Despite my plan to go to Buttermere yesterday, I woke up this morning and decided to go to Haweswater Resevoir instead, for two reasons, most importantly I checked the weather forecast and it predicted a dry morning for east Cumbria and wet for west and second because I fancied the longer walk. In the end I made a good decision.
I parked up on the east shore of the ‘lake’ just past the dam at a small cutting by the road, next to a sign proclaiming the joys of a walk created by United Utilities following the lake shore. The weather was good and I was full of beans so I decided to follow it and what an obstacle course it turned out to be. There were dozens of obstructions on the path, mostly fallen trees and branches, but also sections of the path that had eroded or streams that were running wild. The lake shore is bordered by a high wall so I just had to soldier on for a couple of miles until there was an exit near to the Haweswater Hotel and I happily scrambled up the overgrown track back to the road. The gate at the top was locked but once I’d climbed over it I realises my mistake, this gate had a sign on it saying that the lake side path was closed until further notice!
I switched to the road which proved to be a joy to walk, close to the lake it still had stunning views and for the remaining 2/3 of the east shore I only saw one car, walking on the road made the first half of the walk easy and I arrived at the car park at the southern tip of the lake in good condition and decided to attempt the west shore which was longer and looked more of a challenge.
The west shore is a fell path, so there’s plenty of hills to climb, but the paths are mostly crushed rock so it’s moderately easy going. There are a few rough patches, boggy patches and quite a few angry streams to balance your way across but generally it was great fun, with perfect views. The bridges had seen better days, but new bridge building kits had been dropped off ready all along the route. About half way back it started to rain heavily (as predicted) and for a variety of reasons the rain got the better of my gear and so I was a little soggy towards the end of the walk. I learned a few lessons, it’s a good idea to carry a small towel to dry my hands so I can get them into tight fitting gloves and dry things like my iPhone or its charger. Always have a few waterproof bags to stuff wet hats and gloves in and have a clear plastic bag for my iPhone so I can use it in the rain.
When I got to the northern end of the lake, where the dam is, (near the village) I got lost and couldn’t find any sign of the footpath back to the east shore (I was later told by the barman at the hotel that I should have followed the sign for the ‘coast to coast’ path) so I ignored all the United Utilities ‘private road’ signs and followed a promising track which led right down to the base of the dam, the sight of the water flowing down from hundreds of feet above me was awesome. No one came rushing out to stop me so I carried on past the site offices and up a fairytale moss covered road, climbed a fence and a gate and was back on the road and within minutes stripping out of my waterproofs in the car.
Greatly in need of the comforts of ‘home’ I popped down the road to the Haweswater Hotel and settled into the bar, next to an open fire, with perfect views of the lake and wifi and caught up on my reading while I dried out and warmed up. Amazingly I didn’t see a single person on the walk so it was a bit lonely (not really) and I wondered what they knew that I didn’t so it was especially nice to meet the friendly staff at the hotel, I did see quite a few deer though and lots of Great Tits feeding.
Back at the apartment all my gear is now washed and drying on the two radiators, I’ve got bread and bacon baking in the oven and I’m making plans for tomorrow! Unfortunately I started with a cold yesterday, which is quite bad now so tomorrow will be an easy walk.
All the pictures for this walk can be found here