Three Tarns sits in a spectacular location on the col between Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags. The crags of Bowfell Links loom above the tarns to the north, the path up Crinkle Crags runs away to the south. To the west there are impressive views of the Scafell Range and the upper reaches of Eskdale, and to the east there is a view down The Band towards Great Langdale.
Three Tarns is a rather misleading name - on my several visits to the pass I've never actually counted three pools here. In dry weather at least one can dry up, while in wet weather more can appear or the existing ones can merge. The OS map shows four tans in the immediate area and two more very close
The main Three Tarns are actually rather nondescript, flat sided pools spread across the level top of the pass between Eskdale and Great Langdale, but a few yards to the south is a jewel of a little tarn, nestled below steep rocks on the way to Crinkle Crags, and with a view of distant fells between them.
Grid Reference of centre: NY 247 060
How to Reach
Three Tarns sits at a crossroads of paths. It can be reached from Great Langdale by following the popular path up The Band from Stool End, or the quieter path up Buscoe Sike.
A clear path leads up to Three Tarns from the Eskdale side, leaving Lingcove Beck below Adam-a-Crag on Crinkle Crags.
Finally the tarn can be reached along the path that links Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags.
Three of our walks visit Three Tarns. We pass the tarn on the way up Bow Fell from Great Langdale, and as we leave the high ground on two walks from Eskdale - Crinkle Crags from Eskdale and the lengthy Esk Pike and Bow Fell route.
No streams flow into the Three Tarns.
Busco Sike flows out of the Three Tarns area, and runs alongside the Band before merging with a number of other streams to form Oxendale Beck, which itself flows into Great Langdale Beck then joins the River Brathay.