Time to put Loweswater on the map. Hurrah – at last, I made it out with the group, my one and only walk not on my tod. What’s more the weather was fine, even a little sunny, so off we went on our ‘school’ trip to Buttermere and Loweswater.
Our first stop was Buttermere, where we did some sightseeing. Our first port of call was the village church of St.James, set above the village and facing Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks. This unassuming church is charming in its simplicity and has some original features such as an antique organ dating from 1820 and a stone tablet dedicated to Alfred Wainwright positioned just below a window with views to his favourite mountain, Haystacks. From here, we had a short meander to Buttermere lake, before remounting our bus to take us to Loweswater, where our leader recounted the infamous story of the Maid of Buttermere and the Fish Inn. I will leave you to look that up yourself.
The view of Haystacks from the church
This area is slightly off the beaten track with Crummockwater and Buttermere glacial lakes and valley taking pride of place in this section of the Lakes. But it is not a lake or an area to be dismissed easily. Indeed it is featured in an article by the Guardian describing the top 20 lakes in Europe, and beer lovers and those fond of antiquities will enjoy the natural homeliness of the Kirkstile Inn and its Loweswater Gold brew.
The walk starts from this point. Loweswater is slightly higher than Crummockwater at 128m but is only a shallow lake of about 10 metres compared with Crummockwater with depths of 40 metres and Buttermere 20 metres, and it is dammed by terminal moraine at its southeasterly point, where its waters sneak through a small rivulet into Crummockwater. The Loweswater fells of Darling Fell and Low Fell (423 metres) are dissected by a stream feeding into Loweswater from Sourfoot Fell. It is easy to imagine how this ridge continues across to the Isle of Man as these lesser hills bear resemblance to the Snaefell range. As with most of the central fells, this area mostly comprises sedimentary slates of sandstone, grits and mudstones, as does Snaefell.
The Loweswater Fells
We followed the lake footpath to the west of the lake, through Holme Wood and up to Hudson Place, which looks like a farm building and which had its own coat of arms dating to 1741 according to the plaque above the front door. Research shows that it was granted to John Wilkinson in 1910. It is a grade 2 listed building and was a yeoman’s farmhouse.
Hudson Place – courtesy of geograph.org.uk
The path then veers to the left and around the lower northerly edge of Burnbank Fell before climbing and contouring south, reaching the grand height of approximately 300 metres as we passed over the stream. From here, we followed a wall beside the top of the wood, spotting a small anonymous tarn in the distance, which I was not able to capture on film and which we named High Nook Tarn. As we descended we retraced our steps back to the Kirkstile Inn, where we imbibed the traditional Loweswater Gold as people have been doing since Tudor times, though perhaps a different form of liquor in those days, while we awaited our transport.
The Loweswater Fells above, and looking towards Grasmoor and Whiteless Pike below. Photo 3 Grasmoor to the right and Whiteside to the left. The bottom photo shows Melbreak above Crummockwater.
Distance: 7 miles: Ascent 1100 ft.
We then went back to collect the other parties and had a most amusing journey as the bus driver complained endlessly about the lack of driving skills of the tourists on these very narrow roads, and the slow journey enabled me to get this final photo of Melbreak to the right and the Saddle to the left with Scale Force in the dip as the sun began to set.
My final day in the Lakes (13th October] was spent in the Keswick area – in the pouring rain and soggy fields of the river valley. Here are my last photos to say goodbye to the Lakes for now.