5-15 miles, can be steep and difficult underfoot
By far the best way to learn about these is to read the Wainwright books. The best ones in the immediate vicinity of Braithwaite are:
- Causey Pike. Rather like a big brother of Catbells to look at, but with different views. A little scrambling is involved near the top. Approach from Stair via Stonycroft Gill, climb up to Sail Pass, and come back via Scar Crags and down the northern side of the Pike, or over Rowling End, to Stair. Or you can climb more directly from Braithwaite via Barrow Door to Sail Pass, and drop straight down from the top of Causey back to Barrow Door.
- Coledale Horseshoe: go via Barrow Door, Sail Pass, Sail and Eel Crags, down into Coledale Hause and back via either Grisedale Pike or the Force Crag Mine road in the Coledale valley (the latter is shorter and flatter, but a bit tedious). In Coledale Hause, as a diversion you can hop straight across up Grasmoor before deciding on the route back. Seven to nine miles, and with terrific views.
- Grisedale Pike. Straight up from the village, taking the steps up from the car park cut into the hill 400 yards up the Whinlatter road, and back via Eel Crags and Stonycroft Gill or (shorter) via Coledale Hause and Force Crag Mine. If you can get up Grisedale without stopping, you are fit! The views are certainly worth the effort. Another way up Grisedale, which will appeal to those who do not fancy the the length of the climb up Sleet How from Braithwaite, is to drive up to the Revelin Moss car park at the top of Whinlatter and climb from there: not so far and not so steep, and you also get some good views of the fells to the north and northwest.
- Ladyside Pike. As in walk 3 above, climb Grisedale Pike from Revelin Moss, but then walk across to Hopegill Head via Hobcarton Crags. From the top of Hopegill head cut down across the scree to Ladyside Pike and thence down across open grassland to the tarmac road near Blaze Bridge. Return via the Whinlatter pass, taking the forest tracks just past Swinside Houses. You can cut off 2-3 miles by dropping down to the forest path as soon as it comes into view after Ladyside Pike.
- Newlands Round: Catbells (see above), Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head, and Robinson or Hindscarth – in either direction. 10 miles, a great mixture of views and terrain. Park the car either at Hawes End, for Catbells, or just below Little Town, by the beck, for Hindscarth. If you choose the latter, you can miss out Catbells and walk straight up to Hause Gate and thence onto Maiden Moor. At the end of the walk you may get a drink at Low Snab Farm below Hindscarth, and by then you will have earned it! For the less enthusiastic, you can cheat by walking along the valley floor from Little Town to Dale Head (or vice versa), meeting up with the main circuit close to Dale Head Tarn.
- Coledale Hause from Lanthwaite Green. Start from Lanthwaite Green Farm car park on the Lorton to Crummock road: up Whiteside via Whin Ben, Hopegill Head, Coledale Hause, down via Gasgale Gill. Or you can progress a little further up the Hause and branch right for Grasmoor, which gives you a great view of everything to the west. From Whiteside to Hopegill Head is a magnificent ridge walk, followed by a pleasant descent along the Gill.
- Whiteside and Whiteless Pike. This is slightly more ambitious than the previous walk. From Lanthwaite Green strike up via Gasgale Gill or Whiteside to Coledale Hause, where you carry straight on (via the top of Grasmoor if you wish) past the top of Wandope and then Whiteless Pike. Descend the Pike to the level of Rannerdale Knotts on the right, where you take the path over the Knotts and down the western end (taking care on the scree) onto the road by Crummock Water, which takes you back to Lanthwaite. Or you can bypass Rannerdale, taking the obvious path down to Crummock between the Knotts and Grasmoor.
- Skiddaw. There are many ways up Skiddaw, some far more pleasant than others, so read Wainwright. A good way is to park in Bassenthwaite village and climb the ridge of Ullock Pike returning from Skiddaw down its north-eastern face via Bakestall into the Bassenthwaite valley.
