Tuesday, 11 September 2012

On Derwentwater

After a tough month work-wise, a few days in the Lake District was a welcome break. We usually stay in a little village, chosen for its walks and homely pub. This time though, we plumped for the 'metropolis' that is Keswick.  We've visited the Lake District often enough not to be put off by gloomy weather forecasts. Armed with sturdy boots, waterproofs and a bottle of suntan cream (well you never know), we were well prepared, whatever the weather.

We left the hilltops to those with a better head for heights, and set off on a walk around Derwentwater. Lake circuits are my favourite, I think, and have the advantage of making it very difficult to get lost. This is an important consideration.

With fabulous views towards Cat Bells and Borrowdale, Derwentwater didn't disappoint. The Lake District is glorious in rain or shine. A friend from Sardinia tried to convince me of this many years ago, and finally I can see her point.  

Apart from the fabulous views, Derwentwater is also noteworthy as the last remaining native habitat of the vendace fish. At one point we did come rather closer than I'd anticipated to the lake's aquatic life, wading through its chilly waters where the path was flooded.

The lake's islands are interesting too. Derwent Island was bought in 1778 by Joseph Pocklington. He built a house there, and a fort, a gothic boathouse and a mock stone circle. Every year he challenged the people of Keswick to attack the island whilst he shot at them with cannons. I can only hope that there weren't too many casualties. St Herbert's Island is said to be the inspiration for Owl Island in Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. In the book Squirrel Nutkin, his brother Twinkleberry and their cousins cross the lake on rafts, using their tails as sails.

As much as I love walking, the highlight was returning to the pub for a pint of beer and a steak pie. Now that's what I call a day well spent.


  1. Sounds lovely Karen. I've spent many happy hours around Keswick. Can't remember its name but there used to be a wonderful shop that sold jewelery and crafts that I could lose half a day in. And many a time I would be on my hands and knees crawling up the vertical Cat Bells only to have some six year old skip merrily past. Happy days. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. The shop's name was Maysons. It came to me in the middle of the night. Is it still there? Had a lovely cafe attached. You've inspired me to plan a trip!

    2. This takes me right back. We used to go on holiday to Keswick a fair bit when I was a child. I remember Derwentwater well (I was scared of the middle of all the lakes which someone somewhere had told me were bottomless - I had fascinated trouble picturing that). I also remember Kendal mint cake which seemed to be a feature of those holidays too!

    3. Glad to have stirred some memories Litlove. Good ones in the main, I hope, although the bottomless lake does sound rather scary!

  2. Denise, I didn't see Maysons, but when I'm with my husband I don't do much shopping! I might just have to go back again.


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