Loweswater copyright Val Corbett

The North Lakes - explore and visit

The lakes tucked away in the National Park's north west are probably the most peaceful.

Crummock Water

Crummock Water lies between Loweswater and Buttermere. It is two and half miles long and three quarters of a mile wide. At 140 feet deep, this clear, rocky bottomed lake is flanked by steep fellsides of Skiddaw slate. It is owned by the National Trust.

The River Cocker starts from here and flows towards Cockermouth where it joins the River Derwent. Crummock Water is fed by numerous streams including the beck from Scale Force, the tallest waterfall in the Lake District with a drop of 170 feet.

A nine mile round the lake walk is possible with great paths through Lanthwaite Woods.


Loweswater is situated in a wooded valley in the Vale of Lorton. It is approximately one mile long, half a mile wide and 60 feet deep. A walk around the lake is around four miles, most of it on footpaths. It passes through Holme Wood, a fine mixed woodland.

Loweswater is the only lake that drains towards the centre of Lakeland to Crummock Water, which it was once joined to. Red squirrels enjoy the coniferous habitat and can be found in the area.

If you're looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat and a drink, the Kirkstile Inn (opens in new window) is a popular spot for walkers.

Buttermere and Buttermere village

Buttermere lies at the foot of some spectacular fells, including Wainwright's favourite Haystacks. It's also one of the few lakes you can walk all the way round, taking four miles.

From Buttermere village, the climb to Rannerdale Knott provides stunning views of the lake and surrounding area. Enjoy the fabulous Rannerdale bluebells in the spring.

To discover more about Buttermere visit Buttermere Web (opens in new window).

Honister Pass

This high pass runs between the head of Borrowdale with the head of Buttermere. Once horse-drawn coaches followed this route on the 'Keswick Round'.

Bassenthwaite Lake

Northwest of Keswick, Bassenthwaite Lake is the only official Lake in the Lake District! The area is designated as a National Nature Reserve.

Useful links

SwimSafe code

Be Seen, have support

Swimmers may be able to see boaters but boaters may not be able to see swimmers!

  • Have a safety boat or canoe support displaying a white and blue Alpha flag Blue and white Alpha flag, warning of divers or swimmers in the water.
  • Wear a bright swim cap and tow a bright float.
  • Never swim alone.

Take a look at the photos below. If you were steering a boat, which swimmer is easier to spot?

Showing how much easier a swimmer is to spot when next to a support boat

Be Water wise

Exposure to cool water can rapidly lead to hypothermia

  • Wear a wetsuit to keep you warmer and more buoyant.
  • Enter the water slowly to get used to it.
  • Check the depth and the water bed by walking in carefully.
  • Don't jump in.

Be Informed

Other people use the lakes too! Windermere, Derwentwater, Coniston Water and Ullswater are busy with boats. People on boats may struggle to see swimmers. A collision with any boat can be fatal.

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Be Mindful

  • Choose one of the quieter lakes that do not allow boats.
  • Avoid mooring areas, marinas and jetties used by boats, ferry routes and boating channels.
  • Be aware boaters may be in any area of the lake at any time of day or night.
  • Only swim when weather conditions are suitable - remember they can change quickly.

Print out a handy guide

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Cottage near Coniston - copyright Charlie Hedley

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