- Around Blencathra. This walk emphasises the great difference between Blencathra’s dramatic south-facing ridges and the gentle grasslands of the summit. Start at the A66 lay-by before the White Horse pub, striking up over Scales Fell. You will, as the path eventually curves up to the left, see Sharp Edge emerging; at the tarn you need to decide whether to ascend Sharp Edge or keep up to the left to reach the summit via the Doddick Fell ridge route. Walk along the summit path and slightly down to Blease Fell Top, where you strike off due north (there are no paths) and gradually down to Roughten Gill. Follow the gill down, taking care, until you hit a well-defined track above Glenderaterra Beck. Take the higher path around to the Blencathra Centre and then, where the wall appears on the left of the tarmac road, cut up left onto the path which eventually takes you all the way back to Scales. About 9 miles. If you hit bad visibility at Blease Fell Top, you can come straight down Blease Fell, where there is an extremely well worn track. On no account think of walking up Blease Fell, which is a soul-destroying slog – unless you walk up backwards, which gives you some great views, and sore legs.
- Applethwaite. Millbeck and Applethwaite are the two little villages nestling under Skiddaw on the other side of the flat northern end of Newlands Valley.Walk past Braithwaite Church down to the A66, turn left and, after about 150 yards, turn right down past the Institute building. Follow the footpath on the OS map, across Newlands Beck and the Derwent river, arriving eventually at Dancing Gate farm on the A591. At this point the faint-hearted can just take the metalled road down to Millbeck, but they will miss the magnificent views obtainable by climbing up on the paths within Thornthwaite Forest and Lyzzick Wood. These paths are all part of the so-called Allerdale Ramble, which eventually takes you out of Lyzzick Wood onto the lower flank of Carl Side and then down into Millbeck. Follow the Ramble path through Applethwaite and the fields down to the A591 and the A66, to reach Crosthwaite on the edge of Keswick. Thence you follow the footpaths to return via Portinscale, Ullock Farm and Little Braithwaite. This walk, which is about 8 miles but mainly flat except for the forest diversion, is much enhanced by good visibility – the views south from Millbeck and Applethwaite are among the best in the district.
- Circuit of Derwentwater. You can combine the Derwentwater (west) and the Derwentwater (east) walks described above to make a full circuit of the lake. The only part you need to add is between Keswick and Portinscale: you proceed out of Keswick on the road as towards Braithwaite, turning left just after the bridge over the Greta, and take the footpath past the Rugby Club grounds to Portinscale, crossing the Derwent and turning left in the village to Nichol End. The circuit is about 9 miles at lake level, or 12 miles if you include the Lodore Falls and Ashness Bridge excursion.
- Grange to Watendlath. From Grange, take the footpath by the side of the little café past the Hollows Farm camp site along the Derwent to Rosthwaite, where (see linear walk no.5) you strike up over the fell to Watendlath. From Watendlath take the path down the beck-side, branching left at the wooden bridge to descend by the Lodore Falls. Return to Grange either along the road – you can drop down to the river after passing Derwent House – or via the path to Manesty. About 8 miles.
- The Buttermere ridge. From the Fish Hotel car park (first read Melvyn Bragg’s “The Maid of Buttermere”) walk between Buttermere and Crummock Water and then right along Crummock to the foot of Scale Force. Climb up by the waterfall and then left up onto the ridge, where your reward is some of the best views in Lakeland. Having traversed Red Pike, High Stile, and High Crag you drop down into Scarth Gap where you usually turn left down to Buttermere. About 9 miles. Fitter brethren can attack Red Pike head on, taking the path up Sourmilk Ghyll to Bleaberry Tarn just below the summit.
- The Buttermere round. Here you extend the Buttermere ridge walk by crossing Scarth Gap to climb Haystacks and then strike down towards Honister Hause via the old tramway; you then cross the Honister road to climb Dale Head before taking the ridge path to Robinson and thence down into Buttermere village. About 16 miles, and lots of up and down.
- The Loweswater fells. These fells are on the western edge of the Lake District, are not too high, and give you a good view of the coastal plain and the sea. You park at Maggie’s Bridge, on the left just before Loweswater itself, and walk across the fields to Holme Wood. Here you cut up through the trees onto Burnbank Fell, which you can climb either directly or via the path which circles round to the right. The top is a single wooden post. Thence you aim south via a wire fence to Blake Fell, Gavel Fell and down across and up to Hen Comb and back down again to the car. The Hen Comb ridge gives you some good views of the Buttermere fells. You can also get some lovely pictures from the road (but you don’t get the exercise!).
