Mountain Journeys

Tongue Pot Eskdale – The number 1 Activity in the Lake District


Walking to Tongue Pot Eskdale



Entry point for Tongue Pot Eskdale


Tongue Pot Eskdale 

Over the years I have written numerous blog entries about the Esk Gorge. It is a favourite spot of ours. I still remember the first time we visited. It was with our friend Debbie, who had some previous experience in the gorge. The initial plan for the day had been to go rock climbing, but the day was hot and none of us could be bothered to climb, swimming in cool waters seemed so much more appealing.

So the Esk won and off we went, armed with just very thin shorty wetsuits and a packed lunch.

The approach walk is very straightforward, an almost flat 45 minutes at a leisurely pace and with inspiring scenery the whole time. We arrived at a sheepfold and got into our wetsuits. From here we had a short walk back downstream to reach Tongue Pot. I can’t remember if I jumped in or just swam, but whatever, it was all very nice.

Whilst we could have easily spent an hour or more here, we knew there would be so much more to explore upstream and that’s where the adventure lies for me. So we swam and scrambled our way for what seemed like miles upstream, almost to The Great Moss. Occasionally we would start to feel a chill so would bask on the rocks to re-warm before submerging into the crystal clear waters again.

From our high point we exited onto the East bank of the river, I would recommend this for most exit points as that’s where the best paths are to be found. It’s an easy walk back to the sheepfold and on to the roadside parking. Allow 45 minutes to an hour for this.

This was all well over 10 years ago now. We have since been running activity days to the Esk gorge and introduced hundred’s of people to it, having much fun along the way. The Esk is best experienced with a knowledgeable guide as they know the Do’s and Dont’s, the best scrambles, the best jumps, and you’ll be provided with clean, dry wetsuits to ensure comfort throughout the adventure.

A full and amazing experience can be enjoyed and we’d love to be on that adventure with you. Please check out what we offer with our Esk Package here. 

What we provide to our clients:

5 mm full body wetsuit - this will be clean and dry


Buoyancy aid (conditions dependant)

Group safety equipment to include a shelter and 1st Aid kit

Throw-line / Safety rope

A safe place for any valuables such as car keys

An in-depth knowledge of the gorge in all water levels

Back-tracking a little now. Yesterday whilst in Langdale I was approached by a family looking for Tongue Pot. They thought they were in the correct parking spot for it, but to their disappointment weren’t anywhere near. The weather was not lending itself to a Tongue Pot day. Very heavy rain had meant all rivers were in spate and the Esk would be a dangerous place to swim. The mobile app this family was using wasn’t forthcoming with such vital information and that’s a shame.

I explained where they were and how they could find Tongue Pot, with the advice of waiting for a better day.

These venues are beautiful and for most swimmers being sensible they are fairly harmless. But forward planning is required if a good and safe time is to be had. The water level can rise very quickly and Tongue Pot isn’t a place to venture in times of high water. Getting in is easy, getting out safely can be troublesome.

Then there are some who will be tempted to jump into the water here. Yes there are some safe jumping spots - assuming good jumping technique is applied - but there are also a few big boulders lurking in the pool and these must be avoided. Consider carefully where you will land and how you will exit the pool before attempting the jump.

If Tongue Pot is busy and it frequently is during the summer months. You may be tempted to venture further upstream for some seclusion, and why not. You will find many more wonderful pools to explore. Some offer jumping opportunities, all need care and some advance planning. Remember, the current can be extremely strong in the Esk and being pinned to rocks is no fun. Know how you will exit before committing to a jump. Always have a competent friend on the bank and ready with a throw-line just in case.

Back to Tongue Pot. As a general swimming and sunbathing spot, it’s hard to beat hence its popularity. The solitude further upstream is very nice, but more effort is required to reach these and if following a swimming route some knowledge of flow and currents will be useful even during low flow conditions.

Also consider the many fine pools downstream of Tongue Pot. Oddly these seem to get overlooked by the majority of visitors. Maybe it’s just a tick-list kind of place, but I can honestly say the downstream pools are every bit as good. If you’re with young kids these will be even better as they don’t need to walk so far. 

Included in this blog are a series of photos all showing parts of the Esk gorge. A short explanation is attached to each. 

Notes about the Esk gorge and Eskdale:

Parking - please park respectfully and without blocking entrances or gates. Try to avoid using soft ground.

Litter - this really shouldn’t need a mention but sadly it does. Don’t leave any, this includes banana skins and other foods. We often have to carry out rubbish left by others!

Camping - the signs are abundant and very clear. NO camping around the Esk. There are numerous good campsites in the valley and these offer good facilities at reasonable rates. Fisherground is close by.

Please do not use this as a guide of where is safe to jump/swim/scramble. Your own judgement is needed for that. Pool depth can and does change, always check depth prior to jumping. 

To book an amazing journey through the Esk with us simply click here

Thanks for reading




Swirling white water in Tongue Pot Eskdale



This jump needs care as much of the water is shallow. The pool is upstream of Tongue Pot Eskdale



High water challenge much further up stream. Despite how it may look, this traverse is nice and safe, it's also very difficult - Tongue Pot Eskdale



Same traverse as the photo above. During low water the cascades above can be climbed - Tongue Pot Eskdale



Big airtime on this one. This jump is tricky to reach and requires considerable care - Tongue Pot Eskdale



A trio jump into a swirling pool - Tongue Pot Eskdale



© Copyright 2024. Website by Freshspace.