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The best of Bassenthwaite

Posted 3 July 2012
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The best of Bassenthwaite
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An easy way to confuse a visitor to the Lake District is to ask them what the only lake in the national park is.

This apparently absurd interrogative statement can be answered 'Bassenthwaite Lake', as the rest are all 'meres' like Windermere, Grasmere and Buttermere, or 'waters' like Derwent Water, Ullswater and Coniston Water.

Although Windermere is sometimes referred to as Lake Windermere, this is incorrect as the topographical term comes second - something that applies to every lake and tarn in the national park except for Tarn at Leaves. (Tarn Hows is the area not the tarn, the sheet of water itself being called 'The Tarns' on Ordnance Survey maps as it was originally three smaller, marshy tarns made into one larger one by damming a stream).

Bassenthwaite Lake is also the northernmost of the lakes and the fourth largest, but it is often slightly neglected, partly because it offers little public access in contrast with neighbouring Derwent Water.

However, this makes it quieter and participants in an upcoming guided walk arranged by national park rangers can enjoy a 3.5 hour trek there tomorrow (July 4th) entitled Awesome Ospreys and Vanished Vendace, where it is possible to see the bird life that the busy neighbouring lake is far less amenable to.

The 4.9 mile hike requires "appropriate footwear", so boots are needed. It starts at Dodd Wood car park, passes Mirehouse and crosses a field to St Bega's Church, which is curiously situated in a field beside the lake, offering access to the shore (a rarity for Bassenthwaite) as well as a need to have the right footwear for those attending services there.

From here, the walk proceeds to the osprey viewpoint, where the birds may be visible and the national park's lake restoration project can be admired.

Of course, there are other ways to see Bassenthwaite Lake. Panoramic views can be enjoyed from Skiddaw, not least by those taking the route from near Mirehouse up the Ullock Ridge and across Carl Side. And drivers on the A66 can hurtle along its shoreline.

But neither a lofty vantage point achieved with great effort - or a speedy car journey accomplished with none - will offer a chance to see the lake and its ospreys close at hand.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801399910-ADNFCR