Blea Tarn nestles in a hanging valley between Great and Little Langdale. It provides a classic viewpoint, dramatically beautiful, where everything comes together. Across the tarn the Langdale Pikes are perfectly framed by the slopes of Pike of Blisco and Side Pike, with beautifully shaped pine trees on the western shore. In the spring the meadows by the lake are rich in colourful flowers, in the autumn the area is ablaze with gold, reds and browns.
How To Get Here
Blea Tarn is nine miles drive from Ambleside. From Ambleside take the A593 to Skelwith Bridge and take a right at the Skelwith Bridge Hotel down the B5343 signposted Elterwater and Langdale. Drive past Elterwater to the village of Chapel Stile. Drive through Chapel Stile into Greater Langdale continue past the New Dungeon Ghyll, the National Trust car park on your right and onward to the Old Dungeon Ghyll take a sharp left past the National Trust campsite and up the hill past Wall End Farm and up steeply to the top of the hill. Then down past Blea Tarn House to Blea Tarn National Trust car park on your left.
- Parking Lat/Long: 54.429391, -3.0874640
- Parking Postcode: LA22 9PG
- Parking Grid Ref: NY 295 043
What to Shoot and Viewpoints
Blea Tarn House is a popular subject taken from the roadside looking north or by climbing a short way up the footpath beside the small stream opposite the cottage to look towards the fells.
Walk down the path across the road from the car park, there are some good vantage points almost immediately on your right.
Walk down to the tarn for some great reflection shots of the slopes of Pike of Blisco and Side Pike which draw the eye to the Langdale Pikes in the centre through the pass. Best on a calm day. Use the rocks in the foreground for foreground interest.
Walk along the shore to a wall and more shots of the tarn and mountains this time with the solitary pine on the headland more prominent.
You can also get a good shot of the craggy Blake Rigg above the coniferous woodland to the west, a good early morning shot.
Rejoin the path and go through the gate, there is a good view from the path and the lakeshore.
Side Pike is most prominent in the background, there are textured rocks and slender stalks in the shallows of the tarn in the foreground and the small peninsula with the distinctive pine juts out into the shot. A useful tip here is to crouch as low as you can and also to isolate the distinctive pine with a telephoto.
Turn around and Bleamoss beck goes under a footbridge with a solitary pine by a wall. With a subject on the bridge and with the right conditions this can be a great shot.
This next shot requires a little effort but gives a great landscape shot of the whole of Blea Tarn and the mountains to the north.
Blea Tarn is owned by the National Trust and as part of their ‘Miles without stiles’ scheme is suitable for push chairs and wheelchairs. There are picnic benches and lots of places for children to explore so makes an ideal family spot. The path continues around the back of the tarn. The shores of the tarn can be a little wet in places, so waterproof walking boots or wellies are a good idea. In summer take midge (insect) repellent especially if there is no wind.
Best Time of Year/Day
This is a place to visit anytime of year at any time of the day. Sunrise and sunset can be special here. Spring and summer is good for flowers, autumn is the most colourful time and a snowy winter scene can be very dramatic. At the ends of the day the low sun casts long shadows accentuating the rough mountains and generally adding drama to an already spectacular scene.