Following my recent stroll around Buttermere – and keeping a wary eye open for the weather – I decided to enjoy another relatively level walk, this time around Loweswater.
I have often visited this lake but never written about a complete circuit – and the route was well worth while even though it was dull, damp and not a day to inspire photographs.
However, as a naturalist I found lots of interest.
1. From the parking area head downhill to see the entrance track to Loweswater Hall to the right.
Look for a footpath sign leading off to the left. Cross fields, go over a stile and a small footbridge before turning left along a track leading to Hudson Place Farm.
2. Here is a datestone indicating 1741 and here also is a magnificent specimen of a Scots pine. Some have suggested that both the datestone and the pine indicate that the local people may have supported the Roman Catholic Jacobite cause.
This led to the rebellion of 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie was intent upon restoring the Stuart monarchs to the British throne.
This may or may not have been true but some think that Hudson Place was set on the old Drove Road. The presence of Scots pine indicated that here was a place where men and livestock could find rest and food as they journeyed from Scotland to the much more lucrative English markets.
In the days before any deep freeze techniques were available meat had to be used soon after slaughter.
Follow the obvious track with Loweswater seen through trees to the left.
3. Holme Wood, run with the usual National Trust expertise and attention to detail, is a real joy with trees of several species attracting a wide variety of wildlife.
To the left of the track is Holme Bothy with living space, which can be hired from the National Trust.
Continue through the woods but do not rush. Instead, take time to explore the woodland tracks while keeping an eye open for sparrowhawk, jay, tawny owl, chaffinches and, at this time of the year, winter flocks of these finches often including the much rarer bramblings.
4. Emerging from the woodland reach Watergate Farm and follow the wide track to Maggie’s Bridge. Follow the surfaced road and then turn sharp left.
There can be very few areas where names reflect the ancient history more obviously than those covered in this stroll.
Thrushbank and Crabtreebeck look as though they were lifted from the pages of a 19th Century novel.
Thrushes are still found here and the name dates back to at least 1700 and crab apples still grow close to Crabtreebeck which is a small watercourse leading down into Loweswater.
5. As the route passes ever closer to the bank of Loweswater look out for a pinfold on the right.
In the days before tractors and four-wheeled drive vehicles and when there were no thick hedges sheep would often stray.
Each shepherd clipped the ears of his sheep with his own unique pattern and these were known as lugmarks.
Any sheep which had strayed was placed in a secure pinfold and these were regular meeting places where lost sheep could be returned to their owners.
When I was at school in the Lake District in the 1940s I had a friend whose father was a shepherd.
They did not count as 1-2-3-4 but as ‘yan, tan, tethra, methera, pip, casta, raesa, caesa, horna and dick.’ Well this is yan walk, I enjoyed. The road veers left to reach the start point.
How to get there
From Keswick it is best to follow the A66 and then the B5292, which passes through the Whinlatter pass.
This is worth a walk in its own right but is seen at its best in spring and summer.
Then follow the A5289 to Lorton and turn right to reach Loweswater.
There is parking on the old road close to Loweswater Hall.
Distance: 4.5 miles
Time: An easy-going three hours