catbells across derwent water

Derwentwater is a breathtaking gem nestled in the heart of the Lake District. With its stunning landscape and tranquil atmosphere, it has become a beloved haven for walking and nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Surrounded by picturesque mountains, this circuit walk around Derwentwater promises a memorable experience.

derwentwater reflection

It was a perfect day for a fresh air wintry stroll. The sun arose in the sky and it was time to take in a different view of The Lake District than getting high on the mountains. I realised that it had been a while since I took the time to walk around one of the lakes themselves.

Off I headed to Keswick, the start point of an old favourite, Derwentwater. A perfect length, the route around is about 10 miles, perfect for a day’s casual walk and with variety all the way.

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scene on derwentwater

Walk Overview

The walk around Derwentwater starts at Keswick and is approximately 10 miles in total distance. Along the route, you can enjoy scenic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Notable landmarks and attractions include Friar’s Crag, a detour to Ashness Bridge, and the picturesque Catbells fell.

Clockwise this time I thought and off I wandered down to the waters side and beginning at the touristy bit. Hope park to the right with pitch and put and crazy golf courses and then the lake reveals itself.

Waling along the shore’s edge you come upon the perfect lookout point called Friars Crag. With a bench that looks out all down the lake.

Friars Crag and bench

The path then turns to a pleasant nature path for those that want to take in some miles along the shores. Grassy inlets, wooded tracks, pebble beaches. Crags rising high to the left signalling you are into Borrowdale as over the Lake and refected within the line of peaks known as ‘catbells’ rise up.

catbells across derwentwater

This walk is one of those must do in each season kind of walks. The Summer for instance has the beauty and green of Borrowdale in bloom. The bottom end of the lake is signalled by Lodore Falls Hotel.

looking across to cat bells

This is where you keep an eye of for the gate on the right, a turn into more extreme beauty, away from the road completely. The new bridge over the River Derwent and sturdy walkway over the swampy surrounds are true signs that this walk and side of the lake has been made truly accessible for wheelchairs and prams.

This area in the South West corner, underneath Catbells, a marvel on the eye and underfoot. Woodlands, marshes, sandy shores and birds of all kinds everywhere, even deer apparently but I have not yet seen one.

skiddaw from derwentwater

The area is called Brandlehow, the first piece of land ever bought by the National Trust (1904). All made possible by donations at the time to stop it being turned into a housing development. The way things could have swung eh?

In fact this whole side of Derwentwater, heading North with the lake on the right hand side, is a blissful walk. Skiddaw and Blancathra rising high above Keswick ahead. Today with a snowfall on their peaks pointing into the blue sky. I took my time on the way back round to Keswick, I was in escapism mode, and not high up for a change, and I darn well loved it.

Derwentwater Sunrise

Another day and Derwentwater at sunrise. Something that should be on the list of things to do if ever visiting the Lake District.

Especially if the weather says a clear, calm morning is ahead. I am often in the area for hikes and climbs so always good to check the weather forecast, as I did this particular day. If I am up early anyway I may as well set off a little earlier and enjoy some natural beauty to help get the day started.

derwentwater at sunrise

You don’t have to hike for miles either to catch the morning light come from behind you, lighting up the fells across Derwentwater. From the main lakeside car park at Keswick you can walk the few hundred metres to Friars Crag for a great lookout.

skiddaw from derwentwater at sunrise with mist

Or wander the side of the lake beyond or before. Just enjoy it, no crowds, no noise, just the lapping water with the morning bird calls.

Robin bird at sunrise at derwentwater

Derwentwater is certainly one of my favourite lakes in Cumbria. I have many memories of running around it as a teenager whilst my parents sunbathed on the shores.

With easy access and walking paths it is one of the waters here that many others have experienced and definitely one that you should see. Even more at sunrise and sunset, when the crowds are long gone.

snow covered mountains by derwentwater


No matter whether you walk all the way around the 10 miles or take in a few hundred yards. Derwentwater is so easily accessible from Keswick and will leave you spellbounded.

Take a walk along its shores, no matter how far and create some memories for yourself.

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  1. David Baybutt says:

    Paul, thanks for the pre look. My good lady and I are going to stroll around the water, at a leisurely pace tomorrow. Cheers Dave.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      a great walk.. hope you enjoyed 🙂

  2. Julie Case says:

    Love your commentary as much as I love your photographs. Reading these I feel a step above simply an armchair explorer. I’m there too.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      so nice of you to say Julie, thanks very much

  3. Paul, your posts are like poetry in snapshot form. Moving and inspiring! Thank you

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Thank you 🙂

  4. Luca haynes says:

    Just booked a mini break for late Jan to do this walk – well almost. Not there for long so need to do cat bells as well. Can’t wait! Would be great to have the weather you had on the day you took those beautiful pics.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi Luca.. was there again at the weekend. I really hope you get great weather you won’t regret it 🙂

  5. Probably one of my most favourite places in the lake district, those pictures have captured the essence brilliantly.

    In fact I’m asking myself why I’m not there right now.

    1. Ray Bilcliff says:

      Beautiful photos from one of the worlds most beautiful places. Thank you for taking us on this tour of Derwentwater.

      1. Paul Steele says:

        Thnak you Ray.. I agree it is abeautiful place.. always love returning to those shores

  6. Anne Macdonald says:

    Thank you for posting this – am planning walks for a week in early August and this sounds perfect for a gentle day’s walk. The distance around our lake here in Canberra (Oz) is exactly the same so good training! Lovely photos.

  7. nicole | the wondernuts says:

    I was instantly attracted to the bird. He is SOOOO cute. =)

  8. Tina Somberg-Buiks says:

    Hi Paul,
    Still in pyjama’s, having breakfast in The Netherlands I saw those beautiful pictures of your walk around Derwentwater and wished I could have been the one doing the walk and taking those fabulous pics! Thanks so much!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      It is a wonderful walk in all weathers Tina 🙂 ty

  9. This post took me back to Keswick.
    I’d love to be there now instead of Italy 🙂
    Derwentwater is a wonderful place: colours are so bright there.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Gorgeous any time of year 🙂

  10. Tony Eezisit says:

    ACE ACE ACE Photo’s once again. We will have to get up there again soon!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Thanks Tony.. Yes yes yes you must … No mad crowds at this time either 🙂

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