Scarness Bay, Bassenthwaite Lake
This is the only part of the lake shore with formal public-footpath access. Lakeland’s north-western fells can be seen on the far shore and it’s perfect for sunsets, although you can hear the A66 opposite.
The easiest swim is the pebble beach at Scarness landing stage. There’s an interesting boulder-lined beach after the boardwalk; head south around the shore for up to a mile to Broadness Farm. Solitude-seekers might head beyond Orchard Wood to the more secret beach north of Scarness.
Directions: Signed L (Scarness/church) off A591, 3⁄4 mile N of Mirehouse (CA12 4QE)/Dodd Wood. After 2 miles at road end, park just before the entrance to Bassenthwaite Lakeside Lodges (CA12 4QZ) and follow the signed foothpath L down to Scarness Bay. Or for solitude head through the lodge entrance, bearing R onto the Armathwaite footpath. After 1⁄2 mile bear L at the cross paths to shore and woods.