Derwent Water, North Lakes

Derwent 6

Derwent Water is one of the most popular of the Lake District National Park’s attractions. On the edge of the small but busy town of Keswick – a Mecca for walkers and visitors to the North Lakes region of Cumbria – Derwent Water pulls in thousands of visitors all year round.I have to confess, it’s not one of my favourite Lakeland destinations precisely because it’s so touristy. Far from being an idyllic country town, Keswick (in my experience) can become very crowded and doesn’t quite seem to have enough facilities. I know that mine is a minority view and that many people love both keswick and Derwent Water. I like it too…. I just like other lakes and Lakeland towns more.

Regular readers will know that I don’t drive, so Keswick is bit of a trek for me: a train to Penrith (that’s the easy bit) followed by an hour long excursion on a bus which runs once every couple of hours. Last time I went on my own I decided I would not return because of the crowds, struggling to find somewhere to eat and (mainly) a lot of time wasted waiting for buses. However, when a friend suggested a drive I was glad to accept. Being driven out for the day is a luxury for me, especially when it’s to a location not easily accessible by public transport.

Derwent 2

Derwent 4

Derwent Water is three miles long, one mile wide and 72 feet deep, so not one of the largest bodies of water in the region. It is fed by the River Derwent and above it rise the peaks of Skiddaw and Cat Bells, both popular with walkers. Walking around Keswick, almost every other person looks like they are kitted-up and bound for a hike. Cat Bells in particular is popular as at a mere 451 metres it is considered an easier climb for the non-hardcore walker. Being a cat person, I just like its name which is believed to be a distortion of Cat Bields home of the wild cat. I don’t know if there are still any wild cats living up there – I doubt it – but there have been, sadly, a number of lost dogs over the years. When I last visited a couple of years ago I saw appeal posters all over the area for two different dogs which had gone missing during walks. I can’t understand why people don’t take better care of their dogs in potentially hazardous environments. Thankfully, one of the dogs was found by a rescue team funded through a social media appeal; I remember reading about it shortly after. Brilliant news! Not all outcomes are so good.

Derwent 5

There were dogs aplenty frolicking at the water’s edge on this occasion, or swimming out eagerly to retrieve a skimmed branch or ball, bringing it back like a top prize to smiles and praise, eagerly waiting for it to be thrown again.

Keswick dogs

Further down the lake there were quieter spots to be found away from the crowds at the north end near to the town.

Derwent 7

Like the bigger lakes of Windermere and Ullswater, Derwent Water also runs pleasure cruises but on much smaller vessels. It was far too warm to be crammed like sardines inside one of the launch boats, though I would have liked to see more of the islands. I may try to persuade my chauffeur to take me back in winter.

Derwent 3

Derwent 9

Instead, we watched from the bank as the voyagers sailed off on calm water. Shaded by overhanging branches, we sat for another hour or so enjoying the gentle melodic ebb and flow of Keswick’s lake and watched the dazzling sunlight dancing on its surface.

9 thoughts on “Derwent Water, North Lakes

  1. Eunice July 22, 2019 / 10:43 pm

    It sounds like you’re very much like me in not liking places that are too touristy – I prefer quieter places and those a bit off the beaten track. I thought about going to Keswick on my recent Cumbrian holiday as I was staying within a relatively short distance of it and would have liked to see Derwent Water, however I decided against it and went to Loweswater instead – I walked all round the lake and didn’t see a single person 🙂 Incidentally, I noticed on your blog you went to Sunderland Point a while ago – I went twice in May and got some great photos, it’s a lovely little place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the Beautiful North July 22, 2019 / 10:59 pm

      I read your Sunderland post. It was very interesting and informative with some great photos. It’s a fascinating place. To be honest, I would probably not have gone to Keswick/ Derwent Water again due to the faff involved in getting there, but when friends or family invite me to join them on a car ride I often accept, as I have only to sit back and enjoy. 😁


  2. nanacathy2 July 23, 2019 / 6:18 am

    We went in April one year, stayed in a little flat and it was just perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ms6282 July 23, 2019 / 9:39 am

    Keswick is a “honeypot” so is usually pretty crowded and, you’re right about it being difficult to find somewhere to eat – you have to book in advance to ensure a table in many places, which isn’t always practicable.
    The views around the lake are fantastic, though and theres a good path around most of it which provides opportunities for some relatively easy walks – which you can combine with a ride on the launch.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. shazza July 23, 2019 / 2:10 pm

    I do like Keswick and I must admit Wil and I do go quite a lot. Keswick was a factor in where we bought a caravan ( as well as cost) , we have had to settle for 40 minutes drive away near Penrith. Ullswater is our local lake or perhaps the even quieter Haweswater. I would have difficulty getting there without my chauffer though! I agree Keswick can be busy, but it’s way quieter than Bowness on Windermere. Honest. Glad you had a nice outing. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the Beautiful North July 23, 2019 / 2:45 pm

      You are so lucky to have that holiday home. It’s wonderful and made me laugh that you have a ‘local lake’. 😁 You’re spoiled for choice! 😁 You’re right – the car makes all the difference. Rural bus services are basic, despite the huge popularity of area. I agree that Bowness/Windermere is also crowded but I don’t seem to notice it as much because the town, like the lake, is bigger. I’ve never had a problem trying to cross a road in Bowness and I’ve always been able to find somewhere to eat. Another factor might be that visitors to Windermere are not concentrated only in Bowness but go to Ambleside and Lakeside as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shazza July 23, 2019 / 3:57 pm

        That’s true. I do have a soft spot for Ambleside. I feel very fortunate to have a holiday home now. I’ve also started a part time job so back to the working world for me. Luckily it’s on week days so lots of time for exploring. X

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Cora Morris July 24, 2019 / 2:36 pm

    Thanks very much for your views, it is a part of the world which has played a large part in my life. I look forward to returning in the near future but, for the moment, I will enjoy your photos… x

    Liked by 1 person

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