Here’s a little treat if you’re staying in one of our Keswick Cottages in the Lake District. Take a trip to Thirlmere which is an often ignored Lake District lake and stretch your legs for 15 minutes on a walk that takes you up a small hillock. If you drive towards Ambleside, there is a carpark on your right just as you get to the top of the hill and catch the first glimpse of Thirlmere lake. Even better, there is often an ice-cream van parked there during Spring and Summer. The first hour’s parking is free and you step out of the car, go through the gate and the hillock is there. You skirt round the bottom of it and then to get to the top you pass a fairy tree. This is no ordinary tree, the fairies have their home there. When you get to the craggy outcrops at the top, see if you can find the fairies’ dancing ground which is covered with moss. I didn’t actually manage to see a fairy but my two year old, Daisy, was convinced she saw one. And what’s more she reckoned that this fairy had a gun… so watch out! If you’re not interested in fairies, you can just enjoy the spectacular views of Thirlmere, with very little effort involved on your part.
It’s only a small tiddler of a walk so it’s a good one to do while you’re on your way to Ambleside. However, if you think you like the look of Thirlmere and would like to explore some more, then there is a small road that takes you to the other side of the lake. There are a couple of car parks here and steep paths lead you up in the woods and onto the fellside beyond, along with a couple of tarns and some lovely waterfalls. This is where Rob took Bruno camping in the rain (see the video below).
Thirlmere Lake, while being located in the centre of the Lake District, is actually a reservoir for the residents of Manchester, 100 miles away. A dam was built in 1890-1894 on the site of two smaller lakes which raised the water level and created Thirlmere lake as it now is. The Thirlmere valley connects Grasmere to Keswick and is shadowed by Helvellyn which is the third highest mountain in the Lake District after Scafell Pike and Scafell. In fact Helvellyn is well worth the climb for anyone staying in any of our Lake District Cottages – I shall cover it in a later blog as it’s now 10 years since I last went up there. Time to go again I think.
The “Fairy Hillock” is just a ten minute drive from our Keswick cottages, or to get from Keswick to the other side of Thirlmere, it should only take an extra five minutes.