A few years ago I did a circuit of Haweswater in drought conditions. The western shores are lovely on a path keeping close to the water but the eastern return are on the side of the road but the views compensate.
Haweswater is one of my favourite lakes. The views are fantastic. The path on the western shoreline one of the best in the Lakes. There is also a fascinating history surrounding the drowned villages of Mardale Green and Mosedale. However my enthusiasm for Haweswater is more to do with the tranquility and peace of the Mardale Valley, rarely found in the Lakeland valleys. The quietness comes from a combination of steep mountain sides, lack of villages and hamlets and its inaccessibility.
I have heard Haweswater described as a dead lake due to the artificial raising of the lake in 1940 but for the walker this human destruction has provided a unique wilderness, epitomised by the nesting Golden Eagles in Riggondale. The western shoreline path is considerably more attractive than that on the eastern shore.There is some road walking on the return but the water board have added a new path closer to the shore for the second half of the lakeside which is an improvement. The roadside path is quiet and the easy walking made for ever changing views ahead. I always seem to visit Haweswater in drought conditions and this was no exception. The ghostly village of Mardale Green revealing itself. I do like the story that the stones of the church were used to help build the dam.
Try and imagine what the valley was like before it was dammed in 1940. Odd.
Many paths near reservoirs have had ‘permissive’ routes added in recent years. These, marked as orange dashes on O/S 1.25,000 maps, are paths added by the relevant water boards to improve the enjoyment of walkers. They also of course force walkers to follow the most convenient route for the boards themselves so it is a win/win. They can be closed however by the authorities but this is rare.
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