Keswick has become my favourite town in Cumbria. It’s just such a pity that I have been ill for most of our week whilst we’re staying here. Even though I have been fiercely battling the germs with lots of trips out of the house and eating loads of lemons, I haven’t really been able to enjoy my time in Keswick due to that groggy, snotty nose feeling.
Keswick is a really quaint and friendly market town in central-northern Lake District. It is surrounded by mountains (Cat Bells, Skiddaw, Lonscale Fell) and no matter where you are in the town you can see their snowy peaks.
It is also home to the river Derwent and the lake of Derwentwater. Surrounded by wooded fells it is designated a place of considerable scenic value by The National Trust and has a number of walks around it.
The Derwentwater walk is a ten mile hike over flat and easy paths around the shores of Derwentwater. There is loads to see, the scenery is stunning and restaurants & cafes are plentiful en-route.
Alternatively The Launch (boat) operates a 50 minute, ‘hop-on hop-off service’ from Keswick and visits seven small marinas around the lake; Nichol End; Hawes End; Low Brandelhow, High Brandelhow, Lodore and Ashness.
Keswick launch was first launched in 1935 by Victor Hodgson & Walter Walker. In the summer months you can hire a range of rowing and motor boats however in the winter, it is only The Launch that is is use – and only on weekends too.
The summer and winter timetables vary a lot, so make sure you check it before going. We decided to go anti-clockwise around the lake, leaving at 10:30am, getting off at Ashness Pier and re-meeting it at Lodore Pier on its clockwise tour at 14:50.
We paid £23.50 for a family ticket as well as £5 for parking.
Winter sun and lots of clouds
There are some days when everything comes together; the temperature; the brightness and colour of the sun, the colour of the sky, the amount of clouds in the sky and this leads to something called perfect photos and happy photographers!
This was one of those days and whilst it was on board one of my favourite lakes here in Cumbria, I am feeling very happy to share these photos with you. I took 155 photos and I’ll try very hard not to share them ALL with you!
Arriving from Penrith
We arrived from the east on the Penrith road and no matter how many times I drive this road, I am never anything but amazed at the sheer beauty of the mountains. The day before we’d had a good sprinkling of snow and those snowy peaks add to their lure.
The view from the car park
You know you’re on to a winner when the view from the car park doesn’t disappoint.
The launch boat
The boat is relatively small and flat with both an indoor and outdoor area. You will need to wrap up warm if you’re visiting in winter and you will need sturdy footwear as some of the piers can be slippy and the walks muddy.
Watch out for the menagerie of ducks, geese, swans, seagulls and pigeons on the shore front as many people like to feed them. I really don’t agree with feeding wildlife but if you have to, please don’t use bread. It’s actually really bad for them. Use seeds instead.
There are four, permanent but small islands on Derwentwater; St Herbert’s; Derwent Island (privately owned by The National Trust); Lord’s Island and Rampsholme Island. St Herbert’s was the inspiration for the fictional Owl Island in Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin’ and Lord’s Island once had a drawbridge and house.
Apart from Derwent Island, boat users are welcome to land on the islands but are reminded not to disturb any nesting birds.
There are six piers in total (Nichol End; Hawes End; Low Brandelhow, High Brandelhow, Lodore and Ashness). My favourite was Lodore Pier! Which one is your favourite?
The view from the boat
The view from The Launch is spectacular regardless of which direction you consider however if mountains and reflections are not your thing, you’re going to be a bit bored! Thankfully, I love mountains and reflections lol.
The winter sun starts going down at about 2:45pm here. It’s very early but it does mean that, unlike in summer, you don’t have to spend until 11pm waiting for it to set. It also means that if you catch The Keswick Launch’s last boat at 2:50 that you can watch the sun disappear behind the mountains.