Although all of our cottages are surrounded by lofty peaks, there are many walks that don’t require sherpas and oxygen – from gentle strolls to slightly longer walks which often use ancient paths that connect the many farms and hamlets in the valley.
One of our favourite evening strolls from Hartsop is to “do a lap” of Brotherswater, the small lake adjacent to this Historic hamlet. The name has two explanations: one rather dark involving the sad loss of life of two brothers who were skating on the ice; the other more plausible is that it is a corruption of a Norse description of the lake as Broad water – I believe as it is about as wide as it is long.
The clockwise lap takes you right out of the village for a very short stretch on the footpath along the main A592 and then cross to Cow Bridge (where there is a small car park if you are staying at Stone Cottage and don’t fancy the 1 mile walk through woodland to this point.) A large, baby-buggy friendly path then takes you along the Goldrill beck (look out for dippers here) and along the lakeshore to reach Hartsop Hall (a National Trust 15th century farmhouse and working sheep farm – so please put any dogs on a lead). At this point you turn left again past the farm to join the concrete farm road the crosses the valley bottom with stunning views in all directions. On reaching Sykeside campsite and The Brotherswater Inn you can either stop for a libation or take the left fork and just before the main road take a left along a narrow (and not buggy friendly) path which leads to the lakeshore. This has super views and in the late spring there are water lilies on this side of the lake and the distant call of a cuckoo can often be heard from Low Wood which you walked through earlier. On reaching a kissing gate, cross the road, climb the path up the opposite bank and through a five bar gate to take the ancient “road” into Hartsop. This brings you back into the hamlet via a footbridge over the beck – just pause to muse that in the floods of 2015 the water passed over the deck of this bridge – it has since been raised about 30cm – but still it is difficult to believe how the water could have reached such a height.
Back home now for tea…and of course, cake 🙂
Thank-you Alistair Hood for the stunning main picture of Brotherswater taken in May 2017.