#6 & #7: Slew Tarn & Blelham Tarn

3 June. Lovely day for a couple of swims! Took in Slew Tarn and Blelham Tarn today. Parked by Brathay and walked up to Slew Tarn through the caravan site which was a bit weird! There’s a lovely path along the road through Beck Pane Wood with bluebells galore and I even heard a cuckoo. The Tarn was just outside the caravan park, lovely and peaceful. Couldn’t really do an ‘across’ so did a little circuit round the island in the middle – submerged but with some little trees growing out of it. I braved it wetsuit-less and for the first couple of minutes it was REALLY cold, but I did get used to it and enjoyed the swim.
I’d planned to do Mortimere on the way back to the car, but it’s completely surrounded by a barbed wire fence, so I might have to look into access issues there. Made me consider that this could be an issue in other places as well. (Also do I really want to swim in ‘Mortimere’???)
Instead I drove further down the road and parked just outside Outgate. There’s a lovely path from there (would definitely recommend it) down to Blelham Tarn. This is another really beautiful place that I’d never been to before. Part of this challenge is about discovering new places and today felt like a great example of that. It’s very, very marshy all around this tarn so I had to leave my stuff a little way off and just wade towards it. It’s very reedy and rushy all around as well so I had to make my way through that. I couldn’t walk around (fence in the way) so decided to just do a circle again. I thought it would be a gentle slope into the water because of the marshy surround, but no such thing. Not only was it pretty deep at the edge, but the build up of silt on the bottom was so deep that my leg sunk straight into it up to the thigh! This, of course, stirred up loads of gas bubbles… and oh, my dears, the smell! It was such a lovely swim though (wetsuit on this time) and if it hadn’t been getting late I think I might have swum around for a bit longer. I shared the tarn with a cormorant and a heron as well as a pair of unusual-looking ducks and the sun even poked its head out for a few minutes. Felt very calm and tranquil.
Overall a fantastic day, feeling very pleased with myself!

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