From the south you approach Ullswater from Troutbeck, driving through the craggy fells of the Kirkstone Pass,descending down into Patterdale, passing Brothers Water on the way. Ullswater is the second largest lake, measuring seven and a half miles long, three-quarters of a mile wide and 205 feet deep. Though Windermere is bigger, Ullswaters shores are far more accessible, has the right things going on, and some of the best walks in the lakes.
The Lake & Villages
There are three main villages. Patterdale and Glenridding lie at the south, with Pooley Bridge in the north, all offering good pubs and inns and nice little shops. For a grand and special meal, though it is quite a drive up and around the east shore from the north, you have the exclusive, but expensive - but oh why not, Sharrow Bay Hotel. The setting, service and cuisine are second to none and if you can’t stretch to dinner, then death by cream tea is a good option. The lake is serpentine, snaking its way through a delightful landscape and peace prevails as there are no speeding boats allowed. Anyone can launch a boat, powered or not, but you must respect the sedate 10mph speed limit You can hire boats at Glenridding, either rowing, electric and little out board motor boats. For those who wish to get some experience in sailing, the Glenridding Sailing School offers courses and tuition. These range in courses for sailing, canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing, from one hour to 5-days and weekend courses. They also hire out sailboats, canoes and kayaks and are open seven days a week from Easter to the end of October. Transport is run by the grandly titled ‘Ullswater Navigation and Transit Company Limited’ and though you are only going to get as far as Pooley Bridge it sounds more like an Atlantic crossing is on offer. They run three lovely old steamers, ‘Lady of the Lake’ first launched in 1877 and ‘Raven’ twelve years later. In 2001 they introduced ‘The Lady Dorothy’, brought in from Gurnsey and refurbished by local shipwrights. They depart from Glenridding, calling at Howtown and on to Pooley Bridge and the whole journey takes about an hour each way.
Walking - The Fells & Mountains
The author and journalist Hunter Davies wrote, if you only do one walk in the Lakes, then walk the east shore and fells of Ullswater - advice I took when I first started coming here and am eternally grateful for those few words of wisdom. Explored from the southern end, the lake is dominated by Place Fell, St Sunday Cragg, Fairfield and Helvellyn. Take the east path along the shore, heading towards Sandwick then on to Howtown, and you will be able to ramble all day with a magnificent view always in sight. You can end your day on a high note, catching the steamboat from Howtown to Glenridding for some final, memorable views. There are a number of big fells and mountains. The goal for many is Helvellyn, the third highest mountain in the Lake District. The approach is often made by the Striding Edge, a knife thin ridge, which scares the bejeebers out of many as they teeter on the start of the walk across to get to the mountain summit, however most do it. Think of it like the thrill of a big dipper ride. Like Scafell and co. you must take the sensible precautions when going up the high fells and mountains. These are - Obtain a reliable local weather forecast before you set off and plan a route suitable for forecast conditions. Check your equipment before leaving, take waterproofs, spare warm clothing, hat and gloves. food and drink, a map, a compass and a survival bag. Learn basic mountain skills, particularly navigation. If weather conditions turn bad, turn back. Don't rely on mobile phones.
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