4 - 5 hours
Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater form a trio of lakes which feed the River Cocker that flows along Lorton Vale to the Irish Sea. Buttermere and Crummock Water occupy the upper reaches of Lorton Vale and drain northwest, whilst Loweswater sits in a subsidiary valley and uniquely drains southwest into Crummock Water. This is unusual as all other Lakes in the Lake District drain away from the central fells and not towards them, as with Loweswater.
Loweswater not only drains in the opposite direction but its setting is unusual as well. There is much more habitation and the surrounding fells are lower than those around Buttermere and Crummock Water, which seem to give it a much gentler atmosphere.
A series of bridleways link the south western sides of the three lakes. When combined with the pleasant roads on the north eastern sides, a fine mountain bike expedition can be had. The exception to this is the link between Crummock Water and Loweswater which crosses a col on the south side of Mellbreak. If this section is missed out and the road taken instead, the route would be at the easier end of the scale, but as it is, it is a route for mountain bikers with some experience.
1. From Buttermere take the B5289 southeast and for 3.2km to the start of a bridleway at Gatesgarth. Turn right onto it and follow it southwest to cross Peggy's Bridge, then northwest through the woods alongside Buttermere.
2. At the end of Buttermere ignore the bridleway on the right that heads back to Buttermere village instead continue heading northwest to the side of Crummock Water.
3. The bridleway splits and then climbs steeply west beside Scale Beck and Black Beck to level out on moorland at the head of Mosedale. Continue west across the moorland to join the Mosedale Bridleway at GR NY132173.
4. Turn right onto the Mosedale Bridleway and follow it north all the way down to its end at Loweswater village.
5. From Loweswater village turn left at the Kirkstile Inn and follow the lane to a junction. Turn left again and follow the road west for 400m to the start of a bridleway on the left. Follow the bridleway west to a fork at Maggie's Bridge. From Maggie's Bridge, head west along the access track (bridleway) that leads to Loweswater. Follow it to Watergate Farm and go through the yard. Out of the yard take the track northwest and follow it into the trees at the side of Loweswater.
6. Through the trees head northwest to a junction by a tiny cottage (near a ford). Take the left fork (bridleway) and ignore the right fork, which is a shore side path. Continue north west until you reach a rough lane (gate) at the edge of the trees. Join the lane and follow it as it climbs to Hudson Place. Take the tarmac drive that heads north and descends to the valley road at Waterend. Turn right onto the road and follow it southeast then east for 4km to Scalehall Bridge (over the River Cocker).
7. Just up the hill from the bridge is the start of a bridleway, turn right onto it and follow it through Lanthwaite Wood to join the B5289. Turn right onto the B5289 and follow it south then southeast back to the start in Buttermere village.
|Time/Effort:||3 out of 5|
|Navigation:||3 out of 5|
|Technicality:||3 out of 5|
|Height gain/loss (metres):||800metres (2,625feet)|
|OS map:||OS Landranger 90, OS Explorer OL5|
- Start point: (near Cockermouth)