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" St Bega and Bassenthwaite Lake "

Date & start time:      17th January 2022.  1.45 pm start.   ( NY 235 283 )

Location of Start :     Off road parking near Miresyke House, Bassenthwaite, Cumbria, Uk.

Places visited :          Mirehouse, St Bega's Church, Scarness Bay, Armathwaite, Ooze Bridge.

Walk details :              5.5 miles, negligible ascent, 2 hours 25 mins.

Highest point :           Visiting St Bega's for the first time !

Walked with :              Loes, Diana and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     Sunshine and blue skies, but a chill in the air towards dusk.


© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


A walk today with Loes and a friend I've known for years, Diana. She moved over from Sheffield to Cockermouth after numerous Lakes holidays.

Today she joined myself and Loes on a walk to visit St Bega's Church on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake.

With the advantage of two cars we made this a linear walk, starting down there on the right hand side of the map.


- - - o o o - - -

Mt fellow walkers today, Diana and Loes.

Our objective to see the church (which I've never visited)

and explore the far side of the Lake.


We met at Ooze Bridge

at the northern end of the walk and leaving one car there,

headed off to explore more of the

Bassenthwaite Lake Nature Reserve.


- - - o o o - - -


On the way there, Loes and I were a little early so we diverted via Setmurthy and passed the Lakes Distillery,

stopping along the way for this picture of the cloud band on Skiddaw and Ullock Pike.

A quick walk from the meeting place, down to the shore of the lake . . . our walk will start all the way over there.

After visiting the Church we walked the lakeside right to left, often behind the trees that we see on the opposite shore.

- - - o o o - - -

There will now be a short intermission as we drive around the lake . . .

The Mirehouse tearooms near the start of the walk are closed in January

. . . but it is too early in the day to stop anyway, even for me !

We head across the road and enter the grounds of Mirehouse.

- - - o o o - - -


Technically we should have started

by following the footpath signposted

on the left hand side of the Lodge.



No Matter . . .


a few yards in, Mirehouse informed us

of the whereabouts of the correct path

so we followed the arrow

as requested.


- - - o o o - - -

Glimpsed through a gap in the hedge, the rather nice house of Miresyke.

Diana and Loes pose for a photo at one of the beech arches.

End on view of the garden room on this side of the main house.

The first view of St Bega's Church across the fields.

Please shut the gate . . .
. . . alternatively let the mechanism do it for you !

I love old technology but this stile of substantial gate closing mechanism was new to me.

We're following the 'Allerdale Ramble' path which passes close by the church.

The church is dedicated to the 7th Century female Irish Princess, Bega

who fled Ireland rather than enter a forced marriage with a Viking Prince.

She made landfall at St Bees on the west coast built her home here "where the snow did not fall in January", according to legend.

The present church is dated to about 950 AD with later additions in the 12th and 14th centuries

but it may have been constructed over an earlier building, thought to be Roman or certainly using second hand Roman stone.

Maybe that was her Monastic Cell ?

- - - o o o - - -

It has been enlarged from the original with an extension

to form a southern chancel.  This gave the opportunity

for several fine arched on the internal side wall

so that parishioners could see through to the main knave and alter.



An old drawing shows the church in the 19th Century

and shows the landed gentry and estate workers.

More information can be found here

The church has a dramatic location on the flat meadows below Ullock Pike.

Interestingly the cross isn't seen on that old drawing, unless the ladies in the foreground were hiding it. ?

The base looks old enough but the granite cross must be of a more recent era.

Time to continue our walk.

Ullock Pike and Dodd as we retrace our steps to regain the main path.

We head off to the left and rejoin the local road for a short while.

There's no specific photo of how well the landscape has repaired itself after the new Thirlmere water pipeline was laid across these fields

but this might give you a good idea of how nature can recover.

- - - o o o - - -

The second half of the walk takes on totally different characteristics as we make our way down to the lake shore . . .

After passing Bowness Farm we take the pathway to Bowness Bay.

This area is very low lying and has classic reed, willow and marsh vegetation.

Bowness Bay is indented deep into the side of the lake, its exact boundary hidden by the reed covered ground.

The pathway alongside Broadness Farm has been elevated on a walkway, otherwise it would have been unusable.

Onto terra-firma once more as we walk out onto the headland.

Barnacle Geese float on the water as we look back at the bay.

Looking down the length of Bassenthwaite Lake, with the elevated conical summit of Catbells in the distance.

Diana assumes control of the camera shutter for this picture of Loes and I.

The view forward as we make our way around the headland.

Round the other side we enter Scarness Bay.

Zooming in on the silhouetted winter trees on the next headland of Scar Ness.

The reason for such a long spit of land is unclear as there should not be any currents in the lake to form it,

neither is there a significant river adjacent to deposit silt . . . presumably it might be a glacially formed moraine bank ?

Tucked at the back of the bay is the Scarness Chalet Park.

Ann and I stayed on the site in the last century when it was a caravan site !

A memorial chair to a Scout Leader who loved and visited the area on a regular basis (sorry no name).

More boardwalk as we cross through Moss Wood.
The big house appears to be the Dower House

That would make this building Scarness Farm.

We leave the formal paths, tracks and roads and head off following the 'Allerdale Ramble' across open fields.

Even this month when the Lakes have had 50% less rain than the average, the fields were still a bit muddy.

After a wet summer perhaps wellies might be better !

More boardwalk as we cross Pooley Beck and head into the lakeshore woodland.

Bracket Fungus . . .
. . . growing out of the fallen tree.

I can imagine this area being more difficult after bad weather . . . no dog gate either.

After more of the same, the ground starts to rise . . .
. . . and we approach the road and the footbridge to Armathwaite Hall.

A view of Loes and Armathwaite Hall, where she celebrated her marriage to her late husband Les over 25 years ago.

The B5291 road past the hall has been sunk into the landscape so that it doesn't spoil the view from the hall.

Occasionally just the top of a high sided vehicle could be seen, moving as if by magic alongside the fence line.

Cars and the lower part of any high vehicle and their driver were totally out of sight.

The path we took moved closer to the shoreline once again

and we enjoyed views across to Dubwath and the Sailing Club as twilight began to fall.

Down the lake the colours are becoming muted as the sun sets.

The grand house at Herdwick Croft

The old farm has also been redeveloped into another chalet park for visitors.

Nearly done, as we cross the Ooze Bridge over the River Derwent outflow from Bass Lake.

- - - o o o - - -

Back at the second car it felt like tea time . . . where local shall we go . . . somewhere local ?

Bass Lake Station will be ideal and it's dog friendly.

Diana hasn't been before, so while the tea is being prepared she has a quick look around.

A two minute relax in the Saloon Car.

Exploring the front of the train . . .
. . . and climbing onto the footplate.

Tea's ready, the cake selected and waiting on our selected table . . .

This time we chose an indoor table in the old Waiting Room, where there are a fine collection of frames jigsaws on the wall.

Time to put the camera away . . . Cheers !

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a lift back to Mirehouse to collect the other car.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 15th January -  Round Boot without the Railway

A previous time up here - 9th August 2014 - Sale Fell and Lothwaite

Next walk - 23rd January -  Irton Fell with Ian and Loes