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Red Tarn, UK

Red Tarn is a one of the small mountain lakes in the eastern part of the Lake District. It lies on the eastern flanks of Helvellyn, beneath the famous Striding Edge. Lying at an altitute of 718m it is one of the highest not only in the Lake District and but also England.

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Dive Site

Diving Conditions:

GPS: N 54°31.729', W 3°0.564'

Location: Glenridding

Depth: 15m (it was gently sloping off deeper but we didn't follow it down; there is contradictory information of the actual depth of the tarn - probably it gets to ~20-25m) 

Currents: Tide independent
Type of bottom: Silt

Interests: there is the wreck of a mosquito plane from WWII

Water Temperature: ~ 10°C in the summer

Visibility: 4-6m

Altitude: 718m - this is an altitude dive

Dive Description: The appeal of this dive is more the challenge to get there than the actual dive. Few people have dived it but enough to get contradictory information on this dive. There is the wreck of a mosquito aircraft from World War II which had crashed into Striding Edge in the early 1940s. Pieces of this wreckage are meant to lie on the far side of the lake just below Striding Edge scattered around the lakebed between 6 and 10m. However, given the thick layer of silt at the bottom, it is very difficult to identify them. Other sources claim that the plane lies in the middle of the tarn at 35m (despite the lake is said to be only 25m deep). We tried to look for the wrecakge just under the Striding Edge but did not find anything except elbow-deep silt and some trash. We spotted also a couple of fish swimming which could be the Schelly, one of the rarest freshwater fish in UK endemic to only couple of high altitute lakes. There are noticable thermoclines at 3, 7 and 13m. 


Hike Description: 

The hike starts from the Youth Hostel in Glenridding at 148m above sea level. The path gently slopes up to 718m and is about 5km long (see the OS map, path is hihlighted in yellow). 

The climb is challenging, but not extremely strenuos. It took us ~1.5 hrs to hike up and a bit less on the way down. The path is a trail with rocks and steps, meaning that trolleys are of no use. Our all-women party was formed of 2 divers and 2 "sherpas" that kindly helped us carry our kit. You really do need an extra person to help carry the gear for every diver - unless you take the gear up in two rounds. 



There are plenty of places to stay around Lake District. We used these two: 

White Horse Inn Bunk House. It provides standard Bed&Breakfast accommodation as well as dormitory rooms in renovated horse stables. The rates are £10pp/pn in a shared room. There is also access to small, but nice and fully equipped kitchen. It is 20min away from Glenridding.

Swallow Barn £10 pp/pn. No beds just mats on the floor. Available coin-operated showers. Kitchen is equipped only with a kettle. It is about 1 hr drive from Glenridding. 

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