Derwent Isle is the island just beyond the landing stages at Keswick, though this view of it is taken from Crow Park. The Island is a strange place. It has been owned by The Church, The King, German Miners and a rich family.
These days it's owned by the National Trust and on it is a house. You can pay to live in this house as a tennant, though this is not exactly cheap and the rules of tennancy are quite complicated. For instance, the house must always be occupied. If you go away (on holiday) you must arrange for someone to be in the house while you are away. And so on.
It's open to the public only on certain days of the year. Check with the National Trust.
OK, so it's not Stonehange, but Castlerigg Stone Circle, near Keswick, is impressive for its location more than its scale. The views of the surrounding hills are fantastic and the circle does have a kind of "mystic" feel about it, especially in early evening.
The circle is from about 3000BC.
jennings is the beer of Cumbria and is brewed just a few miles from Derwentwater at Cockermouth. Their beers are very much in the traditional English style and they do some seasonal speciality beers as well as their "standard" range. Their beers are probably my favourites of all English beers and so Derwentwater, and especially Keswick, is a great place to be because there are plenty of Jennings pubs here.
Keswick is the main town Derwentwater, in fact it's the main town in this part of Lakeland, and my favourite town in the whole of the lakes.
It has an attractive town centre; several nice parks; pubs, restaurants and hotels; campsites; transport links; mueums; and great walks, straight out of the town.
Like most lakeland towns it can get very busy in the height of summer, but it copes quite well with its visitor numbers, though some pubs can be "standing room only".
More your "standard" English park, this one has flower gardens, a stream with bridges, more formal gardens with benches (popular for fish & chip picnics - the smell of vinegar can cover the smell of the flowers at some times), crazy golf, pitch & put, ice cream stalls...
It's a lovely little park, and you'd walk through it on the way from keswick centre to the lake and/or Crow Park.
Crow Park Again
The other good thing about Crow Park, apart from the views and the light at dusk, is that it's huge, and there's loads of room to run around. This is especially important when you've got kids with you. They can go mad, and there's no mountain to fall of and no (deep) lake to fall into (it slopes really gently here). And of course the aforementioned sheep, lambs, ducks and geese...
Crow Park is actually more of a field than a park. In fact sheep & cows graze in here for the most part. It's a big grassy bank that slopes gently down towards the lake, quite near to the Keswick boat landings.
It's a superb place to go and wait for the sun to go down. The light on the hills is magical, especially past the other end of the lake, on Castle Crag.
I can sit here for ages. The lambs are really cute too if you're here the right time of year, and there's always the ducks and geese to feed on the lakeshore.
Crosthwaite is on the edge of Keswick, you'd pass by it as you walk from Keswick to Portinscale.
Canon Rawnsley, the founder of the National Trust and Robert Southey the Poet Laureate are both buried in the churchyard, along with some other prominent people.
The church is quite pretty, in a "solid" sort of way, and is nicely set against the backdrop of hills. It's a pity it's a bit hemmed in by roads though.
There's not a great deal at Portinscale; there's a pub, a cafe, a "cute" suspension bridge over the river and some hotels. For us the best thing in Portinscale is one of these hotels, The Derwentwater. We've stayed there a few times in their self catering apartments which are *very* comfortable and especially cosy in the wintertime.
The hotel is great too, and has a huge conservatory at the back overlooking its garden and right down to the lake. Even now when we're over there but not staying, we'll go and spend a while in the conservatory, having a coffee or afternoon tea, and reading a book. It's lovely.
Stockley Bridge & Sty Head Pass
One of my favourite places in lakeland is Wasdale. You can get there from Borrowdale (=Derwentwater) either by driving "the long way round", via Ennerdale Bridge, which is about 40 miles; driving "the scary way" via the hardnott & wrynose passes, which is just as long and a lot more daunting; or you can walk over Sty Head Pass.
This for me is magical. It like going into the "lost valley of the dinosaurs". You pass some of lakelands highest peaks (Great Gable & Scafell Pike amongst them) on the way and you get from Borrowdale to Wasdale in under 4 miles of walking.
On the way up to Sty Head from Seathwaite (the hamlet you usually start the walk from) you pass Stockley Bridge where it crosses Grains Gill. This has the same name as my wife (Stockley, not Bridge) so it's kinda "special".
Sty Head Pass
It's a bit of a crossroads at the top of Sty Head Pass. Not only is it the main route from Borrowdale to Wasdale, but it's also the route from Langdale to Ennerdale. There's two tarns at the top too, Styhead Tarn & Sprinkling Tarn, nice places for a picnic.
This pic of me was take soooo long ago!
Watendlath to Rosthwaite
This is on the path from Watendlath tarn to Rosthwaite. The path climbs quite steeply up from the tarn before cresting the hill and heading back down into Rosthwaite. That's quite a descent and there are quite a few stone steps. It's not awfully easy on the knees if you have knees like mine (cute but weak). At Rosthswaite there's a pub/hotel and a shop. You can get the bus back to Keswick from there, or cross the road, pick up the River Derwent and follow it back to Grange.
Watendlath is an almost perfect example of an isolated hamlet. The place is now administered by the National Trust and there's always a warden up there in his Land Rover encouraging you to join the Trust.
There's a few farm buildings, one of which doubles as a cafe - with lovely Rock Cakes & Scones.
The book Judith Paris by Hugh Walpole was based around Watendlath and you can buy the book at the teashop too.
Beyond the buildings is a tarn, from which flows the river down to Derwentwater. beyond that there are good walks in the hills. You can get to two other tarns, Blea Tarn 7 Dock tarn, down to Thirlmere (to your left if you look down the length of the tarn from the hamlet) and down into Borrowdale (at Rothswaite) if you go to the right. That's the way we normally descend, and then walk back to Grange and get a boat or bus for the final leg.
Further uphill from Ashness Bridge you come to "Surprise View". This is a viewpoint named in Victorian times because quite simply the view from here is quite a surprise. From a gap in the trees you suddenly get the most wonderful views of the whole of Derwentwater and beyond to Bassenthwaite.
High in the hills above Derwetwater is the hamlet of Watendlath. The walk up to Watendlath and back is one of our favourites. You begin by going up the steep road from the lakeshore until you reach Ashness Bridge. This is a nice little picnic spot by a gushing stream, with great views back down to Derwentwater.
It's amusing to watch big cars negotiate the narrow, arched bridge, with tight turns before and after it. The one & only time I ever drove up to Watendlath I almost demolished this bridge!