- Styhead Tarn. From Seathwaite Farm at the end of Borrowdale, walk along to Stockley Bridge over Grains Gill. Go left following the line of Grains, and then Ruddy, Gill up the well marked path to the crags and gullies below Great End, where you eventually meet the path from Esk Hause to Styhead Tarn. Turn right, down past Sprinkling Tarn towards Great Gable until you see Styhead Tarn down on your right. Follow the track past the Tarn back to Stockley Bridge and the Farm. You can of course do the walk in reverse: Stockley Bridge, Styhead Tarn, up towards Esk Hause, and down Grains Gill back to Stockley Bridge. This walk is by way of a reconnaissance, since Styhead is well known to serious walkers and climbers as the point from which you strike up to not only Great Gable with its crags and needles but also the central “3,000 foot” fells: Scafell, Scafell Pike, Great End and the lesser known Ill Crag and Broad Crag.
- Great Gable. There are many approaches, but the path from Honister Hause has many advantages, one of which is that you start quite high, so there is less climbing! From the Honister quarry, which is still producing lots of grey and green slate, take the path straight up Grey Knotts by the wire fence, then cross via Brandreth to Green Gable. Drop down into Windy Gap and up to the stony top of Great Gable. To return a different way, drop down south-west from the summit (you can easily get lost on the top, especially in cloud), using a built-up path all the way to the First Aid post, turning down left to Styhead Tarn, Stockley Bridge, Seathwaite and Seatoller. Where you can walk up to Honister, via the old track to the right of the metalled road, or take the Honister Rambler bus. Alternatives: from Honister, take the tramway up right, then cut across left towards Gable, turning left again for Brandreth – or carrying straight along Moses’ Trod across to Beck Head, where you cut up left to the top of Gable. Or, if you are feeling particularly intrepid or foolhardy, carry on past Beck Head, keeping left for the Climbers’ Traverse, where you have any number of scrambles up the crags of Great Napes to reach the summit. From Green Gable, a good descent is via Base Brown, Gillercomb and Sour Milk Gill to Seathwaite. And, if you find yourself at Styhead, try keeping left at the wooden bridge, and descend via Taylor Gill Force.
- Angle Tarn and Langstrath. As in the Styhead Tarn walk above, climb up Grains Gill to the Esk Hause-Styhead Tarn path, where you turn left up to the Esk Hause-Allen Crags crossroads. Drop down south-east for about 500 yards, where you follow the beck sharply down left into Langstrath, between Glaramara on the left and High Raise on the right. Alternatively you can continue further down the path and then up to Angle Tarn, where you take the path left and then, after about a mile, left again. Eventually, at the further end of Langstrath (which is indeed a long valley, without habitation of any kind), you reach the junction with Greenup Gill, where you turn left to Stonethwaite and thence Seatoller and Seathwaite. About 12 miles, but without any hard climbs.
- Glaramara. This is the fell with the lovely name at the very end of Borrowdale as seen from Keswick. Start from Seatoller car park (which is also the terminus for the Borrowdale Bus from Keswick) and walk back 400 yards up the valley road to Mountain View, two houses opposite which is a signed footpath. After just a few yards, turn up left over a stile and keep up to the right to climb Thorneythwaite Fell. Continue up, with the views improving all the time, onto the top of Glaramara. Carry straight on southwards over Allen Crags down to Esk Hause, turning right, down past Sprinkling Tarn towards Great Gable until you see Styhead Tarn down on your right. Follow the track past the Tarn back to Stockley Bridge and the Farm.
- Castlerigg and Low Rigg. In this walk you can combine a visit to our local version of Stonehenge (smaller, but with better views in all directions) with a pleasant walk through the gentle fells to the east of Keswick. Leave Keswick via Springs Road, following the path up towards Walla Crag past the TV mast until reaching the surfaced road near Rakefoot farm. There turn left, then right after 50 yards, taking the marked path to Castlerigg Stone Circle. On reaching the A591, turn right and then left through High Nest farm, to reach Castlerigg across the fields. Having inspected the Circle, take the surfaced road east to Goosewell Farm, then across the fields to Naddle Bridge and back onto the road, keeping right to pick up the path to “St John’s Church”, past Tewet Tarn to Low Rigg and the Diocesan Youth Centre. Turn right at the Youth Centre and carry straight on down across the fields back to the A591 and the same path back to Keswick. About 10 miles, with little gradient. Here are some pictures.
