Lake District
circular walk
Thirlmere &
Harrop Tarn

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This Harrop Tarn walk explores the plantations and forest roads, once barred to the public that overlook the man made lake of Thirlmere.

Take the minor road running along the western shore of Thirlmere to the car park at the southern end

Follow the path that runs beside with burn down to the lake. Withburn was once known locally as the city because of its important location as a cross roads in the pack-horse routes that covered the Lake district.

Now all that’s left is Withburn chapel, across the lake, built on higher ground than the village which was flooded by the Manchester Corporation’s need for water.

Turn left along the lakeside path until it reaches the road, turn left for a few yards until a style and signpost lead you upwards along the original packhorse route, past Binka stone.

Standing on Binka stone look across the lake towards Helvelyn, continue on, alongside Dob Ghyll, which can be heard more than it can be seen from the path.

Cross the gill at the tarn and follow the path alongside Harrop tarn. The difference between a lake and a tarn, is often thought to be the height above sea level or a matter of size, but the distinction is drawn by vegetation – lake have common reeds and tarn have bottle sedge as their principle plant. Another difference between this tarn and the lake below, there’s a headless ghost occasionally seen close by, while the lake has the ghost of a black dog swimming to and fro.

Soon after the path bears away from the tarn it joins another, take the right hand track, continue to the edge of the wood, when the views open up to the 3.100 feet high mass of Helvelyn.

The lake was formerly known as Leetheswater before the valley was dammed in 1894 to raise the water level by 50 feet.

Most of the land was once owned by a Countess Ossalinsky, a local landowner married to a Russian count, she wanted much more than the £25,000 Manchester corporation offered her as compensation for the 1500 acres, the courts agreed and granted her 70,000.

Follow the path as it winds down to the road, turn right and continue until you cross Dob Ghyll bridge, then join the shore path back to car park and complete this walk.

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Alan Howarth: Corporate Photographer, Corporate Video Producer and Corporate Writer based near Blackpool, Preston & Lancaster, Lancashire in the North West of the UK, I frequently work in Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham and I spend 50% of my time working in London. within the M25, I travel throughout the UK and often work in mainland Europe, with work published throughout the world. As a corporate photographer my portrait images will enhance your marketing and your business, my video production skills can enhance your video email marketing campaigns. Email me now. I'll go anywhere - except war zones.

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