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Bassenthwaite Lake

Hiking around Bassenthwaite Lake

Hiking

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Photo: Biene

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Of all the lakes in the Lake District, none blend waterside strolls, woodland rambles, glorious fell walks and mountain expeditions quite like Bassenthwaite. Nestled in the north west of Lakeland, away from the honeypot regions, walks around Bassenthwaite Lake are quieter than many in Britain’s favourite national park. And they’re all the better for it.

To the south and west, the shapely North Western Fells rise likes green waves; layer after layer of undulating ridgelines beckoning you to adventure. To the east is the mighty, rounded bulk of Skiddaw and its subordinates, the Lake District’s most ancient mountain family.

You can choose to tackle any number of trails amongst the fells or alternatively set out on gentler hikes around Bassenthwaite Lake itself. Explore the forests and woods that cling to the lower slopes, offering gorgeous viewpoints of the northern Lake District, and from which you might even catch sight of Bassenthwaite’s resident ospreys.


Top 20 best walks and hikes around Bassenthwaite Lake

    Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    1
    1
    Intermediate
    02:09
    4.02 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
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    2
    Intermediate
    04:01
    6.87 mi
    1.7 mph
    2,200 ft
    2,200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
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  • 3
    Intermediate
    02:20
    4.74 mi
    2.0 mph
    875 ft
    875 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    4
    Intermediate
    02:56
    5.48 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,325 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    5
    Difficult
    06:05
    10.8 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,875 ft
    2,875 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
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    6
    Intermediate
    02:52
    5.98 mi
    2.1 mph
    925 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    7
    Intermediate
    03:18
    5.20 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,100 ft
    2,100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    8
    Intermediate
    04:04
    6.16 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,525 ft
    2,525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    9
    Intermediate
    01:59
    4.75 mi
    2.4 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    10
    Easy
    00:50
    2.01 mi
    2.4 mph
    50 ft
    50 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    11
    Intermediate
    04:47
    8.43 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,500 ft
    2,500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    12
    Intermediate
    03:09
    5.50 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    13
    Intermediate
    03:00
    6.25 mi
    2.1 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    14
    Easy
    01:42
    3.36 mi
    2.0 mph
    750 ft
    750 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    15
    Easy
    01:19
    2.80 mi
    2.1 mph
    375 ft
    425 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    03:31
    7.74 mi
    2.2 mph
    850 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    17
    Intermediate
    02:29
    3.62 mi
    1.5 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    18
    Easy
    01:20
    1.77 mi
    1.3 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    19
    Intermediate
    02:08
    4.19 mi
    2.0 mph
    950 ft
    950 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    20
    Easy
    01:02
    1.93 mi
    1.9 mph
    525 ft
    500 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View

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More Information

The Lake District’s only lake

Bassenthwaite is the Lake District’s only named lake, the others being meres and waters. Whilst the trails that splay out from the lake are quiet compared to some regions of the national park, the lake itself is compromised by the busy A66 running the length of its western shore. Regardless, with a bit of clever route picking there are some lovely lakeside rambles to be had.

Keswick is a fantastic base for your walks around Bassenthwaite Lake. England’s adventure capital will charm and tempt you. It’s chock-full of gear shops, pubs, cafés and restaurants tailored towards pleasing discerning hikers.

The Skiddaw family

Some of the finest hikes around Bassenthwaite Lake explore the majestic Skiddaw family. Rising to 3,054 feet (931 m), Skiddaw is the fourth-highest mountain in England. On a clear day it offers a staggering panorama from its summit, encompassing a vast swathe of Lakeland, the Isle of Man and the Southern Uplands of Scotland. Hoisted on the shoulders of a family of fells, there are half a dozen ways to its rounded summit: all are strenuous, none are complicated. In full winter conditions Skiddaw becomes the realm of the mountaineer, with the associated skills and equipment a prerequisite.

In the south west of the Skiddaw massif rises Dodd, its bare 1,647-foot (502 m) summit rises above a gown of conifers. Between April and September, Bassenthwaite’s spectacular ospreys can be seen circling high above the lake from designated viewpoints.

The North Western Fells and Whinlatter

Many of the best hiking trails around Bassenthwaite Lake follow the sumptuous, long ridgelines of the North Western Fells. Many of these hills rise from woodland, such as Whinlatter, often cited as England’s only mountain forest. It is a superb place to ramble, with charming trails and startling mountain views. When a cloak of white snow rests on the peaks in winter, this conifer woodland is nothing short of a winter wonderland. It offers a more grown-up alternative to Santa’s Grotto if you’re searching for that ‘Christmassy’ feeling.

A word to the wise: the diminutive fell of Barf snares the unwary with a steep trail that climbs its south east flank, past a white-painted pillar of rock named the Bishop of Barf. This route is a mountain rescue black-spot, as it requires some pretty advanced scrambling that takes many an innocent hiker by surprise.

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