Beckhead Tarn


Dry Beckhead TarnTwo small tarns sit in the pass between Great Gable and Kirk Fell. The larger of these is Beckhead Tarn, an almost circular pool on the Kirk Fell side of the pass.

The second tarn is nearer the Gable side of the pass, and is a long, narrow pool.

The path across the pass runs between these two tarns, with the larger tarn on the Ennerdale side and the smaller one on the Wasdale Tarn.

Both of these tarns often dry out (see our photo for an example), but I've also seen both totally full. The floor of the larger tarn is made up entirely of small stones and boulders, with most of them quite dark in colour. It's quite an experience to be able to wander freely across the floor of a tarn, and here it shows how shallow this particular pool is.

Beckhead Tarn's main appeal is its location, with the towering north-western ridge of Great Gable in one direction, and views into Wasdale and Ennerdale to either side.


Grid Reference of centre: NY 205 106
Altitude: 2,040ft


How to Reach

The easiest way to Beckhead Tarn is from Wasdale Head, following the valley bottom path between Great Gable and Kirk Fell. The more popular path, higher up the slopes of Great Gable, reaches the north-west ridge of Gable above the tarn, so needs a diversion. It could also be reached from the Ennerdale side, although there are no paths coming up in this direction.


Our ascent of Kirk Fell passes the tarn, and our ascent of Great Gable via the north-west ridge comes very close.


No stream flows into Beckhead Tarn


No stream flows out of Beckhead Tarn, despite the name!

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