4th March 2015

Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk No 17

Snipeshow Tarn and High Rigg Tarn


Walk Overview
Time 2 to 4:30pm
Duration 2 hr 30 min
Distance 4.8 mile
Ascent 1200 ft
Walking with Jennifer
Rough How Bridge - A591 - Snipeshow Tarn - A591 - Dale Bottom - Naddle - High Rigg - High Rigg Tarn - Rough How Bridge
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre

This parking spot is actually a long section of unused road which at one time used to be part of the main A591. Parking is free and I would say you're certain to get parked here at anytime you choose to arrive.

Route Map


This was a shortened down version of the walk we had planned for this afternoon. I'd been to work all morning and then got held up in traffic on the way home to pick up Jennifer. Never mind, it was still an enjoyable walk where we were treated to some nice (early) spring sunshine.
That's Blencathra in the background. I've never noticed that line running across the fell a little way down from the skyline before. It looks like a path from here but surely it can't be.

Now I know where I am, where I've been and where I'd have ended up if I hadn't parked at Rough How Bridge.

First call today was Snipeshow Tarn which is found a short walk above the main A591. I've been up here in the middle of summer and the bracken is a nightmare so, it made sense to visit this tarn at this time of year when progress is a little bit easier.

A close up of Browncove Crags, Helvellyn Lower Man and Helvellyn. It would have been good to get up there today but real life gets in the way again.

In t'other direction shows itself as having much less snow than the fells around Helvellyn.

And here's Snipeshow Tarn, found so close to the main road yet I suspect it gets very few visitors indeed.


Here you see the tarn with Skiddaw in the background.
Admittedly the place would look nicer with some sunshine, but you have to admit it's a lovely spot.

Now we need to make our way over to High Rigg by way of Dale Bottom.

From the very bottom of Dale Bottom you get a great view through to the northern fells. Although, I suspect after days of torrential rain this would be a bit of a daft place to stand looking at the scenery.


As we were so close anyway, we made our way around the north west side of High Rigg so we could include a visit to the summit of the fell. From here we could look across to Latrigg, Dodd and the higher Skiddaw fells.

St John's in the Vale church is in among the trees down there but we took a different route up to the summit from the normal one directly behind the church.

Another close up of Whie Side, Helvellyn Lower Man and Helvellyn.

A High Rigg view of Blencathra.

A view back around to High Rigg summit shows some dark looking clouds over Blencathra.


There are lots of small pools dotted about High Rigg but this one is the bigger of them and generally accepted as being High Rigg Tarn.
Looking in this direction you see Helvellyn in the background.

and looking this way you see Lonscale Fell and Blencathra.

Now it's time to backtrack a short way before we leave the ridge and head back down to Rough How Bridge.

An easy route off the fell follows the wall seen in this picture. Although it's perfectly manageable at all times of year it's obviously a lot easier when the bracken is dead.

A view through Dale Bottom to Lonscale Fell and the Skiddaw fells.

I'm not that we should be going about throwing stones all over the place, but if you threw one from here there's a good chance it would hit one of the cars that are parked up. That's how close the road is to the bridge.
This is the original Rough How Bridge where the Whitehaven - Keswick - Lancaster coach hit the Wordsworth's gig in what we would call a road traffic accident.
The following was reported in the Cumberland Pacquet:-

On Wednesday afternoon last between two and three o'clock. as William Wordsworth Esq., the celebrated poet, in company with his son, the Rev. John Wordsworth, of Brigham, were on their way home to Rydal Mount Farm, a visit to the Earl of Lonsdale at Whitehaven Castle, they had a narrow escape from destruction. The venerable and highly esteemed bard and his worthy son were driving in a one-horse gig and had just reached Rough How Bridge, about three miles from Keswick on the Ambleside Road when they observed the mail coach coming upon them at a rattling pace.

Owing to the sharp turn in the road at the top of the ascent which leads down to the bridge, the mail coach could not be seen until within 70 or 80 yards of the place, but in a few moments they had of its approach the Rev. gentleman succeeded in driving the horse close up to the side of the road, which was only narrow, but nevertheless wide enough for the coach to have passed in safety in ordinary circumstances.

It unfortunately happened, however, that the offside wheeler, which, we are told, was in the habit of holding the bridle bit in his teeth, and resisting the utmost exertions of the driver, was at the moment of meeting indulging himself of this dangerous practice, and refusing to obey the rain. Owing to this circumstances the coach came with great violence against the gig, which it sent against the adjoining wall with such force that both the gig and the two riders were thrown, with part of the adjoining wall, into the plantation.

Fortunately the traces and shafts of the gig broke near the body of the vehicle, which set the affrighted animal at liberty, and it no sooner gained its feet than it leaped on the broken wall and having regained the road, set off at a frightened pace with the gig shafts attached to the harness. Such was the affrighted condition of the horse . . . that every attempt to stop it was fruitless, and it dashed on at this furious pace for nearly nine miles, and was eventually stopped at the toll bar entering Grasmere.

Mr Wordsworth and his son . . . were both found entirely unhurt; the only visible injury received by either from this dangerous collision was a slight scratch on the finger of the poet. We do not learn that the slightest blame could be attributed to the driver of the coach who did his utmost to bring the unmanageable animal under his control.


David Hall -
Lake District Walks