A list of the most spectacular walks to experience in this beautiful region
If you ever hear anyone taking about their walking experiences, chances are that they will be listing a great number of places in the UK that they have rambled over. Scotland is one of the countries that comes up most often because of its picturesque highlands and the sheer variety of terrain on offer. Ireland is also a prominent feature of trekkers’ discussions, as are the peaks and valleys of Wales. England sometimes gets a little overlooked as a trekker’s paradise however, that is until someone brings up England’s trump card: The Lake District. While one may enjoy a walk through the Scottish Highlands or the mountains of Ireland, this particular collection of serene lakes, mountains, and forest land is one of the most visually spectacular places in the whole of the UK, receiving interest from millions of people over the years as a holiday destination, place of artistic inspiration (as it was for William Wordsworth and other so-called “Lake poets”), and the possessor of some of the best outdoor walks – many of them listed below – that anyone in the entire world is ever likely to have experienced.
Borger Dalr, Borrowdale
At around 4 miles in length, Borger Dalr isn’t going to be the most challenging walk that you have ever embarked upon, but this isn’t the point of visiting the Lake District: beauty trumps effort exerted here by quite a way. This walk has a great deal of history hiding in its midst, allowing you to climb Castle Crag, which was the site of a hill fort from around 2,000 years ago. Don’t let the relatively small size of this marvel fool you: it offers some extremely inspiring views for miles as the sunlight cradles the horizon with a warm yellow embrace. Take note of the famous Peace How, which is a summit that was acquired for the benefit of returning soldiers; a place where they could find some tranquillity after coming home.
Some great details about the route can be discovered on the National trust Borger Dalr webpage. Also, if you’re looking for places to stay, The Borrowdale Hotel is a good place to start your search as it offers some very convenient accommodation in the Borrowdale area.
Great Mell Fell Walk
Twinned with its shorter and more manageable sibling, The Little Mell Fell, this marginally tougher and more substantial walk entails climbing to the top of the Great Mell Fell. It is a steep walk that takes you to the very peak of the mound, which you will discover is a burial mound which dates back to the Bronze Age. Walkers will notice the relatively severe nature of this mound’s rise from the ground, requiring a reasonable level of fitness to be tackled with vigour. The summit itself offers some spectacular views, though this may not be apparent to first-time walkers until they reach the top. One should experience this walk at least once in the winter, preferably when it has been snowing as the views are even more beautiful than when once can see the green landscape for miles around. Once can manage to conquer both Great Mell Fell and Little Mell Fell in one day, though it does help to possess an adequate level of fitness and walking experience if one hopes to do so.
It is quite difficult to find hotels or classic accommodation in the more remote areas of the Lake District, though some nearby cottages are available as well as farmhouses such as Mell Fell House Farm or the Mell Fell Cottage, with both being the true way to experience the Lake District in fitting style and surroundings.
This is probably one of the more well-known walks available for undertaking in the Lake District. Scafell Pike is England’s highest mountain, standing at 3209 feet tall and offering a steady but tough ascent to its summit. This particular mountain is definitely a melting pot for all kinds of walkers as it has something for people of all levels of experience. Experienced walkers can take the lesser-known paths whilst first-time or amateur hikers can enjoy the quickest route to the top. There is even a bit of climbing to be done as well, though of course this should be done with only the proper equipment and training where appropriate.
Many people start from the Wasdale Valley, though there are various starting points that can be used depending on the length of the walk and your direction of arrival. It is recommended for amateur/beginner walkers that you arrive on a day with clear weather since the sheer size of the mountain can make it difficult to navigate in poorer weather conditions.
Because of the popularity of Scafell Pike, accommodation isn’t difficult to find. A list of B&Bs near Scafell Pike can be found on the accommodation section of the official website, making it easy to find a place to stay if you are a couple or few in number. There are also campsites such as the Seven Acres Camp Site, the page for which can be found on the UK Campsite website.
Coniston Old Man
The Old Man is another peak asking to be climbed in the Lake District. Consiton Old Man protrudes vertically over Coniston, forming a significant part of the landscape and almost asking for all those who visit to climb to its summit. A popular trail to take is up the east side of the mountain, which takes you through the old copper mines and slate quarries (an interesting sight for those who are interested in this branch of history). The east route is somewhat of a shorter trail though; if you’re looking for a longer walking day, then it pays to venture to the back of the mountain. Taking the rear path means you will get to walk Dow Crag and adds around four miles to the original route of five miles.
Some hotels offer some picturesque scenery as well as a place to rest for the night either before or after a long day’s walking. The Waterhead Hotel in Coniston is a prime example of such accommodation.
If Scafell Pike happened to ‘peak’ your interest, then Helvellyn isn’t going to be any different. This mountain just so happens to be the second-highest in Britain at 3117 feet tall. This one differs a little from Scafell Pike however due to its twin ridges, Striding Edge and Swirral Edge, which both add to the challenge and serve to frustrate many at the same time. The ascent isn’t nearly as smooth as people often expect as well, with many sections being extremely steep, a great number of substantial vertical drops, and the need to sometimes climb on all fours in order to maintain balance on a few of the sections; it isn’t for the faint of heart. Glendridding and Patterdale are two of the most popular starting points, though you may find that any path gets rather busy in the peak of summer time – Helvellyn is after all an extremely popular destination for holidaymakers and hikers alike!
If one wishes to stay in the local area – accommodation is highly recommended due to the strenuousness of the ascent – then there are many to suit all tastes such as the Patterdale Hotel or the Macdonald Leeming House in Ullswater.