Derwent Water Splashes

For those that have read my writing before, 👋, for those that haven’t, you might want to leave now as I tend to witter and ramble with only occasionally having a thread and consistent narrative.
Normally I’m very diabetes focussed but today it will be mainly about water and walking. Do not panic though, I’ll throw in a bad diabetes decision in there too to tenuously maintain my writing theme.
A plan formed around Wednesday of last week. Laura and Martha were off for a hair colouring session and the weather forecast was looking peachy. Maggie the mutt gave a perfect excuse to get her out into the Lake District for the first time. As the forecast was getting drier and hotter my plans shifted from a hill climb to looking for a lake based route where lots of jumping in the water to keep cool could happen. Just to be clear it would be Maggie splashing around and not me. Buttermere, Crummick Water and Ennerdale Water were all good options. However, Derwent Water ticked lots of boxes. It has a circular route of about 10 miles but also has the Keswick Launch boat that nips across the Water at various points. This meant if either of our sets of legs got tired, or it got too hot, we could jump aboard and get a lift back to the start.

Early start meant early to bed. Then the phone vibrated with an Aurora Watch alert. So obviously I climbed out of bed and went up to the highest window in the house to look out and see if the aurora borealis was visible. And yep, it distracted me for half an hour with some impressive colours that were massively enhanced by my phone’s camera.

Anyway, back to bed and the alarm was set for 6.15 along with a reminder to set a temporary target (basal) on the insulin pump. See, I told you there’d be occasional diabetes mentions! The early start was planned to avoid the forecast heat of the afternoon sun and the inevitable traffic gridlock that would appear later in the day.
The alarm went off, obviously, and after doing as told by the reminder, and a quick breakfast, I shoved some* food in my bag and put a tired Maggie in the back of the car.
The drive up to Keswick was enjoyable on the eyes. Coming over Dunmail Raise there were a bunch of walkers coming the way. The lanyards suggested an organised event and yes it was the Keswick to Barrow walk I did with my sisters 12 years ago. And, yep, I wrote about it here.
We parked at the Rugby Club which was a comparative bargain at £5 for all day and supported a local business directly.
Setting off we went off clockwise aiming to stay as close to the shore as possible for lots of splashing fun. After passing the car park by the Theatre By The Lake, Maggie got her first taste of Derwent Water and was as happy as, well, a dog in water. At this point the thought of fuel popped into my mind and I had half a meal deal chicken Caesar wrap. No insulin was taken as I knew the energy used would cover the carbs.

Now normally I’m marching off on runs and trying to beat, admittedly slow, times and deadlines. Today however I tried to slow it down a little and let Maggie dictate the pace. Unfortunately for me her pace is normally zoomy. The fellow walkers at that time of day were a mixed bunch but everyone I had a quick chat to with agreed it was better to be out earlier to enjoy the cooler sun.

After a while the shoreline narrowed. After standing for a little time to wonder if we’d be able to get through without going up to the road, our answer appeared in shorts and running vest coming the other way. His feet looked fairly dry so we cracked on. Some great views across the water at this point and we watched some rowers have an early morning workout.

After a bit of scrambling we made it around to a point before Lowcrag Wood. Here there didn’t appear to be any other option than go to a path on the other side of the road through some woods. So we crossed and carried on. Maggie was let off the lead again in here but after breaking the trust and nearly venturing onto the road, the lead was clicked back on.
Up ahead was a ‘Private No Entry’ sign that signified a choice to make. Take a gamble and go left following a path that doesn’t appear to loop back, but goes to the Lodore Falls, or go onto the road and follow that for a a third of a mile to rejoin the path around the lake.
Obviously we took the gamble. We went up to the falls and at this point could look down on the very lovely Lodore Falls Hotel.

What I could also see were even more ‘Hotel Guests Only’ signs. Without going rogue and strolling through the people enjoying their find breakfasts outside there was no option than to a mini retrace.
So back to the road it was. This was the most awkward session but the road was quiet and it was only about 500m so not too stressful.
Next was a return the close to the lake. We’d reached the bottom end so after crossing a footbridge I took a rest, enjoyed the view and wolfed down the second half of my wrap and a bag of salt and vinegar McCoys. Up until now I hadn’t done an insulin bolus and numbers were staying well within range. I didn’t add any Fiasp here either as I knew my pace meant carbs were being used fairly consistently. I’d also had a few wine gums before then but not many.

A few snacks for Maggie here too, along with some water in a small metal bowl I’d brought along. As is normal, she had a decent few slurps and then ran off with the bowl in her mouth hoping I’ll run after her to join in her game.

After a distracted retrieval we started up the west side of Derwent Water. By now it was about 10am and the day was starting to warm up. Because of this we kept in the welcome shade of the woods. However we also took some breaks on the stony shore with others enjoying the sun at the same time.

* <-- Yeah, that asterisk earlier did mean something! It was also here that the absence of the bag of dried mango was noted. My food packing at 06:30 didn’t appear to be perfect. Hey ho; mini grumble to myself and crack on.

As we moved up, my eyes went left to look at heights of Cat Bells and a steady stream of walkers making their way up. I agreed with the dog that staying low was definitely the easiest and coolest option.
The number of walkers around us was steadily increasing as we passed Hawse End and Maggie found lots of other dogs to play with. Unfortunately for her this is where we said goodbye to the water for quite a while. On the plus side there was a lot of shade to keep cool.
As we made our way back to Keswick, passing through Portinscale I stopped at a coffee van called Harry’s Bean Machine. Harry was a really friendly chap who supplied me with a tasty latte and a delicious luxury caramel slice. Highly recommended if you’re passing.
(And this is where the wheels fell a little off my diabetes van. Again I didn’t bolus but about 15 minutes later I was guessing I should have, with a reading of 9.9 and a vertical up arrow. The sensible decision would be to ignore it and let the tech do the job. However a little heat induced tiredness and assumption that I knew better led me to rage bolus with a guesstimate of the carbs in the caramel slice. Inevitably 20 minutes later I was dropping like a stone and fixing that with wine gums and a prayer. Thankfully calm was restored before the drive home.)
Well nourished, we cracked on and finally arrived back at the rugby club car park. It was a lot busier now and I was very grateful for the peace of the early start.

As it was so hot though, and the dog had walked so far, a reward of a dip in the Water was needed again. We did one final loop down to the edge and a few stick throws in got her swimming and fetching in the cool water. Everyone was happy.

A route map is provided by but I left my printed version at home along with the mango. Maybe that’s karma though as the orientation of the map with it running south to north from top to bottom is still messing with my head.

Driving home Maggie slept all the way and we had a small degree of smugness watching the cars queueing north while we whizzed back down to north Lancashire.
It was a great morning by the water and I’d thoroughly recommend it as a low level walk that still had plenty of variety. For a diabetes perspective it went well and lessons were relearned about trusting the tech over instinct.