9th May 2015

Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk 44

From Tarn at Leaves to Styhead Tarn

Time 9am to 5pm
Duration 8 hr
Distance 11.6 mile
Ascent 3600 ft
Walking with Paul Sharkey
Seatoller - Strands Bridge - Combe Gill - Tarn at Leaves - Rosthwaite Fell - Combe Door - Combe Head - Glaramara - Lincom Tarns - High House Tarn - Allen Crags - Lower Esk Hause - Sprinkling Tarn - Sprinkling Crag Tarn - Styhead Tarn - Styhead Pass - Stockley Bridge - Seathwaite - Seatoller
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre -
Car park, Seatoller, Borrowdale

Seatoller is found at the foot of Honister Pass and brings Borrowdale to an abrupt end. As with all the villages in Borrowdale, this is a very popular place and as a result, the latecomer may find the car park full.

Walking in this area is among some of the best in the Lake District, but aside form the fells themselves, lower level walking around here is fantastic.


Route Map


Normally a walk of eleven and a bit miles wouldn't get a second thought as far as the distance goes. However, any walk that includes the route across the ridge between Allen Crags and Tarn at Leaves (in both directions) always leaves me feeling like I've had a much harder day than it should be. So, before I even set out I knew I'd get home feeling tired. Never mind; a walk across here is always worth the effort and today, partly because we were in and out of the cloud for much of the ridge walk, the effort was more than rewarded.

A look back into Borrowdale taken as we make our way towards The Combe.

Last night it had absolutely bucketed down and this had evidently swollen the becks to point where they seemed to be uncrossable without getting wet feet. We made our way past the falls to use the good crossing point next to the sheepfold. Only today, the crossing wasn't what you describe as good!! We tried a few places and then, a bit further up stream from the sheepfold, Paul simply said "I'm just going for it" and before I had time to blink he was on the opposite bank.

That's where I'd normally cross but it was too early in the day to end up sitting in the water.

Now that we're on the correct side of the beck we can begin the steep walk up the fellside to Tarn at Leaves. Looking back, we have a rainless view through Borrowdale to Derwent Water. It looks like our plan to set off an hour later to miss the rain has paid off.

Looking into The Combe

A close up of Seatoller.


Here we reach Tarn at Leaves which marks the start of the time consuming walk up the ridge to Glaramara.

As soon as we set off walking today we touched on the idea that the cloud might just lift ahead of us to allow clear views for the whole walk. By the time we got well into the ridge walk it was obvious that this wouldn't be the case and we'd be spending at least some of the walk in the clouds. Here I look across to Eagle Crag and Sergeant's Crag before we enter the cloud.

And there's the cloud but as I've said before, sometimes this can add to a walk rather than taking something away from the enjoyment,

The first over 2000ft summit Paul wanted to visit today was what Harry Griffin called Cam Crag, a rocky outcrop found about half way up the ridge between Tarn at Leaves and Combe Head.


A gap in the cloud shows the up / down / hummocky nature of this area.

The highest point on Combe Door is reached where visibility was reduced to very little indeed.

And as if by magic, the cloud parted for a moment to show us the route up from Thornythwaite Fell.

OK, we knew we'd be walking up here to reach the top of Glaramara and we also knew we'd have to be extremely careful because the stones were very wet and slippery today.


Looking ahead to Allen Crags.

There are lots of tarns to be found along the ridge but these are the named ones I'm after. You have High House Tarn on the left (the big one) and Lincomb Tarns on the right (the two smaller ones). I haven't spent much time thinking about it but I don't recall any other tarns that have different names yet are this close to each other.

One of the Limcomb Tarns.

Lincomb Tarn and High House Tarn. In the background is Pike O'Stickle.

The slightly higher ground next to the tarns was chosen as a spot for something to eat today. We weren't going to get anywhere more sheltered and we could at least watch the cloud slowly lifting off the higher tops in the area.

Lunch with a view.

Lunch with a view of Harrison Stickle and Pike O'Stickle.

Looking back along the ridge to Glaramara.

A close up of Sprinkling Tarn.

Bow Fell and Esk Pike seen from Allen Crags summit.

Here's where we decided to part company for a short while so Paul could nip down to Tongue Head to visit another one of Harry Griffin's 2000 footers. As I didn't need to do this it was easier for all concerned if I waited up here with Paul's gear. This way he could jog there and back (in 20 minutes) and I could sit on a stone and watch the world go by.

A close up of Lingmoor Fell and the path just above Angle Tarn.

The unmistakable skyline of the Langdales.

Lower Esk Hause and Great End.

From Esk Hause we take the path down to Sprinkling Tarn and Seathwaite Fell. Ahead of us are Great Gable and Green Gable.

As I looked back I notice the group of people from Esk Hause shelter walking this way. Because I'd seen them earlier walking up from the Angle Tarn direction, curiosity got the better of me and I tried to guess which route they were taking. Particularly as their progress was very slow and if they'd set off from Great Langdale, which I assumed at this point, they we're giving themselves a very long walk back.
Unknown to us, while we were on Seathwaite Fell the group overtook us and it was only on the route above Stockley Bridge that we eventually caught up with them and the mystery was solved. We chatted for a little while before I told them I'd tried to work out their route. As it turned out they'd walked through Langstrath, up towards Angle Tarn and back down via Sty Head Pass.

Sprinkling Tarn.


Typical isn't it. Earlier today we were walking around up there in the cloud and now its as clear as you could wish for.

As with the Glaramara ridge there are lots of tarns here on Seathwaite Fell, although today we didn't have time to have a wander around them. This will make a nice walk one day for Jennifer and myself when we won't have walked quite as far as we have today.

Great End seen beyond Sprinkling Crags Tarn.

Sprinkling Crags Tarn again. This time with a view across to Derwent Water and the northern fells.

Now we're back off Seathwaite Fell and ready to continue along the path to Styhead Tarn.

The final tarn for me today was Styhead Tarn. Here you see it below Green Gable.

And here it is again. This time Seathwaite Fell is behind the tarn.

Great End, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike and Lingmell, all seen from the side of Styhead Gill.

We're well down Styhead Pass now where the view opens up to show the Seathwaite end of Borrowdale.

Reaching Stockley Bridge tells us we're off the fell but for us the walk isn't over yet as we still have almost 2 miles to walk to Seatoller.


I know we shouldn't laugh but we couldn't help it. A couple of minutes earlier this bloke overtook us without a word or a glance and then, as he got to a gate, turned around and asked "which way are we supposed to be going". I waited for a few seconds expecting him to realise we're not actually with him but no; he just wanted an answer.
My head was saying "what a stupid question, how the hell are we supposed to know where you're going" but, I wasn't rude the the guy so what I actually said was "where do you want to end up and I'll tell you how to get there"
"I don't know, , , , the main road or somewhere, , , just so I can get to Strag Lath" (he meant Langstrath). We told him to go straight through the farm but by the time he'd got this far he started shouting into the air about something which we couldn't quite make out. I'm not sure of he was lost and starting to panic but his whole manner and behavior were really odd to say the least. O yes, before he'd reached the farm he shouted at a car to pull over so he could ask them 'something'.

Seathwaite Farm.

We look back along the road towards Seathwaite for a view of Base Brown, Seathwaite Fell and just and so topped with cloud is Great End.

And here we are back at Seatoller.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks