Lake District Directory from

Hard Tarn



I’m sure the person who named this tarn actually meant to call it Hard (to get to) Tarn or even Hard (to find) Tarn. Both of which would be perfectly suitable for this place. Situated high up in Ruthwaite Cove, on a shelf of bare rock below Nethermost Pike this delightfully elusive little tarn is a real joy to behold. Despite its charm however, Hard Tarn must feature in the list of least frequented Lakeland tarns.

It certainly isn’t anywhere near any recognised or popular walking routes; quite the contrary in fact. Experienced walkers or those prone to exploration may happen upon the tarn if they should choose to make an ascent of Nethermost Pike via its interesting but rather short Eastern ridge. The only other people who visit Hard Tarn are those who are intentionally seeking it out or those who are lost. The latter of the two I’d find rather difficult to understand, as even the most inept navigator would find it challenging to end up here.

This is by no means the only route to the tarn, but the most straightforward route is to head up the fellside behind Ruthwaite Lodge following the main beck into the cove itself. Where the beck splits follow the right most tributary heading more or less to a point between Nethermost Pike and High Crag. I’m afraid once you reach what feels like the head of Ruthwaite Cove it’s a case of hunting about for the tarn below Nethermost Crag.


Photo gallery

The view back over Ruthwaite Cove to Dollywaggon Pike, taken as we leave Hard Tarn and head for Nethermost Cove.

Here's another view of the tarn where is really does have the appearance of being perched on a rocky ledge; which of course it is.






Choose a walk that includes this place
The number of walks to choose from is 2

30th May 2015 - Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk No 48
  Tarns between Glenridding and Helvellyn 12.8 mile 4500 ft
Stybarow Crag - Glenridding - Greenside Road - Greenside Mine - Kepple Cove - Brown Cove - Catstye Cam north ridge - Catstye Cam - Red Tarn - Swirral Edge - Helvellyn - Nethermost Pike - High Crag - Dollywaggon Pike - The Tongue - Ruthwaite Cove - Hard Tarn - Calf Hole - Nethermost Cove - Grisedale - Lanty's Tarn - Glenridding - Stybarrow Crag

6th October 2007
  Hard Tarn to Lanty's Tarn - via Helvellyn 10.5 mile 3560 ft
Patterdale - Grisedale - Ruthwaite Lodge - Hard Tarn - Nethermost Pike - Helvellyn - Swirral Edge - Catstye Cam - Red Tarn - Birkhouse Moor - Lanty's Tarn - Patterdale

David Hall -
Lake District Walks