I have always loved walking! I have an old photograph of me aged 16 months with my sister, Margaret, helping me to walk in Windermere! She has often said since that if she had known what this would lead to she would have dropped me in the water! As a child our holidays were spent walking in the Lorton valley and when I was a student, I worked at Watendlath thinking nothing of popping over to Rosthwaite to meet with friends for a drink. I have continued to walk for pleasure throughout my life and as I get older, I appreciate how enthusiastic I am and how much I enjoy it. I am also very lucky to live where I do with such a range and variety of walking on my doorstep.
I have intended to do a walks page for the website for sometime but have hardly known where to start or what to include/ leave out! However I will try to give a flavour of the walking opportunities.
You don’t have to go up on the high fells to enjoy the views or feel you have had a ‘good’ walk. For starters there are three lakes to walk round!
Buttermere has a very pretty shore line path and to add a little excitement it even has a dark, slightly squelchy tunnel! Buttermere village has two cafés and pubs and Sykes Farm make their own delicious icecream!
View Route: Round Buttermere (4.5 miles)
Crummock is a deceptively longer walk: to do a full circuit you have to go to Buttermere to cross the river but it is a superb day’s walk. For shorter walks by Crummock, there are many ways down to the lake from the house and you can pick and choose how far you would like to go!
View Route: Round Crummock (9 miles)
Loweswater: a walk ‘round’ Loweswater, I feel, is best done both ways on the far side, going along the old coffin route half way up the fell side which has superb views and returning along the shore path through Holme Wood: this avoids having to walk along the road.
View Route: Loweswater Terrace (6.5 miles)
The two local fells that guests are tempted by most are Low Fell behind the house and Melbreak which is so in one’s face at the front.
Low Fell. It is possible to go directly up Low Fell by the fence but it is steep going and by far the nicest way, I think, is to go from Thackthwaite which is a mile down the lane. The path is good and there are views in all directions on the way up to say nothing of the views from the summit! You can combine Low Fell with Fellbarrow, which although quite close has a very different view overlooking the Cumbrian plain and the Solway. You can also see Scafell Pike from Fellbarrow! Alternatively you can continue along to Darling Fell which is well worth a visit for its views.
View Route: Low Fell (5.5 miles)
Melbreak looks imposing and a challenge: the ‘Nose’ is a bit scrambly in places but it is certainly better to go up than come down. Once you are up it is a grassy walk to the far end and a descent also on grass. Then you just have to decide whether to return by the lakeside or by the Mosedale valley. (Or you could add on another fell!)
View Route: Melbreak (6.5 miles)
The view from the front of Foulsyke is a tantalising array of fells that includes Whiteside, Grassmoor, Whiteless Pike, Rannerdale Knotts, Robinson, Fleetwith Pike, Grey Knotts, Brandreth, Green Gable, Great Gable, Haystacks, High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike. They give infinite possibilities for days out walking.
One must not forget the less well known fells above the far side of Loweswater, Gavel, Carling Knott, Blake Fell and Burnbank, very quiet and very walkable.
View Route: Blake Fell (7 miles)
A consequence of the combination of mountains and water flowing down into lakes are waterfalls and we have at least three locally which are well worth a visit!
View Route: Scale Force (7 miles)
Holme Force is tucked away in Holme Wood by Loweswater: finding it feels quite magical, it has a long fall half hidden by trees and is very difficult to photograph!
View Route: Holme Force (4 miles)
Spout Force is also hidden away and can be approached directly from Scawgill Bridge on Whinlatter Pass but it makes a lovely, slightly different walk to start at Lorton and contour along the fellside and then loop through the forest.
View Route: Spout Force (4.5 miles)
I have a range of walks that I call ‘good value’ walks which are mainly lower fells but with views to equal some of the best. Low Fell is one of these. Others include Sale and Ling Fells at Bassenthwaite, High Rigg at St John’s in the Vale, Watendlath and Dock Tarn in Borrowdale, Wansfell at Ambleside, Gowbarrow at Ullswater. Latrigg by Keswick has super views and is even buggy friendly.
If you enjoy linear walks, the Honister Rambler bus service can add another dimension to your walking. A favourite of mine is to take the bus to the top of Honister and walk down the old miners’ path past Castle Crag down to Grange and Derwentwater and either catch the bus directly back or take the launch to Keswick and then return by the late afternoon bus. Alternatively, you can walk down from Dale Head, take in Catbells or Castle Crag – lots of possibilities!
There are many walks books about the Lake District and I think they are rather like cookery books, good to read and full of lovely ideas but you may just use one or two of them. I have a large collection of these but the books I use most for reference are the Mark Richards Fell Ranger books. All the Lakeland fells are covered by area: he uses OS maps with routes clearly marked: the text is purposeful and to the point and what I find particularly helpful are his panoramic drawings of the views from the tops. His Great Days in the Lakeland Fells has some great suggestions for challenging days out on the fells. Increasingly, there is also a lot more available online; there are several useful sites on the links page.
I hope you may find this helpful and it will whet your appetite or increase your enthusiasm to spend some time in this beautiful corner of Cumbria.