Brothers Water located in the Hartsop valley is a small lake in the eastern part of the English Lake District, in the county of Cumbria. Previously called Broad Water, it lies at the northern end of Kirkstone Pass, providing picturesque views on the descent towards Patterdale.
Dorothy Wordsworth made reference to it as “. . the glittering lively lake. . .”. She was delighted with the setting. The lake is not among the most visited in the National park, being shallow and full of reeds. Water lilies blossom in July, providing colour.
The name Broad Water was changed after a tragic accident, in the 19th century, when two brothers drowned there. Two other brothers had also drowned there previously, in about 1875, whilst ice skating. Dorothy Wordsworth said “It is remarkable that two pairs of brothers have been drowned in that lake.”
North east of Brothers water is Hartsop, which has several seventeenth century stone farm buildings and cottages. Some of the buildings still contain spinning rooms where villagers would have produced their own clothing, selling surplus in the local towns. Hartsop carries the meaning “valley of the deer”, which would have lived in the woodlands of the lower areas of the surrounding fells.
A pleasnt walk through woodland skirts the western shore. From its north end the walk runs to Patterdale. Southward it heads over the Kirkstone Pass en route to Ambleside.
On the west side of Brothers Water lies Hartsop Hall. The 16th century building was passed to Sir John Lowther during the 17th century.
The village of Hartsop lies close to the northeast corner of the lake. Brothers Water may be classified in one of two ways: as one of the Lake District’s smallest lakes or, possibly one of its largest tarns.
The lake is home to many trout and harbours a rare species of fish, the schelly.
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