A walk round Ennerdale Water has so much appeal because it is quiet and unspoilt. On all lakeland walks the scenery is superb and this is no different, but the feeling of remoteness and inaccessibility adds a lot.
A walk round Ennerdale Water is probably the most satisfying lakeside walk within the Lake District. The path along the back of Ullswater is more picturesque but the remoteness of Ennerdale gives the walk an edge not found near the more popular lakes. Ennerdale also has the advantages in that it is an ideal size for a full circuit (7.5 miles) and there is excellent, non eroded, paths/tracks that stick close to the shoreline throughout. No detours here to avoid private land. It is easy to walk along and clear to follow.
The section on the south side is better than that to the north. I would suggest starting here as it is best enjoyed before any tiredness sets in. The views are superb looking up the long valley of Ennerdale whilst the return along the north banks is rather blocked off by trees. Ennerdale is a reservoir for some of the West Cumbrian towns. However this has not affected its beauty and appearance. A visit to Ennerdale Water is certainly worth the extra effort.
A late summer evening when the sun is low to the west is the best time of the year to do this walk.
A walk round Ennerdale Water is one of my 25 favourite walks in the Lake District
Soon after starting the walk and meeting the shoreline an obvious path heads up to Anglers Crag. An alternative sticks closer to the shoreline. I prefer the Anglers Crag route. However it is not an insignificant climb. The route via the lake is a little rough in places. Whatever you choose the going is easy after the crag.
It took us (both sixty somethings, quite fit) under four hours to do the whole circuit, including stopping for picnic lunch and various chats with other dog walkers. Husband walked up Anglers Crag and over the top, I did the bottom path. I get vertigo and this path was not a problem. The terrain is very uneven on the west side. The east side of the lake is mostly dirt road and not interesting.
I loved this walk for the amazing views of the lake and the hills, but sadly ended up being unable to do the full circuit. We parked in the Bowness Knott car park and walked anti clockwise, on a flat gravel footpath which was very easy going. However this changed on the approach to Anglers Crag. We chose the lakeside option, which unfortunately did not match the walk description – I ended up having to turn back due to a section of steep scrambling on a vertigo-inducing bit of path. Maybe I’m a bit of a wimp, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be so challenging from the words used in the description! Thankfully it was a sunny day and we’re relatively young and fit, so having to walk all the way back was not an issue.
Camped in the fifties where The Anglers Arms used to be with my Cumbrian relatives. Borrowed a few.big stones and an old iron gate off an ancient wall and had a superb campfire that served all sixteen of us handsomely. Slept in an ex girl guide tent on the springy turf with a pillowcase full of bracken. No memory so clear or poignant than lying looking out of the tent flap up at the stars, smelling my fragrant pillow, and listening to the gentle lapping of Lake Ennerdale. Lucky, lucky me.
Staying locally in the area I choose to do this walk and based on your information above. I would like to feedback that I am not a regular terrain walker but fairly fit so thought this would be quite easy, however I would like to say that the walk did take far longer than your advice and on the north side more challenging than your description also. I only write this as I wouldn’t want anyone to be mis lead as once on the walk it is a long way to get back and as your suggesting potentially when it’s getting darker and cooler late afternoon into the evening
I think it’s helpful if you know your average walking speed. Taking into account stopping to admire the scenery, taking photos or even having a swig of water adds to the overall time taken. Baring this in mind there is a very useful sliding guide to adjust to your own personal speed. I’m a reasonably fit walker but always allow 2.5mph and that’s not allowing for a lunch break.
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