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Last modified: March 02, 2004
Keswick - Borrowdale - Buttermere - Cockermouth
A tour of the Western Lakes start at Keswick the Tourism Centre of Northern Lakeland, accessed via to A66 Highway from Penrith and located at the head of one of the most picturesque Lakes Derwent Water.
Starting at Portinscale a few miles west of Keswick on the A66 we approach the Newlands Valley and take the hillside road south to Grange down the west side of Derwent Water, clinging to the side of Catbells which may have been view over the lake from the Boat landing at Keswick.
Grange is a quaint village with refreshments available the double arch bridge being featured on many calendars of Cumbria. Continuing south the road enters Borrowdale and follow the river Derwent to Seatoller passing the Bowder Stone along the way.
At the top of Borrowdale is Seathwaite one of the wettest places in the UK with over 130 inches of rain each year, lead graphite was mined here Centuries ago and supplied the Pencil Factory in Keswick which still continues manufacturing with imported graphite.
From Seatoller the road rises steeply up Honister Pass from where captivating views back into Borrowdale are available, at the top Youth Hostel and a car park alongside the Honister Slate Mine who offer interesting guided tours into the mine.
This location is ideal for the novice walker to access the high fell with minimal pain, both Haystacks and Great Gable are accessible from this location. The view forward don into Buttermere is worth a moment before starting the decent, there being many locations to stop and picnic while absorbing the scenery.
Buttermere village is a busy place on a sunny day, located between Buttermere Lake and Crummock Water both of which have a foot path all around. Buttermere being the shorter, Crummock Water has Scale Force on the far side a high water spout which is spectacular after rain.
At this point the tour can be shortened by turning right and rising steeply over Newlands Pass and down the valley back to Portinscale, an attractive drive with views at the top. Otherwise we continue north along the side of Crummock Water to the bottom of Lorton Vale, where we double back on the road along side Loweswater to Lamplugh and south to Croasdale.
Ennerdale water is the most westerly and quietest lake in Cumbria due to being only accessible on foot, 2.5 miles long it is overlooked by 'Pillar' which is almost 3,00o feet high and a challenge to rock climbers. At Ennerdale Bridge we turn north again through Kirkland, Ullock to Dean a moorland village where the 13th Century Church is decorated with gargoyles.
Further north through Greysouthen we join the A66 Keswick road and turn east to Cockermouth where Irton House Farm offers Self Catering Accommodation on a Working Sheep Farm nearby at Isel. Those wanting the best of both worlds can stay on Crookhurst Farm on the coast at Allonby near Maryport with panoramic views across the Solway Firth to the Scottish Coast of Galloway.
Wordsworth shares Cockermouth as his home with Fletcher Christian who sailed on HMS Bounty and lead the famous mutiny in the South Pacific, Wordsworth House located on the Main Street where Home Made Tea and Cakes are available in the Kitchen.
We drop down through the trees of Whinlatter stopping to take in the view of Bassenthwaite Lake from the vantage point by the road, the lake has a strange history in horse racing. John Pocklington from Keswick created the race where the entrants in the race were attached to a floating pontoon and towed to the centre of the lake, the horses were released and the winner was the first horse to reach the shore.
We then join the A66 Highway from Cockermouth for the few miles past Portinscale back to Keswick in time to Dine and join others at the Theatre by the Lake in the evening.
Photos and Maps are to follow
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