The Mr Men and Little Miss books are flavour of the month in my house. My favourite was always Mr Tickle. He’s big and orange with long arms – what’s not to like? But I’m also enjoying some of the characters which didn’t get a look in when I was a youngster.
One we’ve been reading a lot lately is Mr Small. Poor Mr Small is sad because he can’t think of a job he can do with his diminutive stature. He falls into mustard pots, gets trapped between eggs and even gets shut in match boxes. Poor Mr Small.
He eventually settles on a job with a man who writes children’s books. He tells the man his story about looking for a job and the man writes a book called ‘Mr Small’ which we’ve all just enjoyed reading. A gripping twist.
Now this got me thinking. Poor Mr Small felt sad because all the jobs he tried were geared towards the big hitters. The Mr Happys, Mr Tickles and Mr Bumps of this world. It’s always the way – the little guy never gets a look in. And I have to say I’d overlooked Mr Small until recently, always reaching for the more popular titles in the series.
It’s the same with Brothers Water. Like Mr Small, it’s the shortest walk in my Lakes of the Lakes Challenge. How can a walk around Brothers Water ever compete with the likes of Windermere, Derwent Water and Grasmere? I’d arrogantly brushed it off as an irritating blotch on my list of lakes. One I’d have to latch on to another trip. An afterthought. A quick canter round to tick it off the list and that’s that. Like Mr Small, I’d underestimated Brothers Water…
My primary goal for this trip was the mighty Ullswater. With nearly 22 miles to cover, it felt sensible to drive up the evening before. With the light evenings and only 2.5 miles, a walk around Brothers Water made for a perfect gentle evening stroll before settling into my sleeping bag for the night. Something to pass the time but nothing more.
Approaching from the South means driving over the Kirkstone Pass and witnessing the splendour of Brothers Water on your approach. I arrived from the North, meaning I hadn’t yet seen the lake. Indeed, it didn’t even show on my sat nav, such is the indignity.
I parked up around 6:30pm, one other car in the car park. The stunning surroundings of the Hartsop Valley there to greet me. A 360 degree panorama of mountains, none of them huge, all of them beautiful. I can sum up the picture in one word: ‘green’. The slopes of the hills are grassy and verdant. It’s a calming place to be as you walk along the pleasant woodland path, the river of clear mountain water flowing into the lake.
Before you know it, the lake is behind you, as the path approaches a farm before turning left across the fields to Sykeside Campsite. A lovely spot, I was drawn by the delightful smells wafting from the Brotherswater Inn. I had a boil-in-the-bag chilli waiting for me back at my tent, so I left the temptation of steak and ale pie and turned back towards the car park.
This section would ordinarily be a bit rubbish, were it not for the track which runs alongside the road, keeping you away from what little traffic there was on this evening. You catch glimpses of the water through the trees and the whole scene is very peaceful.
The track eventually comes to an end, leaving you to cross the A592 to finish the last few yards on the roadside footpath. All too soon, my walk had ended and I was gobsmacked at how much I’d enjoyed it. It’s ideal for children, or an elderly dog. You can race round in less than an hour or linger a while at the pub. However you decide to tackle it, you won’t be disappointed – just don’t write it off.
Like the story of Mr Small, I think you’ll enjoy a walk around Brothers Water. It might not rank among the likes of Windermere, Ullswater and Coniston in terms of size. But in terms of offering pure Lakeland perfection in miniature, it takes some beating.
Highs and Lowdown
Start / Finish: Car park at Cow Bridge
Distance: 2.5 miles (4 km)
Terrain: Good paths throughout
Facilities: Various options in Glenridding and Patterdale; Brotherswater Inn en route
*These routes and descriptions are only ever intended to be a personal record of my adventures, which may inspire your own. Hillwalking involves a degree of risk, so please make sure you are properly equipped and prepared if you choose to follow them.