Hello spring 2022! Easter is always a good turning point in the Lake District year with spring in full bloom and all attractions opening up or opening longer. The weather might still be changeable but a later Easter this year at least means more daylight and more opportunity to explore the area and discover more Lake District drives. Unfortunately, Covid is still an issue with the relatively high infection rates meaning staffing at attractions or hospitality venues is unpredictable and last minute restrictions or closures can happen. It is advisable to check websites before visiting. However, as I’ve said before, one thing Covid cannot change is the fantastic Lake District scenery and you can certainly avoid others in your own vehicle so beat the bug and experience the joys of spring!
One drive that is wonderful any time of year but especially in the spring is the Keswick-Borrowdale-Buttermere drive. The drive explores the beautiful Borrowdale and Buttermere valleys which can be busy in the summer but usually a bit easier to get around in the spring. One benefit of spring is the low vegetation meaning you get better views of the mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers from the road as you travel. Another benefit of this drive are the Rannerdale bluebells. If you are doing it around end of April or early May you simply must stop at Rannerdale and walk amongst the beautiful blue carpet with a backdrop of Crummock Water and surrounding mountains. Surely one of the finest Lake District experiences.
Setting off from Keswick the drive soon reaches picturesque Calfclose Bay on Derwent Water before heading up a superb dead-end road which visits the famous Ashness Bridge (as seen on many Lake District postcards), Surprise View with its wonderful high panorama over Derwent Water, and the small attractive hamlet and Tarn at Watendlath high up in the valley. Back on the Borrowdale road, you soon arrive at Lodore at the southern end of Derwent Water where you can reach the Lodore Falls waterfall, behind the Lodore Falls hotel. Beyond this you leave Derwent Water behind before reaching the wonderful village of Grange-in-Borrowdale next to the crystal clear River Derwent. Continuing along the Borrowdale road, the wooded valley becomes very narrow and is known as the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’. Here you will find the amazing Bowder Stone where the daring can climb to the top. The road now follows a lovely section of the River Derwent with the impressive Castle Crag poking through trees on the right. The valley soon opens out again although you are fully surrounded by mountains as you head towards the head of Borrowdale and the pretty villages of Rosthwaite, Seathwaite and Seatoller.
Then its steeply up Honister Pass and over to Gatesgarthdale and beautiful Buttermere lake and Buttermere village. Just beyond Buttermere is Crummock Water which, like Buttermere, has no significant development around its shore and maintains its natural beauty with some awesome mountains looking down on it. Part way along Crummock Water is Rannerdale valley where you might be lucky enough to see the bluebells but is magical any time of year. Then it’s a drive down picturesque Lorton Vale before heading up to Whinlatter Forest with its fabulous mountain scenery and many activities. Finally, its not far and mostly downhill to Keswick where you can enjoy some well earned refreshments at one of the many pubs, cafes or restaurants in the town.
Of course there are plenty of other Lake District Drives to choose from, 16 altogether, exploring all corners of the Lakes and Cumbria. This includes the 126 mile Ultimate drive which is a long day out but allows you to experience the best of the area in one go. Also available now is my first ‘audio drive’. This is the Ambleside-Keswick-Ullswater drive in audio format so you can enjoy the scenery whilst hearing all about the area, its attractions and its stories.
I hope you can enjoy your Lake District Drives!