- Scafell Pike. The approach from the north follows a most enjoyable path, the Corridor Route. You start in Seathwaite, and walk up past Stockley Bridge to Styhead Tarn. There you can see the high ridge from Great End to Scafell Pike which you are going to scale.. After the Tarn, cut up left onto the path to Esk Hause, but before Great End take the now well eroded path to the right, the Corridor Route, which initially drops down before gradually ascending along the side of the ridge. The path crosses three ravines, at each of which some little mild scrambling is involved, before reaching Lingmell Col, a T-junction where you turn left up to the Pike. Alternatively, after the second ravine (Greta Gill), you can strike up left on a well-defined path to the col between Broad Crag and Scafell Pike, in which case be prepared for some more scrambling, and steep scree. At the top (photos are obligatory, as at the top of Everest), you can well get lost, since there is no visible path across the sea of boulders: aim north-east towards a small shelter and a cairn, where you should find a faint path to the left dropping down slightly towards Broad Crag. You follow this path across the rocks all the way down to Esk Hause, where you drop down left, above Sprinkling Tarn, to the top of Ruddy Gill, which you follow back down to Grains Gill and Stockley Bridge. You can certainly consider this walk in reverse, which has lots of scenic highlights; if you do, make sure that, when returning on the Corridor Route at Greta Gill (the second ravine), you keep up to the right rather than take the obvious path down the Gill.
- Ullscarf. Ullscarf is the most central of all the Lakeland fells, and is best approached from Watendlath. The path takes you round the right hand side of the Tarn, and up to Dock Tarn – for a good view cut up to Great Crag on the right of the path just before Dock Tarn. From Great Crag you can see Ullscarf on the eastern side of Dock Tarn, and you climb across the grass and mosses, over Low and High Saddle, onto Greenup Edge, where the highest point is Ullscarf. The top is featureless (stick to the fence posts in bad visibility), but the views, both from the top and when descending directly to Watendlath, are excellent. About 7 miles.
- Carrock Fell to Great Calva . This 12-mile walk takes you to the less frequented, northern side of Blencathra. You start half way along Mosedale, and climb Carrock Fell on the northern side of the valley. Then across west to High Pike, south-west to Knott , south-east to Great Calva, and return via the Cumbria Way and the Caldew valley to Mosedale. Up here the fells are not so jagged, but you get a great sense of wide open space. Here are the pictures.
- Keswick to Rosthwaite via Watendlath. This 15-mile walk links together some of the other walks described elsewhere. You start from Springs Road, Keswick by climbing Walla Crag, then drop down to Ashness Farm and cut across the top of the crags above Lodore, not forgetting to visit Surprise View, into the valley which terminates in the hamlet of Watendlath. From there you cut up right to the pass which gives you a view of the high fells beyond the end of Borrowdale, and drop down to Rosthwaite. You can then choose between the high road or the low road to Grange, whence you return to Keswick via either side of Derwentwater; the eastern side is shorter, but may be flooded in parts and does not offer the classical views of Blencathra from the side of Catbells.
- Around and over Blencathra. Instead of tackling the magnificent ridges on the front of Blencathra, this walk explores the Glenderaterra valley to its west and the expansive grasslands behind the summit ridge.
Linear walks: where you need transport at one end or t’other. The walks vary considerably in length.
- Braithwaite to Buttermere: Barrow Door, Sail, Eel Crag, Wandope, Whiteless Pike, and Buttermere. Six miles, with great views (most of the pictures are attached to other walks, e.g., the Coledale Horseshoe above). You can just as easily do the walk in reverse, but be warned that Whiteless Pike is quite a steep climb from Buttermere.
- Lanthwaite Green to Braithwaite. As long walk 6 above, but at Hopegill Head carry straight on either via Grisedale Pike or via Coledale Hause and Force Crag Mine. About five miles.
