Dock Tarn

A quiet, secluded tarn on Watendlath Fell.



Finally blue skies, after a week of rain. And quite warm too until the clag moved in late afternoon. Watendlath nestles between Borrowdale and Thirlemere in the Lake District. The hamlet is the location for the fictional home of Judith Paris in Sir Hugh Walpole’s four book saga of life, intrigue and romance in the 17th century. The dale was once owned by the monks Fountains Abbey but the name is older, it comes from the Old Norse, vat-endih-hlada, meaning water end barn.

Great Langdale

A view up Great Langdale, right of centre, from Loughrigg Fell with the Langdale Pikes on the far right. An overcast day but the tops are clear.

loughrigg map

Where was I today?

On the Lake District Mountain Trial so somewhere in the Lakes. But where? A reservoir, although a tarn existed before it was enlarged at the turn of the twentieth century. Apparently there was a riot amongst its construction workers when several were shot including one fatality. Quite peaceful today.

No prizes only the kudos of being a sage of the Lakes. And any fellow competitors keep mum for a few days.

Gurnal Dubs

A cracking morning on Potter Fell in the foothills of the Lakes north of Kendal. A quiet area largely ignored by those in a hurry to get into the big fells. A dub is a small pond and there were indeed originally three dubs until Richard Fothergill II built a dam to create the much larger lake of just under eight acres we see today. Locally it is known as Fothergill Tarn but the Ordnance Survey refers to it as Gurnal Dubs. The Fothergill made their money came in iron and coal mining in Wales. Their Lowbridge Estate went on the market last year for £3.25m.

Lanty’s Tarn

Lanty’s Tarn sits at the end of the ridge between the Grisedale and Glenridding valleys. It’s a natural tarn that has been enlarged with a concrete dam wall to provide a water supply to Patterdale Hall. There is some debate as to how the tarn was formed. One opinion is that the hollow which it occupies is the result of glacial meltwater channeling. Others say that it was scooped out by a tongue of ice between the Grisedale and Glenridding glaciers. There are certainly roches mountonnees carved smooth by the flow of the ice on Keldas, the knoll to the east of the tarn. But that doesn’t exclude the meltwater theory.

Nearby is an ice house where ice from the tarn was stored underground by Patterdale Hall for use long into the summer.

But who was Lanty?  One theory is that he was Lancelot Dobson one time owner of the estate. Lanty being a diminutive name for Lancelot.

Malham Tarn

In my posting last year of Lake Gormire I wrote that it is said to be one of only two natural lakes in Yorkshire and surmised that the other would be Semerwater in the Dales. I can not remember where I read that. What about Malham Tarn someone asked. I thought I had the answer today. On the same thinking as to the question of how many lakes are there in the English Lake District. Malham not a lake, it is a tarn. But then at home Googling I see that although some locals refer to Lake Semerwater, the Ordnance Survey have mapped that lake as plain Semerwater. So I guess that blows that theory out the window.

But ignoring the pedantries of water body names, Malham Tarn, at a height 377 metres above sea level, is the highest lake in England and the largest in Yorkshire. Apparently it is also one of only eight upland alkaline lakes in the whole of Europe with a bed of slate and surrounded by limestone country.

The photo was taken from the top of Great Close Hill, a small hill that must be ignored by both hill walkers and tourists. It is too  piddly for hardened walkers and too difficult for those strolling around the lake. But it is an impressive hill, dominating the east side of the lake with dramatic limestone.

And if you don’t know how many lakes are there in the English Lake District then you need to enter a few pub quizzes.