Keswick, Bassenthwaite, Buttermere and Cockermouth

This year’s trip to The Lake District was a last-minute decision, made partly in an effort to get my teenager away from devices and get outside. Located in an old quarry and surrounded by forest, the caravan at High Close near Bassenthwaite perches over a babbling brook and is otherwise tranquil in the extreme. It has been known for me to watch red squirrels scurrying around outside in the morning as I drink my tea. Better to find a sit spot to do this properly. Maybe you could hike up the hill a bit with the kids to have a look? Being quiet and observant is really important.

Keswick is a honeypot for tourists and stuffed full of kit shops.  From the centre we blasted past the crazy golf, theatre and visitor’s centre at Friar’s Crag. Around the bay there is an extension of a flat jaunt to the millennium stone (circular walk of 2 ¾ miles) created to mark 100 years of the National Trust in the Lake District.


A favourite day out is a circular walk around Buttermere. It is an easy walk and lends itself to doing it slowly. There’s something interest at every turn: designed perfectly for a round walk. Friendly cows, waterfalls, a forest, a little river and bridge, a farm (ice-cream), IMG_0112a tunnel, somewhere to skim stones, sheep in fields, tea shop. It can be busy on high days and holidays but it is beautiful and the lake itself shimmers, twinkles and laps quietly in the background. And you can take your four-legged friend if you want but put it on a lead when you see the polite signs about dogs (even cute fluffy ones) worrying sheep.

Cat Bells is a popular walk with kids but this year we headed up the Langstrath Valley. From Stonethwaite Beck in the Borrowdale valley you go through a basic campsite up the river. At the confluence of two rivers there is an ideal picnic spot and paddling pools. The water is fierce and white in parts. Cute black Herdwicks, (possibly descended from those that Beatrix Potter bred) teeter and scramble alongside the river.

Nearby, the Lodore Falls hotel offers a posh afternoon tea and a gorgeous view of Derwentwater. There’s a special doggy menu and they are currently extending their spa facilities, rooms and restaurants.

On a wet day out (if you’ve already been to the Pencil Museum) why not drop in at the Wordsworth House, the poet’s birthplace in Cockermouth? See where he gained his passion for nature and played with his younger sister Dorothy before they were separated and began their formal education. 

all rights reserved Ruth McIntosh 16/09/2018


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