- Newlands Hause to Braithwaite. Having parked at Newlands Hause, on the road to Buttermere, climb Knott Rigg to reach the ridge, lower than its neighbours and therefore less likely to be affected by any low cloud, which runs along the north side of Keskadale. Half way along you can drop down to the left to reach Sail Pass and thence Barrow Door, but then you miss the delights of the ridge and its views to east and south. At the end, drop down left at the fence to ford Rigg Beck and meet the road at Rigg Beck the purple(!) house – sadly now in a state of some dilapidation. There you can take the road back towards Stair; after about 400 yards take the path up left, which cuts right around the flank of Rowling End/Causey Pike, terminating at the Stonycroft Gill beck, where you cross the beck in order to climb up to Barrow Door and thence Braithwaite. Five and a half miles. Or, at Rigg Beck, you can drop down the further side of the purple house to Little Town, and return through the fields or by the road to Stair.
- Manesty to Braithwaite. Manesty is a house, made famous by Hugh Walpole in the Herries Chronicles, on the road down to Grange. Walking back from there, one climbs onto the Hause Gate saddle between Catbells and Maiden Moor, thence up Catbells and down the northern side, branching left to drop down via Skelgill Farm and Stair. There are many ways back from Stair (see medium walk no. 3), but this could be the time to climb the path up the right of Stonycroft Gill, cutting up right to reach Barrow Door and the village. About four miles.
- Rosthwaite to Watendlath and Ashness Bridge. From the village shop in Rosthwaite turn right and right over the bridge, taking the cart track up to the left of Hazel Bank, over the top and down to Watendlath Farm. Until 1851, when the metalled road from Keswick to Borrowdale was built, this was the main path from Keswick to Rosthwaite. At Watendlath you can fish in the tarn, join the National Trust, have a cream tea or just sit and admire the view. Then take the path down the valley to the left of the beck, eventually cutting up right over the bridge at an obvious three-way crossroads and then through the woods. Keep up to the left in the woods to gain some beautiful views of Derwentwater and Skiddaw before dropping down to the car park at Ashness Bridge. About four miles. Even more enjoyable after reading the Herries chronicles….
- Ashness Bridge to Braithwaite via Borrowdale. From Ashness Bridge car park (take your camera for pictures of Skiddaw) walk to Rosthwaite via Watendlath (see linear walk no.5), then in the village take the footpath to Grange. You can paddle in the Derwent, and acquire (non-alcoholic) refreshment in Grange, which you may need at this stage. Take the road to Portinscale from Grange and, before the Borrowdale Gates hotel on the right outside the village, strike up the fell on the left. Follow the track past Manesty, where you can either follow linear walk no. 4 or keep to the lower path round Catbells to Hawes End car park, thence home via the Swinside Inn. About 10 miles, fairly flat, and with some great views.
- Seatoller, or Honister, to Grange. From the National Trust car park/Borrowdale Bus terminus in Seatoller, walk up the road towards Honister and strike up right in a long zig-zag, following the waymark arrows to reach a track cutting across the flank of High Spy and Maiden Moor down Borrowdale. Alternatively you can come down from Honister, following the bridleway which was the old road from Seatoller. The track you meet up with is part of the Allerdale Ramble long distance walk. On the right you will see Castle Crag, which is well worth an excursion. You then drop down to meet the path from Rosthwaite to Grange. A gentle and scenic stroll of about 4 miles. If you are feeling enthusiastic, you can carry on from Grange via Manesty back to Braithwaite – see linear walk no. 4 above.
- Mungrisdale to Keswick via Blencathra. Mungrisdale is a village to the north-east of Blencathra, accessible from the A66. At the further end of the village, take the track to the left by the public phone-box. Keep going up left and then round to the right, eventually climbing up the right hand side of Bannerdale Crags. Follow the path round the top of the Crags to the left, and then strike across the moorland towards Blencathra up to the right. As you climb the Blencathra ridge, you can stop to admire those struggling up and down Sharp Edge. At the top, you can walk the entire length of the summit ridge until you drop down the far side, Blease Fell, aiming for the Blencathra Centre group of buildings. There you descend through the fields to the disused railway line, which forms a path into Keswick.
- Rosthwaite to Grasmere. This is actually the third day of Wainwright’s “Coast-to-coast” walk. From the village shop in Rosthwaite turn right and right over the bridge, then right again taking the cart track along the beck along to Stonethwaite, then up the valley past Lining Crag onto Greenup Edge before walking the ridge down to Helm Crag and thence into Grasmere (where one can get the 555 double decker bus back into Keswick).
