25th July 2015

Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk 64

Broadcrag Tarn to Dry Tarn

Time 8:20am to 4:50pm
Duration 8 hr 30 min
Distance 11.7 mile
Ascent 5000 ft
Walking with Rod Hepplewhite
Bracken Close - Lingmel Gill - Brown Tongue - Mickledore Ridge - Broadcrag Tarn - Scafell Pike - (just above) Lingmell Col - Middleboot Knotts Tarn - Round How - Lambfoot Dub - Great End - Upper Esk Hause - Sprinkling Tarn - Sprinkling Crag Tarn - Seathwaite Fell Tarns - Styhead Tarn - Sty Head - Dry Tarn - Sty Head - Styhead Pass - Wasdale Head - Road to Bracken Close
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre -
Parking spaces, near Brackenclose camp site, Wasdale

Unless I intended to begin a walk from Wasdale Head itself, then this would be my first choice for parking at this end of the valley. It isn't that large of a parking area, but I always seem to have been lucky and managed to get a space here. Failing that the car park next to the camp site is only a stones throw away.


Route Map


Some fell walks deserve better weather than others and for various reasons this is one of those walks. Not least because of the amount of time spent at height but also the walk up to Mickledore Ridge and the off path section around Lambfoot Dub; all of which are better enjoyed in good conditions. So, after quite a few weeks of postponements, we've finally been promised that elusive summers day and here we are looking across Wast Water as we cross the bridge over Lingmell Gill.

I'm not sure if it was because of the anticipation of the route ahead or the delight in having a summers day, but height was gained at a much quicker than normal pace. The people behind us got further away and the people ahead of us were soon overtaken, and all the while, Wast Water got smaller and smaller until it vanished from view after crossing Lingmell Gill and heading up Brown Tongue. At one point I was thinking "OK, it's good to be on top form but there no way this pace can last the whole walk"

The main Scafell Pike route is left behind and we now make our way up the fellside towards Mickledore Ridge. Here I'm looking over Hollow Stones towards Pillar, Red Pike, Haycock, Yewbarrow and Seatallan.

On our left hand side we see the zigzag path up to Lingmell Col.

The pitched path on route to Mickledore soon gives way to, , ,
, , , , loose scree where you occasionally take 2 steps forward and 1 step backwards.


You can hardly blame me for standing here and thinking just how much I'd enjoyed that.

Despite the rocky ledges and appearance that you may be able to pick a route between the crags, Broad Stand blocks the way to Scafell for us (sensible) fell walkers. Quite a few people have been killed on there over the years and I for one accept that some places are definitely beyond my abilities.

Looking across to the Mosedale Horseshoe from Mickledore Ridge.

Before heading off to Broadcrag Tarn I have a look across to Broad Stand from the mountain rescue post.
Right, I admit I might be on the grumpy side from time to time and I enjoy a good moan as much as anyone out there but come on; do people really have to scribble all over the stretcher box.

Here's Broad Stand again, only this time it's seen from Broadcrag Tarn. Camera timings tell me it's a ten minute walk from the mountain rescue post to the tarn. If you look carefully, just to the right of the lowest point on the skyline you can see the rescue box.


This was a nice surprise, , , , well, two surprises actually. Only one other person at the summit when we arrived and sunshine for the whole of stay here.



From Scafell Pike we made our way towards, but not quite all the way to Lingmell Col. Here, we leave that path and pick up the Corridor Route, which, if followed for it's whole length takes you to Styhead Tarn. Rather than sticking to the Corridor Route however, our sights were set on other things today. First of all we made for Lambfoot Dub (the red dot) and then Great End (via the blue dots).

Great Gable and Kirk Fell seen from the top of Piers Gill.

Middleboot Knotts Tarn.
On the left of the picture is Great Gable and in the far distance you can see Skiddaw fells and Blencathra. A small section of Derwent water is also visible if you look above the far end of the tarn.

I'm surprised this area isn't called 'something or other' Cove. It's as cove like as many others, yet (as far I'm aware) it isn't named at all. Broadcrag Cove or Great End Cove would be the two obvious candidates.

A close up of Lambfoot Dub.

And not so close up. That's Great Gable and Green Gable to the left of the tarn.


Now for the second steep ascent of the walk. The grass made it feel a little bit easier under foot but it felt every bit as steep as the climb up Mickledore Ridge.
Great stuff, , , it felt really good to get a tough route like this in.

Back to normality now and looking across to Ill Crag, Broad Crag and of course Scafell Pike. Close inspection and a refocus of the eyes show the summit area was swarming with people. Looks like our cunning plan to set off when & where we did had paid off.

Approaching Great End summit. I don't like the prospect of that cloud emptying it's contents on us !!

The view from Great End. Straight below us is Seathwaite Fell, we'll be there later in the walk.

Lunch with a view of Lower Esk Hause, Glaramara and Allen Crags.

Down hill we head for a while now and all the way looking towards Great Gable and Green Gable.

Great End, seen behind Sprinkling Tarn.
(Sprinkling Tarn was visited today but not as part of the tarns project)

There are quite a few tarns dotted about on Seathwaite Fell. Some are big, some are small, some are pretty and some are not. As it's all a matter of opinion, I guess you'll have to pay a visit to pick out which ones you reckon are big, small or pretty.
For the time being, here a small selection for you to see.




We could have easily walked back along the ridge to Sprinkling Tarn but instead, we chose to take an unconventional (off path) route from Seathwaite Fell to Styhead Tarn. As we rounded the northern end of Seathwaite Fell we both had one of those "Blimey, what a view" moments as Great Gable came into sight.

A very similar view to the previous picture, this time showing Styhead Tarn.
(Styhead Tarn was visited today but not as part of the tarns project)


And the final tarn of the day is Dry Tarn, found about half way up Great Gable from Styhead Tarn. Okay, it was bone dry today so the name fits perfectly, but, I would have thought if it were permanently dry the stones would have become overgrown with grass. But they aren't, so would I be correct in saying that occasionally it could be a wet tarn.

See what I mean.

This is arguably Great End's greatest end, seen from our descent from Dry Tarn.

And again from the mountain rescue post at Sty Head.

Today, we followed the original Styhead Pass route as used by the pony trains as they moved goods from one side of the fells to the other. If you occasionally look at the ground instead of the views you see lots of evidence that this was once a prominent route in or out of this end of the valley.

I have to admit that Rod let me down today by forgetting to bring a towel. A shame really because these pools were crystal clear and after taking a drink, I found out the water wasn't as cold as you'd expect it to be.
They looked so inviting but with no means of getting dried off we could only imagine how good it would have been to 'take a dip'.
I mean, , , , you just can't get the staff these days!

Looking back to get a view of Great Gable.

and the final picture for today is this one showing Kirk Fell and Great Gable towering above the head of the valley.
I'm not sure what was 'going on' here today. Although, the marquee, the flags, cars parked in the fields and quite a few people in the area that had obviously been running all point towards a fell race or something of that nature. Whatever it was, if the participants had had as good a day as us, they'd have drove away feeling pretty pleased themselves.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks