Activity breaks at Cumbria Outdoors - Canoe expedition - Keswick to Cockermouth

Cumbria Outdoors are pleased to offer this exciting new 3 day, 2 night canoeing expedition programme from Keswick to Cockermouth.

The programme is offered to adult only groups looking to appreciate the beautiful stretches of rivers and lakes that the Lake District offers - from the best viewing point - your own canoe!

This trip is suitable for beginners to canoeing, but also to groups looking forward to expand their knowledge and experience.  We also offer this journey in kayaks if preferred - just let us know.

Canoe expedition - Keswick to Cockermouth - itinerary
Day 1Evening meal - meet our Outdoor Leaders and confirm route.  Overnight accommodation at our Hawse End Centre
Day 2Canoe journey from Hawse End (Derwentwater) to Scarness (Bassenthwaite) - via lakes and river.  Evening meal and overnight accommodation at our Hawse End Centre
Day 3Continue canoe journey from Scarness to Cockermouth - via lake and river - depart 5pm
Price - from £360 per person depending on group size

Setting off from Hawse End on Saturday morning with your lunch, we paddle down Derwentwater and enter the middle section of the River Derwent, paddling along the gentle rapids looking up towards Skiddaw mountain.  After entering Bassenthwaite Lake we carry on the journey to Scarness.

Interestingly, Bassenthwaite Lake is the only body of water in the Lake District to actually use the word 'lake' in its title.  Rich in wildlife, the lake is home to many important habitats and species, including a breeding ground for rare Osprey, and the only remaining colonies of vendace (a rare ice-age fish) in England.  You will also see the Bishop of Barf on your journey, a white washed pillar of rock perched high on the slopes of Bark Fell.  According to local legend, the rock marks the spot where the Bishop of Derry was killed when he fell off his horse in 1783 following a drunken bet.

From Scarness we disembark and return to Hawse End in the evening via minibus to enjoy another evening meal together and overnight accommodation.

After another hearty Cumbrian breakfast, we continue from Scarness to the beautiful gem town of Cockermouth, using some of the classic touring section of the Lower Derwent.

Cockermouth, the birthplace of William Wordsworth, is a thriving town with medieval and Georgian streets beneath the castle walls.  It is well known for its speciality shops and art galleries, and is home to Jennings Brewery - their riverside site influenced by the availability of pure and plentiful water from the castle well.  Their beers are widely available in pubs and shops throughout the country.

From Cockermouth, we disembark and return to Hawse End late afternoon via minibus, for departure.

The centres are situated some 1.9 miles south of Portinscale on the edge of Derwentwater.

Grid reference:  NW 249 213


Hawse End Cottage/Hawse End Centre
CA12 5UE


  • Take the turning off the A66 signposted to Portinscale, just west of the Keswick junction.  
  • Follow the road through Portinscale continuing for approximately 1.9 miles following the signs for Hawse End Centre passing the Derwentwater Marina and on through the woods past 2 right hand turnings signposted to Ullock and Stair.  
  • The turning to the centres is signposted and is on the left directly opposite a double fronted house set in its own grounds.  
  • Follow this drive along to the centres.

(Pick up and drop off at Penrith Railway Station can be arranged at a supplement).

Hawse End Centre

Hawse End Centre Hawse End Lounge Hawse End Dining Room 3

Hawse End Centre is a large, comfortable country mansion which is ideal for groups.

It is located at the head of the magnificent Borrowdale Valley, directly across Derwentwater from Keswick, and has stunning views with access to the lakeside and mountains.  The nearby famous Lake District town of Keswick can be accessed by a short cruise on Derwentwater and the launch stop is conveniently close to the house.

For those more active there is a lakeside walk around Derwentwater which also takes in Keswick.

Room plans

Hawse End room plan (PDF 57kb)

Hawse End room list (PDF 200kb)

Hawse End Cottage

Cottage BBQ and Patio Cottage Exterior from Lake Cottage Exterior

Located on the shores of picturesque Derwentwater, at the head of the magnificent Borrowdale Valley, this is a traditionally built stone cottage in the grounds of Hawse End Centre.  The cottage is situated at the foot of Catbells (which Alfred Wainwright described as "one of his favourites, which while modest in height, offers splendid views").

The nearby famous Lake District town of Keswick can be accessed by a short cruise on Derwentwater, and the launch stop is conveniently close to the cottage.  For those more active, there is a lakeside walk around Derwentwater which also takes in Keswick.

This is a truly stunning location, with Derwentwater only metres from the cottage door.

Room plans

Hawse End cottage room plan (PDF 54kb)

Hawse End cottage room list (PDF 177kb)

For activities:

  • footwear that can get wet (trainers, boots)
  • 3 pairs of trousers (not jeans)
  • T-shirts and underclothes (thermal recommended)
  • 3 warm jumpers (fleece)
  • waterproof coat and trousers (can be provided by the centre if you prefer)
  • hat and gloves
  • head torch
  • medication
  • dry bag (if you have one)
  • Towel

Plus comfortable casual clothes.

Specialist equipment such as buoyancy aids are provided by the centre.

You will have the use of a drying room on site.

A packed lunch will be provided every day

Day 1

Evening meal:

  • Cumberland sausage, mashed potato, seasonal vegetables
  • vegetarian curry with all the trimmings
  • damson cobbler

Day 2

Full English breakfast

Evening meal:

  • local Herdwick lamb hotpot
  • tasty homemade Mediterranean vegetable lasagne
  • sticky toffee pudding

Day 3

Full English breakfast

We meet all dietary requirements, whether this be lifestyle choices, medical or cultural