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Red Tarn, UK

July 2014

The Lake District is one of the most popular and prettiest national parks in the UK. It offers beautiful views of craggy hilltops  and glittering lakes. 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. Appart from the challenge of getting to this remote lake with SCUBA gear, it is also hidding a WWII aircraft that crashed into it in 1940 and is the main motivation for those that attempt it.

It actually took us two attempts to dive the Red Tarn. But the challenge to be the first women (as far as we know) to dive this lake was too tempting. Our first attempt was in November 2013. There are multiple paths leading to the tarn, and unfortunatelly by taking one wrong turn we took the longest, but also the steepest one of all. It was a very scenic hike, with nice views of the lakes, but not exactly when you are carrying 30kg worth of equipment on your back. We definitely got lot of attention on the path from other hikers and were called KEEN, MAD and ECCENTRIC by different people stopping to chat with us. Eventualy after hiking 7km we decided to turn and go back as the weather was turning and we did not want to risk being stuck. 

Our second attempt was in July 2014. Summer days are longer allowing enough time for the hike, dive and compulsory recovery after the dive, as well as generally offer better weather conditions. On this second attemp we had one more friend willing to help us carry the equipment, so we were each about 10kg lighter. Also, we made sure this time we take the shortest path, only about 5km long to reach the tarn. Hiking up was quite demanding, but not as traumatizing as our first attempt and actually took less time then expected. 

The dive itself was not very exciting, there is not much to see in the lake. Our attempt to find the bits of mosquito plane wreck was abandoned quite quickly. The bottom is covered in a very thick layer of silt, about an elbow deep if you try touching it, therefore it is impossible to distinguish rocks from bits of engine that are supposed to lie somewhere around, even more so without proper coordinates. Nevertheless we were happy to tick the box by diving the Red Tarn and took at least a memorial selfie! 

After the dive we have placed another underwater geocache. Well, sort of underwater, as this one is accesible to non-divers as well! While waiting for our kit to dry in the sun we had a little picnic and then headed back down. Journey down the hill was quite easy and quick. All in all it was quite fun experience and challenge.

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