Discover: Beginners Lake District Photography Location Guide - Blea Tarn

March 20, 2020  •  3 Comments

If you are visiting the Lake District for the first time it can be quite overwhelming to work out where to go as there is an abundance of varied and stunning locations through out the park. As a beginner it can be pretty confusing to know where to go, especially if you are visiting and have very little time to play with, you need to maximise the time you have, especially if you have the family in tow. So thats were I can help out. I've been spending the last 4-5 years exploring the area and over that time I've developed a great understanding of the Lake District. So I've decided to put together a little beginners guide to some of the best Lake District photography locations to get your teeth into. Once you've visited these locations, it can give you a great base to work from and slowly you will start to build up a greater knowledge of the surrounding areas and can extend your exploration further. The locations I have chosen are very accessible but have a lot to work with in a relatively small area and of course they are absolutely stunning.

Blea Tarn - the Jewel in the eye of the Lake District: Grid Reference NY 2930 0442 (National Trust Car Park)

Blea Tarn  (1 of 1)Blea Tarn (1 of 1)

No trip to the Lake District is complete without a visit to the utterly stunning Blea Tarn. Nestled in between the beautiful Little and Great Langdale Valleys, Blea Tarn remains one of the most popular locations for both photographers and lovers of the outdoors. It probably boasts one of the most recognisable views in the Lake District -  looking over the tarn towards the Langdale Pikes. Langdale means 'Long Valley' in Old Norse and it certainly lives up to its name with Great Langdale stretching around 6 miles from Skelwith Bridge all the way up Dungeon Ghyll and Mickleden Valley. Blea Tarn sits in an elevated position between the head of both valleys and as a result makes it a superb view point for the impressive Langdale Pikes and surrounding fells. If you have ever looked at pictures you would be forgiven in thinking that it was quite difficult to access, but it is In fact a doddle with a National Trust Carpark conveniently situated across the road and is only a short 5 minute walk from the carpark down to the tarn itself. Blea Tarn is around 7 miles from the town of Ambleside and the Village of Coniston. You can get to the tarn via Great Langdale or Little Langdale. Personally I prefer the route through Little Langdale as if you are heading towards Wrynose Pass, as the road up to the tarn from Great Langdale, while short, is extremely narrow, steep and windy.

Once you have safely made your way to the Carpark, you are then in an absolute Photography paradise. The obvious choice is head down to the tarn shoreline, here you can get the classic view of the Langdale Pikes (Pike O'Stickle, Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark) reflected in the tarn. There are plenty of rocks in the water for foreground interest, as well as a nice sloping fence. There is a bank of trees to the left and they also make for good interest in your image, especially in Autumn with the fantastic colours. Its not always flat calm, so make sure to pack your filters and practise some long exposures. Once you have explored the shoreline, you then have the luxury of either heading a little further around the tarn or heading up to some of the fells. My personal favourite is Birk Knott, a small hill on the back end of Lingmoor Fell (which is the large fell on your right as we look toward the Pikes). When coming out of the carpark turn left and head over the cattle grid, you will see a path on your left, start heading up the path and after about 10-15 minutes you gain enough height to get a superb view over the tarn towards the head of Great Langdale, with stunning views of Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and of course the Langdale Pikes. 

The view from Birk Knott looking over Blea Tarn towards Great Langdale is one of my favorite in the Lake District: 

Langdale LightLangdale LightA trip up to one of my favourite Lake District photography locations........Birk Knott. Birk Knott is a small hill which is situated on the back end of Lingmoor Fell, Great Langdale. It has the most amazing view over Blea Tarn and towards the awesome Langdale Pikes. I was stood in gale force winds for well over an hour waiting for the light to come. Luckily after about and hour and a half the light broke the cloud and washed through the valley, 30 seconds later it was gone.

If you fancy stretching the legs a little more then you can take a hike up either Lingmoor Fell or Side Pike. Personally I would recommend Side Pike as for a short 10-15 minute steep walk you get the most stunning views of the head of Great Langdale and into the Mickleden Valley. Side Pike is the little 'nose' shaped fell at the end of the tarn and can be accessed at the cattle grid at the top of the road which leads town to Great Langdale, you will see a sign post for the fell. There is the odd small layby to park, other wise you can park at National Trust car park and make the 15 minute walk around the tarn to the foot of the Fell. The views are tremendous and for a small fell it has so much going on with bags of foreground interest, with old stone walls, fences, trees and it's also a hot bed for heather as well. Lingmoor is another great fell to climb, but requires a little more leg work if you want to get to the summit. Having said that some of the better views are pretty accessible on the lower flanks of the fell. One of my favourite shots is using the old stone wall which runs down the fellside all the way to Side Pike and leads you in to that sumptuous view. There are many was to access Lingmoor but for a quick short ascent to get to the wall (Like in my image below) you take the path from below Side Pike and climb up inbetween Lingmoor and Side Pike. Its around a 20 minute walk up to the wall, then just follow it along until you get a view you like. 

The View over Great Langdale from Side Pike: 

First Light on the Langdale PikesFirst Light on the Langdale PikesAnother location I really enjoy visiting is Side Pike. For very little effort you can get to a truly stunning vantage point, one way you have the Langdale Pikes and head of Great Langdale and the other you have the view over Blea Tarn towards Wetherlam and the Coniston Fells. Side Pike not only offers splendid views but plenty of foreground interest to keep any tog happy, from dry stone walls, rocks, old fences to lone trees. I don't know of many places that you can get all this from a short walk. This short taken as the sunrise, with the morning sun warming the Langdale Pikes.

The view from the lower flanks of Lingoor Fell looking towards Side Pike and the Langdale Pikes beyond.

Langdale Pikes from Lingmoor FellLangdale Pikes from Lingmoor FellMorning light over the Langdale Pikes, Side Pike and the head of Great Langdale from the flanks of Lingmoor Fell. Not many finer views in the Lake District in my opinion.

You could easily spend a couple of days exploring this area and never get bored. It has so much to offer both around the tarn and surrounding fells, I could have added more places, but I think this is an excellent starting point and should keep you occupied when you next get chance to visit. I will start doing as many of these little Lake District Photography guides as I can and hopefully it will help you when you are heading out with your camera. 



Tim Wells(non-registered)
The Western Lakes are a hidden gem. We hired a camper from Carlisle Campers ( and explored for 10 days. The quiet side of the lakes allows you to take scenic pictures without too many people to get in shot. We visited the shores of Wastwater, Muncaster Castle and the miniature railway called the L'all Ratty which was fantastic and took us through great scenery. We took the railway to the end at Boot where we visited some of the local pubs. Ravenglass is also a a beautiful seaside town -perfect for some beautiful shots - especially when the tide is out. Touring by campervan is really a great way to go and gives you a lot of flexibility and ability to wait for the best shots. We hope others have such a great trip as we did.
livecareer reviews(non-registered)
If you have any desire to get photographs taken of your family, it tends to be good to expertly do this. In the event that you get an expert photographic artist to take photographs of your infant, they will actually want to catch every one of the sweet subtleties like their little hands and feet, their fluffy little heads and charming countenances.
Brooke Marsh(non-registered)
If you are new to landscape photography and looking for a place to start I would highly recommend the Lake District. The Lake District national park has it all, from high mountain passes to crystal clear lakes and rivers, rolling hills and towering peaks. With rolling hills and mountains, lakes and waterfalls, rivers and forests, it’s perfect for landscape photography. You should also some templates from source to use them for your photos. Overall, it is going to be so exciting for you.
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