Buttermere is one of the small lakes, only a mile and a quarter long and about half a mile wide. It is set in the Buttermere valley close to two other lakes, Crummock and Loweswater. On two sides, the mountains plunge down to the lake. In fact the lake lies almost in a basin surrounded by mountains and its shores are well wooded with both Scotch fir and larch trees.
The lake is popular with photographers, mainly because of the wonderful reflections of mountain and forest in the still waters. The village of Buttermere lies close by, at the foot of Buttermere Hause, and dates back to the time of the Norman Conquest. It was the last stronghold of the defending English and the only valley the Normans failed to capture. These days it caters for the tourist and has several cafés.
There is a good footpath which almost circles the lake and it is possible to complete the circuit in around two hours. In fact, the path only leaves the lakeside at the head, close to Gategarth Farm. At one point the path passes through the tunnelled rock. The track begins to the left of the Fish Hotel in Buttermere village.
Buttermere Lake is popular with fisherman and is home to the Lake District char. This fish is a relative of the salmon, which is believed to have been here since the last Ice Age.