Lake District Walks

by Sep 27, 2012UK2 comments

The UK has lots of great National Parks to explore but surely one of the best is The Lake District. As the UK’s 2nd largest and most visited National Park it has a huge amount to offer to the keen outdoor enthusiast, particularly walkers. There are literally so many great Lake District Walks to do that you could visit year after year and never do the same walk twice.

Lake District Walks – Where to Go

When giving advice on what walks to do much depends on whether you are the type that likes gentle valley walks with great views of lakes and mountains or whether you like something with more ascent and possibly a scramble or two. Being a large National Park if you don’t have your own transport your choice of walk could be determined by where your accommodation is based. If you don’t have your own transport or if you feel uneasy about your navigation skills but still want to do some classic Lake District Walks why not contact us to ask about our next trip to the Lake District (we usually visit 3 or 4 times a year). For this guide to Lake District Walks however I have decided to separate the walks based largely on what Ordnance Survey Explorer Map they appear. The National Park is divided into 4 maps as follows:

OS Explorer Map OL4 – The Lake District NW
OS Explorer Map OL5 – The Lake District NE
OS Explorer Map OL6 – The Lake District SW
OS Explorer Map OL7 – The Lake District SE

Lake District Walks – OL4 NW area

Since it’s called The Lake District let’s mention first the large bodies of water that are contained within this map, namely Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwent Water, Crummock Water, Buttermere and Ennerdale Water. If you like to base yourself where you have plenty of shops for food and outdoor clothing then the obvious place would be Keswick which has lots of accommodation to choose from. For walks in this area I would recommend the following:

  1. The Newlands Horseshoe from Hawse End. A long 10 miles route with over 1000 metres of ascent that includes peaks of Cat Bells, High Spy, Dale Head and Hindscarth.
  2. Circuit of Buttermere. One for an afternoon stroll or possibly on a bad weather day this route which is a little over 4 miles explores both banks of Buttermere and should only take a couple of hours to complete.
  3. If you happen to be visiting in Autumn then perhaps a route that includes a forest would be an attractive option. Lord’s Seat and Graystones from Whinlatter Forest Park could be just the thing. At 10 miles long and with over 900 metres of ascent this route begins in the forest before heading out to various 500 metre fells, including Lord’s Seat and Graystones.
Hindscarth summit, Lake District
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Hindscarth summit, Lake District

Lake District Walks – OL5 NE area

Contains Thirlmere and Ullswater and Penrith for supplies and shops. Classsic walks include:

  1. The Southern Shore of Ullswater from Glenridding. This 7 mile route includes a trip on the steamer (boat) from Glenridding to Howtown Pier so budget for this. From Howtown Pier you simply walk along the South shore of the lake back to Glenridding. A great afternoon walk option.
  2. Blencathra via Sharp Edge from Scales. Classic route a little over 5 miles and with almost 700 metres of ascent but with the great scramble that is Sharp Edge. Best tackled on a good day and not for those who suffer vertigo.
  3. Helvellyn from Glenridding. Large car park at Glenridding for one of the most popular Lake District Walks. The route is 10 miles, involves over 1000 metres of ascent and includes the perfect easy introduction to scrambling in the form of Striding Edge.

Lake District Walks – OL6 SW area

Contains Wast Water (England’s deepest lake) and Coniston Water (where Donald Campbell died in 1967 trying to break his own water speed record). Some good Lake District Walks to consider here include:

  1. The Old Man of Coniston and Wetherlam from Coniston. Almost 10 miles long and with over 1100 metres of ascent this route includes peaks such as The Old Man of Coniston, Brim Fell, Swirl Howl, Black Sails and Wetherlam.
  2. The Langdale Pikes from Great Langdale. One of my favourite Lake District Walks, only 8 miles long with almost 900 metres of ascent this route visit lovely Stickle Tarn (great wild camping location), a great climb up Jack’s Rake to the top of Pavey’s Ark and the peaks of Thunacar Knott, Harrison Stickle, Loft Crag and Pike of Stickle.
  3. Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head. Not the only route to England’s highest summit but included here as it’s the one most do, the easiest and the one you do if attempting the National 3 Peaks Challenge. Just over 6 miles long and almost 1000 metres of ascent.

Lake District Walks – OL7 SE area

This area contains England’s largest natural lake, Lake Windermere and on its shores are the bustling towns of Bowness on Windermere and Ambleside, both great bases for accommodation. Walks I would recommend include:

  1. A Circuit of Tarn Hows.  An easy low level route but with some great views. Just under 5 miles and a little over 200 metres of ascent this walk is ideal for families or as a short option before the long drive back to London.
  2. The Kentmere Skyline from Kentmere. At 11 1/2 miles and with over 1000 metres of ascent this is a full day classic. Peaks include Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag, Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike.
  3. Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside. Another short option at 6 miles long with a little over 400 metres of ascent. The views of Grasmere and Rydal Water from up on Loughrigg Terrace make this walk a great choice.

These are just a small selection of the many great Lake District Walks on offer. We hope to soon be able to offer gpx route files for walks for you to download to your GPS or smartphone. If however you would rather have someone else lead the walks and you would like to meet other like minded people at the same time why not join our next trip to this great National Park. We hope you have enjoyed reading this short article about some great Lake District Walks.

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