Excerpt from 'The Lake to Lake Walk' by Alistair Wallace used with express permission of the author.
On reaching the sanctuary of the Sykeside complex after a strenuous day it will be refreshing to know that this evening your accommodation, whether it be the campsite, the bunkhouse or even B&B in the Brotherswater Inn will be of the highest standards.
For many years now Sykeside has been a regular haunt of serious mountaineers, hikers and climbers. The surrounding hills providing a superb backdrop for what I personally consider to be the finest site in the whole of Lakeland.
Accommodation is available in the Brotherswater Pub, where evening meals are also served. A cheaper alternative is the bunkhouse where cooking facilities are available or for the more hardy the peaceful campsite beckons. Whichever type of accommodation you choose, breakfasts are still available in the pub.
As an alternative to the Brotherswater you may wish to visit The Barn the other pub on the site, where seasoned hikers tend to gather and compare notes over a pint or two of the local real ale.
The complex also includes showers, laundry and a well stocked camp shop, where it is advised you replenish stocks before venturing out onto day two, as there are no facilities of note between here and Pooley Bridge.
Sykeside is a superb complex, I can think of no other word to describe it and it is so refreshing for a backpacker to know that they are not going to be kept awake by self centred visitors making merry throughout the night. Such behaviour is very swiftly dealt with.
Reproduced by kind permission of Roger Bickerstaff and The BMW Club Journal from 'The Forgotten Valley'
On the northern side of the pass is a small area called ‘Brothers Water’. Near the lake is an Inn bearing the same name and an adjacent campsite called ‘Sykeside’. The set up here is based ideally for walkers, but can easily transcend to the tourist on two or four wheels. There is the camping, as said, and then there’s an interim, a bunkhouse with rooms catering for two or six some with toilet and wash basins. There is the ability to self cater or take advantage of the bunk house bar meals. We were staying at the Inn, which has 8 rooms with en-suite facilities and a restaurant with a resident chef. The meals are superb and the portions are a dietician’s nightmare. Exceptional value aside this is a wonderful location for those fond of stretching their legs. We have in the past parked up for the week and sought trails of adventure on foot towards all points of the compass.
There is a circuit that is driver’s or rider’s bliss, with stunning scenery, good surfaced roads, challenging bends and a terrific grin factor. Even those attributed with licenses for cars and bikes will yearn for a two-wheeled option, in this the best of weather. The views were enthralling and the dry stone walls unforgiving.
From GEM Journal - Angela and Barry Mills
‘Sykeside Camping Park’ is set in a beautiful position with the stunning backdrop of Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield and Brotherswater just along the valley – how could you not fall in love with a position like this. The campsite has 18 hard standings all with electric hook ups, the rest of the site is grass and allocated for tents. It has no licence for touring caravans - only Tents and Motorhomes. Overlooking the site is a central facility block housing a well stocked shop which also doubles up as the reception during the day, a public telephone kiosk and toilets which have been refurbished this year, which contain hand basins and showers with plenty of free hot water. There’s also a dish-washing and laundry room and further around the same block there’s the Barn End Bar for evening drinks with an outside seating area for those hot sunny days and patio heaters for the evening.
At the entrance to the site there’s the Brotherswater Inn with a good selection of ales and large picture windows where you can sit and relax and enjoy the views. It you fancy a meal the Inn has an excellent menu served daily all week and a similar but reduced menu can be had in the Barn End Bar on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening after 6.00pm. Breakfast is served at the Inn between 8.00 – 9.30 am each morning.
Sykeside is ideally positioned for exploring the Lake District, with Windermere 10 miles to the south and Keswick a bit further north. From the back of the site you can pick up a network of bridleways leading to Hartsop and Patterdale in one direction and Harts Crag and Scandale Fell in the other. For a more relaxing time there’s fishing on Brotherswater close by, all that required is a National Rod License – maggots are banned but other baits are OK – or you can just sit and take in the view, and I can promise it will be very difficult to leave this idyllic site.