United Kingdom

Paddleboarding in the Lake District, Bassenthwaite


As all pub quiz aficionados will know there is only one lake in the Lake District. Bassenthwaite Lake is the only body of water in the Lake District to have the word ‘lake’ in its name. All the others are ‘waters’ or ‘meres’ or ‘tarns’.

It’s worth paddling here for no other reason than to be able to say you’ve SUPed on the only lake in the Lake District!


Bassenthwaite is the most northerly of all the lakes in the English Lake District and has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The River Derwent flows into the lake at its southern end and back out again at the north, under Ouse Bridge.

You need a permit from the Lake District National Park at a cost of £6.00 for one day. You can purchase this online at https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/things-to-do/water/bassenthwaite-permits  

Route Directions

  1. Bassenthwaite Lake is often windy, so why not try a downwinder from Ouse Bridge to Blackstock Point (or vice versa).
  2. Or paddle the full 14 km perimeter (excluding the no boating areas). On your way round, stop and pay a visit to St Bega’s Church which lies on the eastern shore of Bassenthwaite Lake. The oldest part of this church is more than 1000 years old. It is said that God ordered St Bega to build a church somewhere that it would never snow, and this is the spot she chose. if you see any snow here please let me know!

Local Knowledge

  • Sat Nav


  • Nearest Parking

    There are two small car parks at the northern tip of Bassentwaite near to Ouse Bridge, each holding six or seven cars. what3words: stormy.poses.interacts Or park for up to 2 hours at near Blackstock Point. what3words: pays.reference.factually

  • Launch Point

    At the Ouse Bridge end of the lake, you can walk down some steps to a small beach, less than a minute away from the car park at what3words: boards.metro.teaspoons At the bottom of the lake, there is easy access, just a few minutes walk from the car park, at what3words: finishes.defender.songbook

  • Places to Stay

    Bassenthwaite Lakeside Lodges is situated on the eastern bank of the lake and has direct water access.

  • Places to Eat / Drink

    I haven't eaten there myself, but I'm told the Pheasant (on the A66) is worth a visit

Things to Know

  • There are two no boating zones on Bassenthwaite. One at the southern end of the lake and one at Bowness Bay. These zones are shown on the webpage above. Please avoid paddling there.
  • Bassenthwaite is shallow, especially on the eastern shore. Watch out for your fin!
  • There is a popular sailing club at the north end of the lake. When the wind is up you will need to avoid the sailing boats.
  • Look out for open water swimmers. You can probably see them better than they can see you.
  • If you intend to paddle on more than one lake, please give your board a good wash and dry between lakes to avoid the spread of non-native invasive species.

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