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28 October 2014

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You are in: Cumbria > Features > Nature > Tarn bagging: a new fad on the fells?

Blea Tarn

Blea tarn: a popular bagging

Tarn bagging: a new fad on the fells?

Run your hand in the water, paddle, skinny-dip or skim a stone and you've 'bagged' yourself a tarn. Sounds easy, but can you get around all 2500 of them?

A tarn 'bagger' is the new way of describing a competitive walker who's keen to record how many smaller, more remote lakes they've visited.  The most enthusiastic send evidence of their achievements to John and Anne Nuttall, the authors of one of the most definitive guides to tarns in Cumbria.

The bagging fad began when The Tarns of Lakeland was published, an idea the couple had when they realised not even Wainwright's famous fell guides covered Cumbria's 2500 tarns.

Watch Adam Henson from the BBC's Countryfile bag three tarns with John and Anne Nuttall.

Fell walkers (Mark Richards)

Tarn bagging can mean trekking to remote places.


The couple from Cheshire say they visited all 260 'blue spots' printed on Ordnance Survey maps of the Lake District and now their readers are trying to do the same.

John and Anne say so far no-one has matched their own achievement.

Usually only the most dedicated of walkers take on the challenge of finding tarns as many are hidden away in the mountains.   

Exceptional Beauty

Walkers lacking a competitive streak are still tempted to scramble to lesser known tarns, such as Muncaster, in the hope they'll catch a glimpse of rarer species of birds and wildlife who've settled away from busier lakes.

The tarns are protected from unwanted visitors though. Species, such as the Australian Swamp Stone Crop, which are known to cause problems in some of the lakes, are being targeted by Cumbria Wildlife Trust with regular surveys of the water... but even the trust only manages to 'bag' around 70 tarns a year.

last updated: 11/10/07

You are in: Cumbria > Features > Nature > Tarn bagging: a new fad on the fells?

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