above Easedale it is certainly secluded and seldom visted. We gave it great marks for scenery and solitude. The water felt cool beneath the the warm top layer, but as the air temperature was still in the mid 20's the normal UK freezing post swim experience thankfully didn't occur.

SWIM 6- CODALE TARN

Scenery: 8
Water Clarity:5
Ease of Access:4
Water Temperature:8
Solitude:9


The steep path down to Easedale Tarn was deserted. I guess there would have been plenty of vistitors to this well known area of the Lakes earlier in the day, but now we had it to ourselves. We were treated to warm water and enjoyed the perfect summers evening on our last swim. The ripples we made on the water were the only disturbance in the tarn, glinting in the hazy sunlight. We eventually made our way back to Grasmere and  completed a memorable summers journey.

SWIM 7- EASEDALE TARN

Scenery: 8
Water Clarity:5
Ease of Access:6
Water Temperature:8
Solitude:7

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