A Round of Derwent Water.

Start. Keswick.

Route. Keswick - landing Stages - Friar's Crag - Strandshag Bay - Stable Hill - Calfclose Bay - Ashness Gate - Barrow Bay - Scree Copice - Ladore Wood - Ladore Falls - Manesty Park - Myrtle Bay - Abbot's Bay - Brandelhow Bay - Withersike Bay - Victoria Bay - Otterbield Bay - Hawes End - Derwent Bay Wood - The Park - Fawe Park - Nichol end - Portinscale - Long Bridge - Keswick.

Notes. A walk that's been on the radar for years, always disregarded on a quest for the higher, I found myself in Keswick through default, my darling daughter makes things to sell at craft fairs, actually theyr'e quite good, then again I suppose I'm bias. I volunteered to drive the taxi, with several hours to kill in a mountain paradise I scanned the map sheets, a number of hill walks grabbed my attention, then my gaze shifted to island studded Derwent Water.

Keswick was crowded as I headed towards Friar's Crag, I couldn't wait to leave the place, street market, summer fete and dog show (Scruffts), and epic swim. After battling my way through the throng I reached said crag with it's wonderful views over Derwent Water. My route now followed a good path south, hugging the lake shore, skirting Strandshag Bay then Calfclose Bay before I left the path to wander under low cliffs lining the shore line, with loose shingle under foot I wandered on, stopping at the jetty at Ashness Gate. You may not know the name but I bet you've seen photographs of the place many times, I took my share before continuing along the lake shore. After rounding Barrow Bay the path crossed the valley road, I entered delightful woodland, this woodland ramble deposited me behind the Ladore Hotel where the famous Ladore Falls plunges over a confused mass of boulders to reach the quieter more civilised pastures of the Borrowdale valley. Robert Southey paints a splendid picture of the scene in his poem The Cataract of Ladore, unfortunately it was but a trickle today.

From Ladore I passed behind the hotel to join the path signed Manesty, this duck board path carried me above marshy ground at the southern end of the lake, a splendid footbridge conveyed me over the River Derwent before the path swung north. Along the western edge of Derwent Water I wandered, passing through wonderful mixed woodland with stolen views across the lake. Rounding Abbot's Bay and Brandelhow Bay, then Victoria Bay and Otterbield Bay before reaching Hawes End. At Hawes End a finger-post greeted me, an invitation to Portinscale, the path guided me through woodland and pastoral land all the way to Nichol end where I joined tarmac for the short walk into Portinscale. Wandering through the village I passed The Chalet Tearooms and Restaurant, when the road swung sharp left a discreet arrow on a telegraph pole pointed right, I took it's advice, after a few hundred yards I found myself crossing the River Derwent for the second time, Long Bridge a splendid suspension bridge carried me safely over, once on the opposite bank field paths guided me between wire fencing back to Keswick.

view route map.


Rowling End leading to Causey Pike, viewed from the Landing Stages near Friar's Crag.

The view that inspired John Ruskin, Derwent Water looking to the head of Borrowdale from Friar's Crag.

Rising from the western shore the ever popular Cat Bells, seen from Strandshag Bay.

From Strandshag Bay, views to the Jaws of Borrowdale.

Wonderful views over Derwent Water, taking centre stage, Causey Pike, Barrow and Grisedale Pike.

Looking to Rampsholme Island with the much larger Lord's Island to the left.

Sylvan Lord's Island.

Commemorating 100 years of the National Trust in the Lake District, this split boulder at Broomhill Point.

Wandering along the boulder strewn shore line, looking to the jetty at Ashness Gate and the sylvan shore of Barrow Bay.

Dominating this shot, mighty Skiddaw as seen from Ashness Gate.

The jetty at Ashness Gate.

The Cataract of Ladore, a wonderful poem by Robert Southey wrote for his son, aptly describes Ladore Falls, on a lively day than today if I may presume.

Cat Bells as seen from the muddy shore of Great Bay.

Bleaberry Fell and Ashness Fell seen from the lilly enhanced waters of Myrtle Bay.

My route through Manesty Park.

Abbot's Bay looking to Otter Island.

The dark mass of Blencathra dominates the north eastern skyline, with Walla Crag to the right.

Brandelhow Bay.

Blencathra across Derwent Water.

En-trust, sculpture by John Merrill, marks the work of the National Trust in the Lake District, commissioned to commemorate the centenary of Brandelhow Park the first piece of land purchased by the trust.

Rising above the trees Cat Bells.

The River Derwent south of Portinscale.

Rising ominous above Portinscale, dark dominating the scene Grisedale Pike.

Seen from field paths leading back to Keswick, a wonderful mountain vista the principle top being Causey Pike, it's a pity about the goal posts.

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