Beautiful Bowscale Tarn in Cumbria

Beautiful Bowscale Tarn in Cumbria

Tarn Candles name each of their essential oil blends after tarns, natural pools that form in the mountains. Beautiful Bowscale Tarn in Cumbria makes for a stunning walk – and maybe a swim!

We tackled Bowscale Tarn on a cool but sunny morning in late August. It’s a gorgeous area of The Lakes and easily accessed from the A66. As you turn off the busy route that connects Keswick to Penrith and beyond, the road soon becomes a narrow country lane that weaves around to Mosedale village. There a small car park is the perfect place to begin your journey to the tarn’s summit.

Bridleway to Bowscale Tarn in Cumbria

Idyllic stone buildings are dotted across the countryside landscape, and only ten minutes away is the hamlet of Bowscale. Here we turned onto a public bridleway that signposts the tarn from a fork in the road, alongside a run of working cottages.  

Bridleway to the tarn

A decent track slowly ascends, through farmers’ gates and up the rugged but sturdy path with Bowscale Fell rising to your left and a picturesque valley developing to the right. Apparently, in Victorian times this stony route was used to take visitors up to the summit on ponies. Look ahead as you walk and on a bright day the peaks of Knott and High Pike can be seen resplendent in their mixed carpets of grass, heather and bracken. 

Track up to Bowscale Tarn near River Caldew valley

Perhaps an hour’s walk depending on your chosen pace and you near the top. Tarn Crags continues to rise above you to the left, but an opening appears that offers an entrance to Bowscale tarn itself. Stunning. It’s a corrie tarn, meaning that it’s a geographical feature formed by glaciation. 

Bowscale Tarn is a corrie tarn

As we rounded the corner and the expanse of water opened up, we noticed that earlier walkers had come prepared to swim. Several were in wetsuits, but one brave soul took a plunge wearing just shorts. A couple of dogs barked, willing their owners to return to the shoreline. 

Heather by Bowscale Tarn water

We took some time to enjoy the scene, grab a bite to eat and relax. The cold wind that must blow through the valley on wintery days is probably lessened up here as Bowscale Tarn is mostly protected from the high corrie walls that rise to about 1500 feet above sea level. 

How high is Bowscale Tarn

Choose your route down the fell  

There are several options when you’re ready to move on, depending on how far you fancy trekking and your ultimate destination. For us, it was a circular route of about four miles in total. Looking down the valley you could see Tarn Sike that trickles from Bowscale Tarn down to River Caldew. 

Tarn Sike that runs from Bowscale Tarn down to River Caldew

We retraced our steps to the original track, but instead of dropping back towards Bowscale itself we followed a grassy path that drops downhill towards the River Caldew that flows several hundred yards below. 

Footbridge over River Caldew near Bowscale tarn

Steep, a little, but we were soon hopping over a style and foot bridge by a hidden cottage nestled on the opposite side of the river.

River Caldew below Bowscale Tarn and near Mosedale village


Beautiful trees lined the track that bordered farmers' fields and stores, and a few minutes later we made it to the modest road that returns you to the other side of Mosedale village. 

Cottage near Bowscale Tarn

Hidden gem cafes in the Lake District  

There, a final treat awaited us. During the summer months some volunteers from The Northern Fells Group operate a delightful café in what was once the Quaker’s meeting house, established in Mosedale in 1702. Original features, solid wooden furniture, art and information a plenty. Visit this quaint venue and give the dedicated team your support. The cakes are delicious!  

Perhaps three hours in total, this was a lovely walk up to one of the many Lake District tarns. Visiting each one makes the perfect connection for us as we expand our range of tarn-inspired candles, wax melts and reed diffusers.

The Bowscale collection is slightly different from the rest. Our customers wanted a pure lavender blend, so “Bowscale” emerged and is enjoyed by many. View it on the Tarn Candles website HERE…  

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