A Peaceful Walk in Eskdale

Despite it being a bank holiday weekend, the weather was fine and we chose to escape somewhere away from the crowds. Eskdale is a quiet corner of the Lake District which doesn't get many visitors. We avoided the Hardknott Pass - the steepest road in England and often congested on bank holidays. Instead we approached from the south, across the desolate Ulpha Fell and Birker Fell, which we more or less had to ourselves, passing just a couple of cars in 15 miles.

Our walk was to Eel Tarn which sits above Eskdale and gives stunning views across the valley and the mountains beyond. Eskdale is a glacial valley and its terrain is craggy and strewn with granite boulders, giving it a very different feel from the areas we normally visit further east.

The walk began with a fairly steep ascent before flattening off. Underfoot was quite boggy and the water was almost black in places. In others, exposed copper ore tinted the dark water, giving it a pale blue sheen on the surface.

When we arrived at the tarn we had a panoramic view of this rocky valley up towards the Roman fort at Hardknott.

A dramatic waterfall on Whillan Beck

The old Corpse Road which was used to bring coffins from Wasdale to Eskdale for burial

We don't often see the Langdales from the west

Copper ore leaves a blue film on the surface of the water

On top of Little Pie

Eel Tarn

A geological mystery: what in the water has made the rock darkest black?

A self-important cockerel

A small enclosure for protecting livestock


As we began the descent the whole of Eskdale was laid out before us

It felt as if we had the whole of Cumbria to ourselves!