Styhead Tarn


Styhead Tarn is one of my favourite tarns, largely because of its lovely location, below the busy Sty Head pass, and overlooked by the rocky slopes of Great Gable and Seathwaite Fell and the north-western ridge of Great End.

The tarn itself is roughly square in shape. To the south there is a flat area often used by wild campers, while the east shore is quieter and pathless. The way the slopes of Seathwaite jut into the valley means that there isn't much of a view down into Borrowdale from the tarn itself, giving it a very wild and rugged feel, with nothing but the wild slopes of the high fells in site.

Sty Head itself is one of the busier walker's passes, with routes leading up to Esk Hause, Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route, Great Gable and the Gable Traverse. As a result the top of the pass is something of a maze of paths, and can be somewhat confusing in the fog. On a clear day there are fewer problems, although it is possible to miss the start of the Corridor Route.


Grid Reference of centre: NY 221 098
Altitude: 1,430ft


How to Reach

Styhead Tarn is one of the easier tarns to reach, sitting on the busy path from Borrowdale to Sty Head. Leave the road at Seathwaite, follow the path south to Stockley Bridge, cross the bridge and then head west up the valley of Styhead Gill.

If coming from Wasdale the best route follows the valley bottom path that curves around Spouthead Gill to reach Sty head from the south.


Our ascent of Glaramara from Borrowdale passes Styhead Tarn. Our ascent of Great Gable up the north-west ridge comes down above Styhead Tarn - although it doesn't visit the tarn, it does offer excellent views of it.


The biggest stream that flows into Styhead Tarn flows north-west out of Sprinkling Tarn, and runs into the south-eastern corner of Styhead Tarn.

Two short becks run into the tarn from the west, after rising on Great Gable. Finally a fourth beck rises just below Sty Head and flows north into the tarn.


Styhead Gill flows north out of Styhead Tarn, merging with Grains Gill to form the River Derwent.

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