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Copyright 2004
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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.

Catbells was the first fell climbed by many visitors to the Lakes, the views across the Derwent Water from the road can only be improved by rising up the Fell side of Catbells. This route is rather steep and easier access is possible from either the north or south ends of the lake, there being a boat landing at both ends steamer can pick up walkers. Photography by Mike Kipling - All Rights Reserved

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.

The stone is a huge cubic lump of volcanic rock standing on an edge, weighing in at over 2,000 tonnes is a short walk from a roadside car park.

During the end of the 1700's a rich eccentric resident of Keswick called King Pocky (Joseph Pocklington) built a Chapel  and erected a Druid's monolith next to the stone, he also cut a hole in the base through which to shake hands with visitors.

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 House 

Kitchen Tea Shop Open

Tel:  01900 824 805

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.

The town is a busy agricultural centre especially on Market days and is the home of Jennings Brewery around which there are tours daily.

The Lakeland Sheep & Wool Centre gives a feel of life as a sheep farmer on the fells year round, with live demonstrations twice daily.

Leaving Cockermouth down the Vale of Lorton to Low Lorton where the Whinfell Campsite offers quiet well serviced pitches for all. The Loweswater turn off at Crummock Water is only a few miles south down the valley should you wish to alter your return route back over Honister Pass.

Our route rises through High Lorton over Whinlatter Pass and Forest where the New Visitors Centre is now open with a direct Web Cam on the Osprey Nest during the summer months.

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.

 Then on to Braithwaite near Thornthwaite, where the Thwaite Howe Country House Hotel offers Quality Accommodation with breathtaking views of Skiddaw across the Derwent Valley.

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

Northwest & Coast Lakeside Hotels Guest Houses Country Cottages Parkland Camps  
Southwest & Furness Fell Top Hotels Guest Houses Country Cottages Parkland Camps  

 

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