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Small Water Tarn, Mardale, Haweswater Reservoir, Lake District

macuser's picture

Small Water Tarn is one of those little known photography locations in the Lakes, yet it epitomizes everything that is so wonderful about the Lake District; breath taking scenery, impressive water bodies and dramatic weather conditions.

The Tarn is obviously the focal point of this location, thus to capture it in it's entirety a wide angle lens is a must! A scattering of rock formations make interesting foreground subjects, whilst the surrounding fells and an impressive sky create the perfect backdrop. Ensure that you wander around the location before starting to shoot to find the 'best viewpoint' as there are many to be had.

The best time to visit is definitely early morning, preferably just after sunrise, the morning light illuminates the tarn and surrounding fells perfectly! The other advantage of an early morning start is the greater likelihood of visitor free shooting. Whilst this area is less visited that some of the more central fells, it can still be popular on a good day.

This location changes dramatically with the seasons so ensure to visit when it has a snow covering and also in the summer months when it greens up.

Blea Water is another nearby tarn that lies beneath the eastern crags of High Street. It occupies a dramatic setting, situated in an amphitheatre of towering cliffs and the slopes of Riggindale Crag, Pilot Crag and High Street. It's circular shape makes it very photogenic therefore I highly recommend visiting it.

Alternatively the within-walking-distance Riggindale valley is the only place left in England where Golden Eagles nest. An RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) observation post is located in the valley and well worth a visit, a telephoto lens is a must for this.

This location is very remote, therefore take food with you. There is however the Haweswater Hotel within a 5 minute drive (half way down the road running alongside the reservoir), they do serve sandwiches, drinks and warm food. Additionally it is also a great place to stay if you plan to stay in the area.

Remember trekking up into the fells can be dangerous, so ensured that you check the weather report before setting out, wear suitable clothing and take an OS map. 

Location is suitable for the following types of photography

Location

Lake District National Park

Cumbria
United Kingdom

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macuser's picture

The short walk up to the Tarn from the Mardale car park offers many photographic opportunities. Small Water Beck cascades down the valley over a series of waterfalls, these are very photographic, the best of which is about half way up (it has some tress which stick out of the cliff sides into the falls). The dry stone walls crossing the fells are also worth photographing. Therefore make sure you have your camera to hand.