Reflections on Buttermere

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I really wouldn’t want to encourage you because it can already get overcrowded even at the quietest of seasons and I rather suspect (whispers heretically, and at the risk of upsetting a few friends) it is just a tad, dare I say, over-rated – but a circuit of Buttermere is a splendid way to spend an afternoon. That’s not to say I didn’t fall in love with the place the first time I visited, because I did. And I have been back many times, even though I prefer it’s quieter twin, but more on that later.

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Buttermere is something of a paradox, it manages to be secluded yet busy, writ small on a human scale yet anciently vast; Buttermere is a secret that everyone seems to know.  You can always guarantee company as you walk round the lake.  More so than the artificial Tarn Hows, this valley is Lakeland in miniature.  I always feel that Tarn Hows is someones idea of what the Lake District should look like; here you get the real thing  – everything the lakeland is about in a few square miles.  The sloping fells that surround the lake, especially on its southern shore, rise so gently that you scarcely notice how high they really are. This is Lakeland on a human scale.

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For me this is England in miniature – you pass through every possible rural variation in the space of a couple of hours; pastoral, sylvan, meadows, pasture, fells both high and low, working farms, a village replete with pubs and a church, waterfalls and even an engineered tunnel.  And of course, the lake.

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The lake is only 1½ miles long and ¾ mile wide and is circuited by a fairly easy path, though there is some brief road walking involved.
The first time I visited neither of the two pubs in the village allowed dogs, which considering the popularity of the place, seemed commercial madness.

Much to our delight The Bridge Hotel has seen the error of their ways and now dogs are very much welcome in the public bar.  The Bridge Hotel has much to recommend it, good good and beer, with friendly and attentive staff.  Rosie and Heidi resting below –

245 dogs in pubs

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