- The Helvellyn ridge. This is the longest high level ridge walk in the Lakes, and well worth the effort required to achieve the reward of some marvellous views in all directions. The ridge is usually walked from south to north, from Dunmail Raise to Threlkeld. Take the path from a gate at the southern end of the short dual carriageway on the A591 south of Thirlmere, and strike up the right hand side of Raise Beck. As the gradient decreases, cut across left for a steep slog across grass up to the top of Dollywaggon Pike (and that, you will glad to hear, is the end of any serious ascent!). From Dollywaggon take the well marked path across the tops of High Crag, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn, and Raise down and up to Stybarrow Dodd and then Watson’s Dodd. Before Great Dodd, the next top, bear left across to Calfhow Pike and then Clough Head, where you cut down to the Old Coach Road and across to Threlkeld.
Walks more than 10 miles away from Braithwaite
- The Langdale Pikes. This is probably the most popular long walk in the Lakes, being close to Grasmere, Ambleside and Bowness, and offering some great scenery and lots of strenuous exercise. You start at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Great Langdale, striking up Stickle Gill to Stickle Tarn, which is a good place for refreshment while contemplating those intrepid enough to attempt Jack’s Rake, a climbing route up Pavey Ark. There are many other paths up the right end of Pavey Ark, after which the “Wainwright-baggers” will scale the heights (about 50 feet) of Thunacar Knott, then the more impressive crags of Harrison Stickle. The normal route is then to cut across to Pike o’ Stickle and back to Loft Crag, before picking up the path down again to Dungeon Ghyll. Only about 5 miles, but not flat.
- St Sunday Crag. This 10-mile walk is a good introduction to the fells south of Ullswater. You start at the Patterdale Hotel – where you can look forward to a welcome drink at the end of your exertions – taking the path round the back of the buildings up Grisedale (not to be confused with the real Grisedale) via Thornhow End to Birks and then across to the Crag. Carry straight on down to Grisedale Tarn, and then back below Striding Edge to Patterdale.
- Silver Howe and Easedale. Silver Howe is the fell on the western side of Grasmere, which is where Wordsworth lived for many years and was eventually buried. The climb from Grasmere onto Silver Howe is fairly gentle and short, and offers some good views. From the top take the faint path north-west past Blea Rigg to Sergeant Man, at the top of the Easedale valley. Drop down towards Easedale Tarn, either directly or via Codale Tarn and Tarn Crag, and thence back into Grasmere. Here are some pictures. About 10 miles.
- Red Screes from Brotherswater. Red Screes is the fell looming above the Kirkstone Inn, the highest pub in England. This walk approaches from the north, via the Brotherswater Inn, where you can park – and refresh yourself on your return. Aim first for Hartsop Hall, where you turn left for the steep climb up High Hartsop Dodd and then a gentle stroll along the ridge to Little Hart Crag, which is a good place to stop for lunch. You can see the path down and then up left to Red Screes, which offers great views in all directions. You then return north over Middle Dodd back down to the valley. About 7 miles.
- Place Fell. Which is the fell which dominates the south-east end of Ullswater. About the height of Causey Pike, it offers a good 7-8 mile walk which includes the lakeside path back to Patterdale which Wainwright called “the most beautiful and rewarding walk in Lakeland” (mind you, this was a comment in Book 2 of his walk descriptions, and he hadn’t at that time visited the North-western Fells, of course…). You start from Patterdale village, crossing the valley bottom to Side Farm, where you turn right up to Boardale Hause. At the Hause take the left-most path up to the top of the fell where, in good visibility, there are great views in all directions. You can then drop down to the left, but to reach the Sandwick path back along the lake stay up and aim roughly north-east, over Sleet Fell and then down to the lakeside path, which leads back to Side Farm. Here are some pictures.
- Gowbarrow Fell. Look due north from the top of Place Fell and you see Gowbarrow Fell on the other side of Ullswater. Although much smaller than Place Fell, it offers a pleasant 4-mile walk including access to Aira Force, possibly the most photogenic of Lakes waterfalls. You can start from the car park at Aira Force, but a good alternative is to park in Dockray on the A5091, and take the path around the north of the fell to Ulcat Row, where you need to strike south-east up the fell. The top of the fell is a jumble of bumps and hollows, but luckily the National Trust has installed a high cairn to aim for. From there you follow an easy path down to Aira Force, and thence back to Dockray.
- Steel Fell and High Raise. Steel Fell is the large fell on the right as you drive south on the A591 past Thirlmere and start dropping down over Dunmail Raise to Grasmere. A good approach is from Ghyll Foot, just off the A591 near Grasmere, where you strike up Steel Fell and then cut across the old Westmorland-Cumberland boundary fence to the head of Far Easedale. From there you need to climb up to Greenup Edge and thence to High Raise. You return via the ridge on the north side of Far Easedale which terminates in Helm Crag (see the Rosthwaite-Grasmere linear walk) and finally you drop down the northern side of Helm Crag to reach the car. About 10 miles. Here are the pictures.
- The Kentmere Horseshoe. This is one of the classic Lakeland walks, and certainly deserves a day of your time, even if it is about an hour away by car and the parking in Kentmere village is limited. You start in the village, and climb gradually by the Garburn Road onto the ridge which begins with Yoke, and is followed by Ill Bell, Froswick and finally Thornthwaite Crag. Here you normally turn east to Mardale Ill Bell, but you can easily cut across first to High Street (the felltop) and walk along some of the ancient Roman Road from Penrith to Ambleside. From Mardale Ill Bell you drop down to the Nan Bield pass and then up to Harter Fell, before descending gradually via Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts to the village. About 13 miles. Here are the pictures.
- A Boardale round. Boardale is the valley to the east of south Ullswater, hidden from the lake by Place Fell. At its northern end it joins up with Martindale, and you start the walk at St Peter’s Church, Martindale. Walk up Martindale past the old St Martin’s Church, over the bridge and, after about 200 yards, strike up right onto the flank of Beda Fell. Having reached the top of the fell, carry straight on until you reach Angle Tarn, which is a good place for lunch. You can climb Angletarn Pikes for even better views. Then take the Patterdale path to Boardale Hause, for the climb up Place Fell. Keep to the right when continuing over the summit of Place Fell, taking the path to the right of High Dodd, before dropping down to Boardale at Garth Heads, whence you return via the little road to St Peter’s Church. About 8 miles.
- Helvellyn from Glenridding. This is the classic ascent of Helvellyn via Striding Edge, the “airy” (i.e. very exposed) ridge just before the summit. You start from Glenridding car park, climbing to the left of the beck onto the flank of Birkhouse Moor. The Edge starts about half a mile after the “Hole in the Wall”, where the path meets with the track ascending from Patterdale. If you do not fancy walking along the top of Striding Edge, there is a path along the northern side, which you are advised to take in wet or windy weather. From the top of Helvellyn, which is an expanse so flat that an aeroplane landed there in the 1930’s, return to Glenridding via Swirral Edge, Catstyecam and Red Tarn Beck. Here are the pictures. About 8 miles.
- Head of Langdale. The fells at the head of Great Langdale form a great, if strenuous, ridge walk. You start from the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, walking south up the Blea Tarn road to take the steep, graded path to the right by Red Acre Gill, to the top of Pike o’ Blisco. Descend the other side, to pick up the path climbing to Crinkle Crags (divert up Cold Pike on the left, for some good views, if you have time). The path across the five Crinkles includes the notorious Bad Step, which is negotiable for the good scrambler or avoidable by skirting round the right hand buttress. From the fifth Crinkle you drop down to Three Tarns, where you can return easily to the ODG, or climb to the top of Bowfell, the highest point on the ridge. Enthusiasts will continue on to Esk Pike before dropping down into Langdale and home. Between 9 and 13 miles, depending on route, and at least 4000 feet of ascent. Here are some pictures.
- Scafell from Eskdale. If you can face the long, and possibly nerve-wracking, drive over Hardknott Pass, you are rewarded by a fine walk up the Eskdale valley culminating in a stiff climb to the summit of Scafell via Foxes Tarn. You start at Wha House Farm car park and keep on the western side of the river Esk, passing via Taw House and Scale Bridge up to Cam Spout Crag, where you turn up left by the waterfall. The Foxes Tarn path is just before the East Buttress of Scafell. You return via Slight Side to Wha House Farm. About 9 miles, and 3000 feet of ascent.
By Peter Rigg for braithwaite-cottage.co.uk
Photo by DM McAtamney, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8990342