Buttermere is a beautiful body of water, in the Western lake District, renowned for its often calm and reflective qualities. Accessed by several different routes: from Keswick via the Whinlatter or Newlands passes, from Borrowdale via the Honister Pass or from Cockermouth and the A66 via the Lorton Valley. All are dramatic and enjoyble routes, but a round route should encompass the tour of the Lorton Valley with its pretty pastures and cottages and the equally stunning lake that is Crummock Water.
If your planning a few lakeside walks during your stay or even some of the challenging fells in this district, then put aside a few days to really cherish the beauty and magnificence of this quieter corner of Lakeland. Another way into Buttermere, not mentioned above, is by the shores of Loweswater from the west of Cumbria and the A5806…….but more on this hidden little gem another time (though previous Ellen Hall and Cottages Made For Two posts already celebrate its unique charm).
Buttermere, its name perhaps originating from Old Norse for “Boethar’s lake” (“mere” being the ancient word for lake or any significant body of water), or perhaps quite simply for “the lake where butter was made”, has a well tended and flat valley base. Thousands of years of glacial movement, weathering and man’s industry (be it farming or mineral extraction) have lended it the appeal it has today. Being remote from the usual tourist pull experienced by Windermere etc. it will be more serene and tranquil, however, its shores are more easily circumnavigated than most English lakes and offer a very rewarding walk for all abilities.
Take a camera and a picnic; you will never forget the serene quality of this magical English spot. The walk itself, depending on your willingness to dally and snap away pictures for lifelong memories, will take around 2 hours………………
We recommend walking around in a clockwise direction, starting from Buttermere, this way the finest views are always ahead of you and when you rejoin the village again the Fish Inn is just on your left before the car park……very handy!
If you find that you have no change/money for parking (parking fees do go towards the upkeep of the National Park) then you might find some spaces on the left of the road to Keswick, via the Newlands Pass.
St James’ Church, Buttermere
This little church is situated just outside the village by the turning to the Newlands pass. Fell walkers and fans of Alfred Wainwright (1907-1991), will be interested to see the window dedicated this famous guide writer. His ashes are spread by Inominate Tarn on Haystacks, one of his favorite fells and a walk that offers so much to a keen fell rambler. The ceiling of the church is notable too with wooden carved angels that gaze back at you.