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Afternoon light, Tarn Hows

Anna Shaw

Westgate on Sea, United Kingdom

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On 8 November 2010 this has had 268 vies, 53 faves and 151 comments.


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Taken with a Nikon D200 Sigma 10-20mm Lens
F20 1/30 ISO 100
7 shots +/-3
Processed in Photomatix Pro
Edited in Photoshop CS4
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It was a wild and stormy day when we were here, but we had a stunning walk around the tarn.

I like this photo particularly as it shows the mood of the sky, and we just catch a glimpse of the mountains behind. If you look closely at the bottom left of the image, you can just see two walkers looking at the lake, giving scale to the rest of the image.

Tarn Hows is an area of the Lake District National Park, containing a picturesque tarn, approximately two miles (3.2 km) northeast of Coniston and about one and a half miles (2.5 km) northwest of Hawkshead.

The Tarn Hows area originally contained three much smaller tarns, Low Tarn, Middle Tarn and High Tarn. Wordsworth’s Guide Through the District of the Lakes (1835 edition) recommends walkers to come this way but passes the tarns without mention.
Until 1862 much of the Tarn Hows area was part of the open common grazing of Hawkshead parish. The remaining enclosed land and many of the local farms and quarries were owned by the Marshall family of Monk Coniston Hall (known as Waterhead House at the time). James Garth Marshall (1802–1873) who was the Member of Parliament for Leeds (1847–1852) and third son of the industrialist John Marshall, gained full possession of all of the land after an enclosure act of 1862 and embarked on a series of landscape improvements in the area including expanding the spruce, larch and pine plantations around the tarns; demolition of the Water Head Inn at Coniston; and the construction of a dam at Low Tarn that created the larger tarn that is there today.
By 1899 Tarn Hows was already an important beauty spot. H.S. Cowper mentions “Tarn Hows, beloved by skaters in winter and picnic parties in summer. Here comes every day at least one charabanc load of sightseers from Ambleside or Windermere”. A wooden boat house that was still standing in the 1950s at the south east corner of the tarn probably dated from this period. In 1913 G.D. Abraham said “Tarn Hows is set wildly among larches and heather slopes, more like a highland lake than the other waters in Lakeland… more suitable for pedestrians than motorists”.
In 1930 the Marshall family sold 4000 acres (16 km²) of their land to Beatrix Heelis of Sawrey (better known as Beatrix Potter) for £15000. She then sold the half of this land containing the tarn to the National Trust and bequeathed the other half to them in her will.

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