The Osprey Safari is a self-driven electric boat ride around Esthwaite Water, taking you to six different locations.
A guide book will illuminate points of interest, from the resident osprey to the formation of reed beds, the history of Archbishop Sandys and Beatrix Potter’s life and work with Herdwick sheep. Beatrix Potter used her wealth to buy farms in the Lake District. Farming became her passion, as did the preservation of the natural landscape. When she died she bequeathed her estates to the National Trust, who manage them with the care and attention she would have approved of.
For the Wordsworth enthusiasts, a copy of The Prelude and the Lyrical Ballads are available to read while making the journey around the lake. Wordsworth was particularly fond of Esthwaite Water because he went to the Grammar school at Hawkshead and used the lake for recreation and inspiration, capturing its many moods in his prose. The grammar school was established by Archbishop Sandys, whose forebears still live in the valley and still own the lake. Esthwaite Water is the only privately owned lake in the Lake District.
Ospreys have been visiting the lake for the past 13 years, and successfully nesting for 5 years. During their season from April to October they can be seen fishing on Esthwaite Water most days, and if you are particularly lucky you will see them hunt and dive and catch fish. For some this can be next to their boat!
When the osprey has caught its fish, the drama begins. Red kites, ever present, will engage in dog fights to wrestle the fish from the osprey. Terrified, the other wildfowl on the lake will panic and scream and head for cover. When over, the victor takes its fishy prey home to its sitting partner and chicks.
Photographs of the osprey on Esthwaite Water hang in the Cafe on the Lake, and sightings by visitors are logged.
Without you knowing, the safari will take you past the otter holt. Nocturnal movie clips can be watched in the Cafe on the Lake. Otters were once common in the area, but hunted to extinction by the 1950’s they are only just gaining a toe hold, feeding on the abundant trout, roach, pike and perch which inhabit the waters. The Nature Lodge on site has a collection of fish bones recovered from the otter holt. They demonstrate the huge size of the fish they manage to hunt down.
At springtime the Osprey Safari is a delight, as the nesting swans, geese, ducks, oyster catchers, great crested grebes, coots and moorhens are all visible. The reed nesting birds less so. For the lucky ones the heron and the bittern are a delight.
Should you arrive without binoculars then we have them for hire, and wet weather gear is available to buy at a nominal cost.
After the safari there is the opportunity to take cream tea or a more substantial lunch in our Cafe on the Lake.