Managed Wilderness

Ennerdale. Of all the Lakeland vales probably the least touristy. There is a YHA at the end and some of the most famous fell tops line the vista, still the absence of a public road and a pub/café keeps away the swathes of tourists, saving it for the ones who know 😉.

Catbells, Ambleside, Wasdale… on a bank holiday weekend with great weather… Those are the places to avoid. Hence Ennerdale was a prime choice for us with a few walks to choose as we please.

Arrived at 9:45am at Bowness Knott car park just at the north western shore of Ennerdale Water. Still wanted to be early just in case and found only half of the spaces taken.

Being a Site of Special Scientific Interest and managed by the Forestry Commission, National Trust and United Utilities it has not been exposed to the footfall and activities on the lake by people like other lakes and you can certainly see it. The water is crystal clear, the woodland a mix of trees, grass, moss, shrub and the paths only busy near the car parks.

Instead of a shorter walk we opted for the full 6.5 mile circumvention of the lake. The weather was pristine with blue skies over our heads and a perfect 20 degrees. We could have as many breaks as we wanted to why not?

Headed off along the shore on a gravel path, Merlin taking every little opportunity to dip into the water. Every. Single. One. Bless him 🤣

Had the first break at the shore just after walking around the end of Ennerdale Water. Merlin had been trotting around happy as a pig in shit, into the water, out of the water, into the bushes and out again, picking up a stick here and there and generally just being a happy pooch.

Would he have a break though? No way. Whilst we sat down, he stood in the shallow water waiting for us to throw things in for him to fetch.

“Throw stuff! Now!”

The path on the other side was a lot more rocky and we were glad we had changed into light walking boots. It was just as great a walk though and we absolutely enjoyed it.

Another quick break with lunch sandwiches on one of the many little pebbles beaches, then around Anglers Crag and the few little scrambles. First proper scrambling for Merlin. We did the leap frog technique again having Rich go first and then letting Merlin catch up, Rich spotting him on any downward climb. Needless to say with four paw drive a piece of cake for him.

Views from this end of Ennerdale Water were the most stunning yet and we were back at the car only 3.5hrs after setting off.

Merlin had not had a break at all being way too keen on splashing in the water, so he was shattered now and fell asleep in the back of the car instantly.

Had ice cream and coffees at The Gather in Ennerdale Bridge and then sat in the sunny beer garden of The Fox and Hounds pub. My turn to consume alcoholic beverages and the two and a half pints of Thatcher’s Gold went down nicely.

Got us booked in for dinner the next day after struggling to find any pubs with availability. Result. What a lovely little place!

Drove over to Cockermouth next with fantastic views over the western fells in the early evening light. Had a drink at The Castle Inn and then moved across to The Bitter End for dinner at 6pm.

Another lovely cosy pub, super dog friendly and with great pub grub. I went for Steak and Ale pie and Rich something called Boston Beef which was beef strips in a creamy herb sauce. Both dishes very good, with particularly good chips. Shared a sticky toffee pudding and then drove the 30mins home with full bellies and another fantastic day done.

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