To mark our labradors 8th Birthday this year, I thought I would turn his ‘ Lakes Paddled in’ map, into a blog post. Looking back over the last 8 years, well we’ve certainly spent quite a bit of time in the English Lake District! Though even before Hugo ,we were bagging lakes and tarns with his predecessor Jake. Hugo still has several lakes and countless tarns to discover, as do we. Here are the ones hes doggy paddled in…so far.
Bassenthwaite Lake. At 4 miles long Bassenthwaite is one of the largest lakes in The Lake District and the only body of water actually called a lake. All the others are waters or meres. Ospreys fish in Bassenthwaite and nearby pooch friendly attractions include Dodd Wood, Mirehouse Gardens & Grounds and The Orient Express at Bassenthwaite Lake Station. This beautiful lake is alot quieter than neighboring Derwent water , it’s so nice to visit!
Beacon Tarn. We’ve walked to this pretty tarn twice when staying in nearby Torver near Coniston. Charmingly serene Beacon Tarn is getting more popular with Wild Swimmers and even hosts a yearly naturist Skinny Dip!
Bowscale Tarn. There’s a nice walk up to this Corrie Tarn from the hamlet of Bowscale. It was a popular hike with tourists in Victorian times and the water is said to contain two Immortal Fish, they are mentioned in a poem by William Wordsworth. No fish were spotted on our visit , but Hugo loved his paddles.
Brotherswater. Located at the foot of the Kirkstone Pass, Brotherswater is a small picturesque lake with lily pads. Formerly called Broad Water, the lake was renamed Brotherswater in the 19th century after two brothers drowned there. Here’s a walk found on Miles Without Stiles , a great resource, especially if you have a dog who doesn’t like Stiles. Call in at The Brotherswater Inn for refreshment on the way.
Buttermere. The scenery around Buttermere is particularly stunning and a Lakeshore path takes advantage of the scenic vistas. Nestled amongst several mountin peaks including Haystacks ,Wainwrights favourite fell, Buttermere is owned by the National Trust. The nearby village of Buttermere sells ice cream made from the Ayrshire Cattle farmed in the Buttermere Valley.
Coniston Water. Some of my fondest camping memories are of Wil and I stopping with Jake ( Hugo’s predecessor) and later Hugo at a campsite on the shores of Coniston Water. The campsite had some rampaging tent eating goats , you never knew if yours would be next! Coniston is a grand lake known for both Water Speed Record attempts ( Donald Campbell & Bluebird) and elegant leisurely boat trips on the Victorian Stream Yacht Gondola owned by The National Trust. Writer Arthur Ransome based the Swallows and Amazon’s books around here too.
Derwent water. This is definitely a lake we visited alot ! We especially love the lakeside town of Keswick with all its dog friendly pubs and cafes and attractions including A Puzzling Place and The Pencil Museum. Derwent Water itself has a great 10 Mile Walk around its shores and The Keswick Launch Company provides a hop on and off boat service. You will probably see almost as many dogs here as humans!
Elterwater. There are bodies of water in the Lake District that we have only ever visited once and Elterwater is one of those. However I would love to return as it is such a lovely spot ! Situated in the picturesque Great Langdale Valley this small lake is not far from Windermere and a scenic walk will eventually take you along the banks of the equally pretty River Brathay.
Ennerdale Water. It is a good few years since our last visit to Ennerdale , today the Wild Ennerdale project looks after the lake and the surrounding countryside. It hopes to introduce Beavers and Pine Martins to the wildly rugged terrain. Ennerdale Water is the most Westerly of the lakes and there is a lakeside path that follows the shoreline. Last time we visited Ennerdale, it was to bag a Wainwright Fell below.
Grasmere. Proclaimed by Wordsworth as ” the loveliest spot that man hath ever found ” , the picturesque lake, village and surrounding countryside are indeed an idyllic treat. We were here quite recently and I enjoyed a warming mulled apple drink at Faeryland Tea Gardens on the lakeside. Such a magical little place. Nearby National Trust Allan Bank is one of a very few National Trust places that welcomes doggys indoors.
Haweswater. Although once a lake, Haweswater has been a reservoir since the 1930s, a valley with a village and farms flooded ,so the city folks of Manchester had access to fresh water. Today it is a secluded place with a narrow road that weaves its way down one side and a solitary hotel looking out over the water . We have stayed in the art deco Haweswater Hotel with Hugo twice, a great base for bracing fell walks and red squirrel spotting.
Rydal Water. This small body of water is attached to nearby Grasmere by the River Rothay. Like Grasmere Rydal Water has many associations with William Wordsworth , one of his favourite views was from a rocky outcrop looking out over the lake, known now as Wordsworth’s Seat. Another landmark is Rydal Cave , a man-made cave accessed by stepping stones.
Small Water Tarn. Whilst staying at the Haweswater Hotel , we walked amongst the nearby fells to find Small Water, a tiny peaceful tarn. And what a stunning hike it was. I came across this Old post from 2016 about our walk.
Thirlmere. We have actually only been to Thirlmere in the Winter with Hugo, we definitely need to return in the warmer seasons. The surroundings in crisp white snow were beautiful, however even Hugo thought it was too cold for a swim! Thirlmere is a reservoir created from two smaller lakes ( like Haweswater) and there is a 10 mile circuit around its shores . One for the list!
Ullswater. Of all the lakes, waters, tarns and meres , I guess Ullswater is the one that I feel most connected to. I have close family nearby who moved here when I was still a teenager, so I have spent many days out by the lake. I love the old fashioned Ullswater Steamers that connect the walking routes of the Ullswater Way , a 20 mile loop of its beautiful shoreline. Aira Force Waterfall and the lakeside villages of Pooley Bridge and Glenridding are worth a visit.
Wast Water. At 260 feet deep, Wast Water is the deepest lake in the Lake District. And the deepest lake in England. Surrounded by giant mountain peaks such as Scafell Pike, this glacial lake is located in the remote Wasdale Valley. If you like peace and serenity, the area has that in spades, along with gorgeous scenery. England’s smallest church , St Olaf’s is located at Wasdale Head.
Windermere. It’s the largest lake in the Lake District and I would say the most popular. Windermere is 10 miles long and 1 mile wide, and in the Summer it’s a tourist mecca. I would like to visit this Southern Lakes area more often, but to be honest Windermere gets a bit too crowded for us. Needless to say, there are some nice lakeside towns and villages here, Ambleside is my favourite. Hugo has been on the Windermere Lake Cruise , his ticket read Well Behaved Dog. 😇