It is a lovely day so we say good-bye to Hazel and Martin and decide to try the anti-clockwise lakeside path, up the eastern side of the lake. This is stunningly beautiful, with trees just coming into leaf and accompanying bird-song. This lake is slightly less of a tourist honey-pot than some but the peace is somewhat shattered by a canoeing party who are accompanied by a howling dog, complete with life-jacket.
We are out of practice with walking and have done no more than gentle strolls since our accident last year, so we are unsure how we will hold up. We decide to walk for two hours and then turn round. As two hours approach, we enquire of one of the many people heading in a clockwise direction, how far it is all the way round the lake. We are told it is eight miles. It is a little rough in places but flat so we change our plan, as it seems it would only be a little further to complete a circumnavigation and it it always preferable to have a circular route. There are plenty of wildflowers to observe and we see many tadpoles in a large puddle. None of the ramblers’ group coming in the opposite direction seem to have been observant enough to spot these, so we point them out.
We head to Keswick, which is over touristy and currently hosting a jazz festival. There is however a distinct lack of toilets, with one set closed and another being unavailable due to refurbishment. We therefore have to go in to the town and after a brief ice-cream stop, head on round the lake past Isthmus Cottage, ten minutes later the lake, which should be on our left, is confusingly on our right. We haven’t brought a map with us but I am sure there isn’t another lake immediately to the north of Derwent Water. I am correct, there isn’t and we pass Isthmus Cottage again. We appear to be caught in an impenetrable vortex as we encounter Isthmus Cottage for the third time. At this point we seek advice and are told we need to go back to Keswick and take what sounds like a very long way round. This may be more than we are up for so we opt for hopping on the hop on hop off ferry that stops at various points round the lake. There are two of these an hour. As we reach a point about 500 yards from the jetty we see a sign saying that the next ferry is at 1.00pm. It is 12.58pm. It turns out that even after walking six miles and sporting some burgeoning blisters, I can still break into what passes for a run. The jetty nearest to the campsite is closed so we alight at High Brandlehow, after a pleasant voyage along the lake. Derwent Water is home to St Herbert’s Island, which was used as Wildcat Island in two film versions of Swallows and Amazons. We walk back along to the campsite, retracing our route from yesterday evening. We encounter the ramblers’ group again who enquire if we have walked all the way round, obviously thinking that we must have been pretty speedy. Tempting though it is to lie, we do admit to having made a boat-assisted circuit. All in all a great start to the holiday.