Where is this walk?

Styhead and Sprinkling Tarn

September 18, 2019

A walk which goes in to the heart of the high mountains of the rugged Lake District without climbing them. Styhead and Sprinkling Tarn are the highlights but the scenery is spectacular throughout.

The Walk

I think it may be considered cruelty in this day and age but one of our past family entertainments was to picnic and then take a dip in one of the deep pools of Styhead Beck just above Seathwaite. I still recall being unable to breath as I jumped in to the icy cold, crystal clear depths and every time I pass I now cringe inwardly at the memory. Oddly I have never seen anyone else in the water since.

However there is little doubt that it is a beautiful stretch of water. The cold waters create lovely colours all the way up the twin valleys at the end of Borrowdale. Styhead and Sprinkling Tarn lie at the head of each gill; both idyllic stretches of still water surrounded by the dramatic rock faces of Great Gable and Great End respectively. Sprinkling Tarn has more character whilst Styhead Tarn is more famous, and certainly more visited, but combined they make a lovely circular walk through the heart of the highest and most rugged fells of the Lake District.


One possibility is for the stronger and keener walkers to strike out for the summits whilst others take the more leisurely stroll outlined above. Scafell Pike via the corridor route includes Styhead and Sprinkling Tarn.

Styhead and Sprinkling Tarn is one of my favourite 25 walks in the Lake District.

Navigation Tips at Sprinkling Tarn

The path continues beyond Sprinkling Tarn for 400 metres before the track to Ruddy Gill cuts down to the stream on your left and joins Grains Gill.

  • Carole Elvidge says:

    Walked this route today. Loads of stops for breath-taking scenery in October sunshine. Took 5 hours but you must stop and look and paddle and take photos and absorb the magic and feel like an ant. Truly awesome walk.

  • Stuart Shillito says:

    We did this walk in April 2018, absolutely stunning!

  • Sarah says:

    Hi! This walk looks fab. How long does the whole route take? 🙂

    • Jonathan says:

      Depends how quickly you walk and how much you stop! Its a great walk in lovely scenery, just set off in good time and dont set a return time. Enjoy it.

  • Fraser says:

    Did this walk in the mid summer of 2015. My first ever lake district experience, absolutely lovely views and being an aviation enthusiast myself the Apache flying very low above us on our decent was incredible! We did the route the other way round so going up to Sprinkling Tarn first then across to Styhead Tarn. Would recommend to any beginner walkers as it was tough but enjoyable going over little streams and having a view of Scarfell’s peak above you! 100% would do again. Our dog also completed the walk (but not without a dip in the water)!

  • MarkH says:

    Did almost exactly this walk today! Just a couple of variations – ascent via the Taylor Gill Force path is interesting with a bit of a scramble (not as hard as it looks!). If you have the time a quick detour from Sprinkling Tarn to the Wainwright summit of Seathwaite Fell is worth it for the superb view right down Borrowdale to Skiddaw.

  • Toby Rees says:

    We did this yesterday (April 4th ’15) as a group of 15. We headed up to Sprinkling tarn first to get the climb over for the kids as soon as possible and enjoyed the views and walk back down. 11:00am to 16:30pm with plenty of stops. A super walk all round with great views of the big peaks.

  • David says:

    Just done it today incredible views well worth the effort

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