The Times review

A fantastic review in The Times today:

A good walk: Ennerdale Water, Cumbria

We teetered along the rocky path, watching our footing among the loose stones and tree roots

A lovely day at Ennerdale Water
A lovely day at Ennerdale WaterGETTY IMAGES

Waking at Beckfoot Retreat, everything was absolutely quiet and still. With the nearest main road over the hills and far away, and the glittering wavelets of Ennerdale Water at the feet of the fells for a view, we were drawn irresistibly outdoors.

Ennerdale Water is the most westerly lake in the Lake District, and the quietest of all those easily accessible. The only road beside it is the crunchy forestry track that we followed along the north shore.

Big tranches of forest clothe the lower slopes of Great Borne and Starling Dodd on the north side. We moved from shadow to sun splashes under silver birch, rowan, ash and larch, looking up and beyond the trees to see the pink splotchy shoulders of Red Pike and High Stile, 2,000ft above us against the cloudy sky.

Ennerdale is a shapely valley, scoured by a glacier high on Great Gable to the east. The glacier pushed its moraine or rubbly foot down the valley towards the sea, piling up a long tongue of rocks where the River Liza runs into the lake. We turned down across this rough grassy hinterland before setting back westwards along the steeper and stonier southern shore of Ennerdale Water.

It seems incredible that a scheme should be afoot to bury nuclear waste in the granite rock below this lake. But that’s the situation. The lake is deep, dark and cold, a broad trench of water full of life — salmon and trout, and the rare Arctic char, a race of fish sealed into the valley when the glacier retreated. We teetered along the rocky path, watching our footing among the loose stones and tree roots, as white-faced Herdwick sheep watched us from the bracken.

A sandpiper bobbed on a shoreline rock before uttering a silvery pipe of a warning, then taking off and flying low over the water. The white bar across its tail flashed in the sun as it turned and scooted for safety elsewhere.

A scramble up and down the slippery rocks of Angler’s Crag, polished to a shine of red and green by millions of boot soles. And a last section round the west end of Ennerdale Water, looking east to Pillar and Pillar Rock, guarding the mountain approaches to Ennerdale as they have done for the past 400 million years.

Start Bowness Knott car park, Croasdale, Ennerdale Water CA23 3AU (OS ref NY 110153).

Getting there A5086 from Cockermouth to Cleator Moor; left to Ennerdale Bridge; fork right at school to Croasdale, right to Bowness Knott car park.

Walk 7½ miles, tricky underfoot, OS Explorer OL4. Left along track, clockwise round lake. In 1½ miles, pass modern bridge on right (131143); in another 350m, fork right (134142) down to cross 2 footbridges. Bear left through ruined wall; head across pasture for gate in plantation wall (131138). Go through; right along track; in 100m, right through gate. Left on the outside of plantation wall and on along south lake shore. In 2 miles, scramble over outcrop of Angler’s Crag (103149); on clockwise round lake. In 2½ miles, path turns inland at Bowness to car park.

Conditions A mild rock scramble at Angler’s Crag (watch your footing). Stumbly path along south side of lake.

Lunch The Gather Café (01946 862453,; the Fox and Hounds Inn (01946 861373, or the Shepherds Arms (01946 861249,, all at Ennerdale Bridge.

Accommodation/evening meal Beckfoot Retreat, Ennerdale (01946 748144,

More information The Gather Café (see above);


Two Ways Home come to Beckfoot to film their next Music Video

Two Ways Home, a singing duo, are bringing their ‘folk with a twist of country’ to Beckfoot to shoot their next music video.  Inspired by the mountains, lake and our old Bank Barn, Lewis Fowler, one half of Two Ways Home, suggested the location to the Director.  Lewis has attended two of our exclusive Singer Songwriter Retreats and is booked to return in April.

The team at Beckfoot are looking forward to enjoying Lewis and Isi singing and hoping for some extra songs by the wood burner in the evening!

Check them out here:

Lewis at Sing Songwriters' Retreat

Lewis at Singer Songwriters’ Retreat

Lewis and Isi of Two Ways Home

Lewis and Isi of Two Ways Home

Ennerdale is NOT under water!!

Happy New Year!  We are flood-free! Despite our fair share of rain and wind in the last few weeks, we are not flooded and all the roads are passable.  Ennerdale Water did edge up over the footpath but is back down now and you can even see the rock in the middle of the lake peeping up out of the water!   Today we had sun, blue skies and not a whisper of wind.The wood burner is fully stoked and the house is toasty and warm.  Our guests are cosy and returned for some hearty food after walking over the tops to Buttermere and back.

West Cumbria is open.  Beckfoot is open and all is good!

All warm and cosy at Beckfoot!

We are ready for Christmas and the New Year.

Despite all the bad weather reported in Cumbria, Ennerdale was lucky to avoid the huge downpours.  Yes it is wet and windy, but the wood burner is stoked, the Christmas decorations are up and the Chef is planning and preparing.  We look forward to welcoming six guests for Christmas week.

We already have interesting bookings for January:  an author returning to closet herself away in Great Borne bedroom to finish the book she wrote here two months ago; and a singing duo coming with a cameraman and director to shoot the music video for their next single!

Our valley has Dark Skies accreditation and Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre are hosting Dark Skies events on 9th January and 9th February.  The Centre has new telescopes for visitors to use.  More info available here:

It’s never dull at Beckfoot.  Meanwhile Happy Christmas to all!

Happy New Year from Ennerdale!

As the New Year starts we are busy scheming for the 2015 season.  Our wood burner is blazing and we are planning inspiring retreats from May onwards. From yoga to art and music, we are also launching our Hen Hutch weekends for rural hen parties with willow weaving and camp fire nights or headdress creating with V V Rouleaux and afternoon tea on the lawn.  We have local mountain guides and photographers who will take you to secret views high up amongst the surrounding hills and mountains.  The lake at the bottom of our garden offers half a day of gentle walking and wonderful views.  We can provide a picnic if you want to make a day of it.

You can fish for brown trout – licence available.  Arctic Charr have also lived in the depths of the lake since the Ice Age.

We look forward to welcoming new guests and old friends in the coming year.