Activities on the lakes. Only National Trust boats are allowed on Loweswater and boats can be hired from the Ranger’s House at Watergate Farm (very close to where they are located) or from Waterend Farm on the other side of the lake. Boats for Crummock Water can be hired from Woodhouse near Buttermere and, for Buttermere itself, from Dalegarth, which is situated between the village and Gatesgarth. For fishing on the lakes, see here for where to get a license, but they can be obtained from the Post Office at Yew Tree Hall, Lorton on Tuesday afternoons and from Woodhouse, Buttermere. You can also fish for rainbow trout at Lorton Vale Fish Ponds in High Lorton (also see video here). Information about fishing at other places in Cumbria can be found here. You can swim in Butermere and Crummock Water, but this is not advisable in Loweswater due to the presence of blue-green algae (see more on this here). The nearest public swimming pool is at Cockermouth Leisure Centre.
Walking on the fells or around the 3 lakes is probably the most popular activity in the valley and there are many publications available to help you find a walk or two that suit your aspirations and fitness. The fells on the eastern side of the valley are covered in Wainwright’s “North-Western Fells” (which describes them as the “most delectable” of all) and those on the western side in his “Western Fells” book. Some ideas for walks (not just in the valley, but in the whole of the Lakes) can be found on Roger and Ann Hiley’s local website Loweswater Cam. There is a local walking group, the Mockerkin Mob, who walk alternate Sundays at different levels throughout the year.
There are 4 walks in the valley listed by the National Trust – Buttermere and Rannerdale, Cinderdale, the Corpse Route and High Nook and Lanthwaite Wood and Crummock Water. Here’s a favourite walk of mine around Gasgale Gill and hopefully this will be joined by others described by local people, so watch this space. See this useful page on the Ramblers website for practical advice for walking safely on the fells. To see what might fall on you from above on a walk, see the weather page.
Watching wildlife – what better to do whilst walking in the valley. Local wildlife expert Alan Gane has written a short series of linked pieces on his encounters with wildlife in the area covered by Melbreak Communities and these can be accessed from this link.
Biking is another popular activity in the valley with the Coast to Coast Cycle route passing across from Loweswater to Whinlatter. For mountain bikers, there are some excellent purpose-made trails at Whinlatter Forest Park and plenty of other off-road biking possibilities.
Horse riding is not available within the valley, but you can ride on the fells from Bradleys near Ennerdale.
You can’t play golf in the valley (at least not on a proper course), but Cockermouth Golf Club is located nearby on a hill-top site just outside Embleton with superb views to the Lorton Fells and those around Bassenthwaite Lake. There is also a golf course at Workington.
Eating and drinking There are plenty of places to fill your stomache and slake your thirst in the valley – see here for a list.