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Scales Tarn


Scales Tarn can be found below Tarn Crags and Sharp Edge on Blencathra (Saddlebeck). It has a local tradition of being bottomless and its position was thought to be so overshadowed that sunlight would never reach it. Sir Walter Scott mentions this in his poem The Bridal of Triermain (1813).

'King Arthur has ridden from merry Carlisle
When Pentecost was o'er:
He journey'd like errant-knight the while,
And sweetly the summer sun did smile
On mountain, moss, and moor.
Above his solitary track
Rose Glaramara's ridgy back, 
Amid whose yawning gulfs the sun
Cast umber'd radiance red and dun,
Though never sunbeam could discern
The surface of that sable tarn,
In whose black mirror you may spy
The stars, while noontide lights the sky
.

The fifth edition of 'THE Bridal of Triermain OR THE VALE OF SAINT JOHN' (1817), Printed by James Ballantyne and Co gave the following notes:

'Though never sunbeam could discern
The surface of that sable tarn'

The small lake called Scales tarn lies so deeply embosomed in the recesses of the huge mountain called Saddleback more poetically Glaramara is of such great depth and so competely hidden from the sun that it is said its beams never reach it and that the reflection of the stars may be seen at mid day.


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