Lakes in the Mountains
Just to continue the watery theme of my last post, a lake prominent here. Not by design but by meteorological conditions. One of my ‘Twelve things to do in 2012’ was to climb another of the three peaks. On Easter Monday a friend, who had walked Snowdon with me came up for a couple of days. The plan was to ‘do Scafell’. Well, it didn’t happen. The forecast was for gale force winds and I can confirm that it rained pretty much non stop in the Lake District on Easter Monday. But after someone has come all the way from pancake Warwickshire we had to make an effort to get out among the hills if not actually up one.
Ever hopeful that it may be clear on arrival we headed towards Keswick and parked at the foot of Helvellyn. The top of everything was swathed in mist and the signature Lakeland drizzle was adding to Manchester’s water store by the second. So, up we did not go, but instead walked around the Thirlmere Reservoir.
Crossing the road to the shore, we walked north through a wooded area and the lush poster paint green of what must surely be temperate rain forest. The tiny ferns and moss are exquisite and even if you are unable to walk round the whole of the Lake it is worth taking time to stop off and see some of the local flora. This woodland goes as far north as the dam and a reminder that this is not a natural Lake and has some interesting local history.
Turning the corner at the end of the dam we dropped down to the shoreline and a permissive path along the west shore. Thankful for the technology of water proof clothing I did realise that this was not a walk you should attempt if you have any doubts about doing the full trail. Short of walking across water, there was no short cut home and with the drizzle not abating it was a very soggy sandwich stop.
Once at the south end of the Lake we crossed the A591 into the woodland on the slopes of the Helvellyn range and a little respite from the rain in the more protective coniferous trees. Red Squirrels still live in the area but we didn’t see any. If they had any sense they were snug in their nests hiding from the rain.
The track was quite rough in places and so not a choice for anyone who is not mobile, the full round is over 10 miles and took us 6 hours, but there are at least three easily accessible car parks on the west side. Each of these has well maintained paths leading down to the lake opening it to anyone who is less mobile. On the west return, again a clearly marked route has been opened by the water authority. There is a forestry track quite close to the road but the permissive route is clear to follow and much more pleasant walking. There is a Squirrel reserve at the south end of the lake and a squirrel trail up in the woodland on the east side which would be worth visit without the hike round the lake.
I am not sure how many lakes and tarns there are in the Lake District but if you can’t or simply don’t want to climb up a hill many of them have paths or marked trails around the edges. Looking back at posts I have touched on Rydal, Esthwaite, Grasmere, Tarn Hows all of which can be done as a short walk or incorporated into a longer one.
All you need to take the route is OS Map OL6 as it is so well marked but you will find a a book here.