Blea Water

Type; Natural, enlarged by damming
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Location; between Mardale Head and High Street
Accessibility; Access land
Grid Ref; NY 448 107
Elevation; 488m (1600 feet)
Size; 530m x 490m (1722 x 1600 feet)
Area; 17.2 hectares (42.5 acres)
Depth; 63m (207 feet)
Meaning of name; dark blue lake
Alternative name(s);

This, probably the best example of a corrie tarn in Cumbria, is the deepest of all the tarns - its depth is, in fact, only exceeded by the lakes Windermere and Wastwater. The depth has been increased by the addition of a small dam at the outfall to provide water storage for the local area - since the main Haweswater reservoir provides water for further afield.

The setting for Blea Water is certainly dramatic, surrounded on three sides with the towering cliffs and slopes of Riggindale Crag, Piot Crag and the mighty High Street forming an enormous natural amphitheatre. On my first visit, however, I could see little of this. The weather forecast was for broken skies and only thin cloud - so, not surprisingly, I actually had thick cloud hanging low in the corrie. I felt that this added to the drama, however, because the high crags simply faded away into the cloud, giving no clue as to their real height.