Head out with Charlie and Jess of the Travel Project on a one day adventure away from the crowds in the Lake District National Park. Start the day climbing Robinson Fell before cooling down with a wild swim in Derwent Water.
Following the exact route we did is tough but certainly not the hardest way to spend a day in the Lake District. The hike up the fell is steep and will test the legs but ultimately is only a 1.5 hr ascent and the swim is as hard work as you want it to be!
Both parts can of course be scaled up or down depending on how adventurous you are feeling.
If you’re pushed for time, this entire adventure can be completed in around 6 hours. However we recommend taking a whole day so you can stop regularly to take in the beauty of the surrounding area, have lunch on the top of the fell and swim at your leisure.
We had a day in the Lake District and wanted to get stuck in to see what all the fuss was about. We are not fans of overly touristy spots or sticking to the ‘beaten track’ and so were after something a little different that would allow us to explore whilst maintaining that magical feeling of isolation. And so we opted for a two part adventure that would get us up high, before taking us down low for a wild swim.
Part one: The Climb
In the Lake District you are almost overwhelmed by choice when it comes to which routes and areas to hike. But after some research we eventually settled on starting the adventure by tackling Robinson Fell from the car park at the small village of Buttermere, a short but beautiful drive from Keswick in the south-west of the park. At 2,145 ft, Robinson is a good height if you’re after earning some pretty stunning elevated views without completely knackering yourself out. What is more, the way the path winds up the fell it keeps you guessing and reveals dramatic views at every turn.
Once at the top we celebrated with lunch in the form of home made sarnies and slightly too many pastries bought in a small bakery in nearby Keswick, which we recommend as a good place to stock up on snack etc before you get started (Get the chocolate brownie). The top of the fell is very exposed and so the wind was a real factor, although, with some searching there are boulders that do a great job of breaking the wind whilst also allowing you to see for miles across the vast greens and blues of the south-west of the park.
If you have more time and are after more of a testing climbing element to your day, it is possible to head on from the top of Robinson on several dramatic and testing hikes.
Find more information on walking options here.
After we’d stuffed our faces and soaked up the views, we headed back down to our car for the second part of the adventure. Our descent was naturally a breeze in comparison to getting up, and 45 minutes later we were back in our car.
Part Two: The Wild Swim
Having worked up a real sweat tackling Robinson, it was time for our cool down wild swim, so we jumped in the car a drive 20 minutes to Derwent Water, a nearby 5.18km squared lake. We were acting on a tip and so headed for a small, relatively unknown section called Otterbield Bay. Parking up around a 15 minute walk from the bay we made our way through the forest across public footpaths until we reached the lake and after a bit more searching found what can only be described as a magical freshwater beach.
We had arrived at Otterbield Bay.
We stripped off and plunged straight into the water… Now this is probably a good time to mention we tackled this adventure in mid May and although cold, the sun was shining and so our swim was very cold but the sun on our bodies when we got out made it more than bearable.
But believe me when I say we would have swam in pretty much any conditions, perhaps snow aside, for this is an extraordinarily beautiful place to go for a dip. A green forest with moss floor runs down a small hill and onto a secluded pebble beach before meeting the lake. You are surrounded by large vistas on all sides and the sheer scale of this part of the country really hits you - what better way to really experience the Lake District? Plus you don’t need us to sing the virtues of wild swimming (There are enough opinion pieces on that) but the buzz of getting out that water after a day exploring is pretty hard to beat.
What a day. Only thing for it, straight to the nearest pub to stuff our faces and tell tales of the adventure.
- As mentioned above, head to Keswick to stock up on supplies pre adventure, there are lots of little shops and local bakeries that are perfect for all your picnicking needs.
- If you are after some local grub once you’re done, make sure to book a pub before you set off, day before perhaps as the gooduns get booked up, especially in high season.
/ 7 Hrs
/ 3.5 Km Hike
/ 2,145 ft climb
/ 20 Min drive (between the fell and lake)
/ £12 spent (Food)
This is a really great way to feel like you’ve really immersed yourself in the glory of the Lake District. By getting up high you get to really appreciate it’s scale and drama, and by wild swimming you get to experience it from lake level and feel like you’ve almost literally thrown yourself into the adventure.