Explore the Western Lake District in 2017

A world away from frantic Windermere is what is often called “The Other Lake District”, consistently as “Quiet and Beautiful” and arguably containing the “Region’s Best Views”. We are talking about the Western Lake District.

Growing in popularity yet for some significant years yet, this areas around the Eskdale and Wasdale valley’s will most certainly offer all of the descriptions above.

Everything about this region of the Lake District National Park is about getting out and about. The two distinctly difference valley’s offer a variety of outdoor adventures for all ages and abilities.
Starting with Wasdale, home of England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike and the deepest body of water, Wastwater. The valley is framed by the monster fells of the Lake District so naturally it is the place to be for fell walking, climbing, ghyll scrambling and mountain biking. Head onto the mysterious Wastwater for canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and diving.

western lake district activities

Onto the equally as dramatic but definitely with an air of prettiest is Eskdale Valley. Travel to the valley by steam via the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway taking visitors through the Western Lake District countryside including woods and the villages of Eskdale Green and Boot. Open air, the steam train is an absolute must and definitely not just for kids, adults and even dogs have smiles on their faces! The Eskdale Valley is the gateway to the Central Lakes via the steepest road in England, Hardknott Pass. From the valley take on Scafell Pike from the other side, enjoy miles of mountain bike routes, take on the mighty Hardknott Pass even if it’s just to visit the ancient Roman Fort at the top. Slightly less taxing is a walk to Stanley Ghyll Force. Eighteen metres of crystal clear waterfall.

With plenty of places to eat and drink, traditional Lake District properties to stay in, and activity providers such as West Lakes Adventure who offer group, family, couple or individual experiences of all of the activities in this blog, discover the Western Lake District in 2017.

Coniston Calling in 2017

Whether it’s for a quiet, out of season short break or holiday, a group of couples on a walking weekend or a family holiday, the Lake District is now a 365 day a year destination for all.

It’s just down to choosing a destination and Coniston fits the bill perfectly. Smaller so naturally a little quieter than Ambleside and Bowness, Coniston provides everything for a romantic getaway but so too those who are seeking a little bit of adventure and outdoor pursuits. Visit Coniston in the winter and witness the stunning mirror reflections on the lake, September and October for some of the best examples of autumnal landscapes in the Lake District, spring full of daffodils and summer, simply staycation heaven.

Beautiful Coniston Water is where most people venture too. Hire a boat or canoe from Coniston Boating Centre or take the more relaxed approach to spending time on Coniston Water by going on the Victorian steam yacht gondola, Cumbria Tourism Awards Attraction of the year 2016, which reopens April 1st. But to be really at one with Coniston Water then bring a swimming costume! There is an annual Chill Swim in Coniston. A long distance open water swimming at its best where the participants swim end to end, 5.25 miles. This event is well worth spectating and always has a great atmosphere.

coniston holiday cottages
Road biking and mountain biking are both popular activities and the recently improved cycle routes from Torver to Coniston and around the lake make cycling easier and safer. Mountain bikers that like a bit of gradient can cycle up and over Walna Scar. The prize at the top are the views reaching right down to Morecambe Bay, across so much of the Lake District and even Scafell Pike in view.

But walking is always going to be the number one activity when visiting Coniston. A flat walk around Coniston Water is a joy but head up onto the fells and be awarded the fabulous views. Coniston Old Man is the most famous fell but is most definitely one to do on a good day. A walk up Walna Scar is never a bad route or for a quieter walk then Wetherlam is ideal and the route takes walkers down through the Coppermines Valley where remains of the mining industry can still be seen.

Specialists in holiday cottages in and around Coniston is the The Lakeland Cottage Company who have a choice ranging from romantic retreats for two to large country houses. Visit The Lakeland Cottage Company Coniston Cottages website for more details https://www.lakeland-cottage-company.co.uk/.

Make the most of the great outdoors when visiting the Lake District

The Lake District National Park home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK. Getting out and enjoying the Lake District outdoors is a must and can be done in a variety of ways.

Fell walking
Fell walking, it is what the Lake District is most famous for. From leisurely low level walks to full day routes taking in multiple fells, once people start fell walking, they’re hooked. Even going up one of the smaller fells walkers are rewarded by even more scenery and even more stunning views. Right in the heart of the Lake District National Park are the Langdale fells. In the area you’ll find a walk for any ability but the views keep getting bigger and better the further you go up. From the Langdale fells it is possible to see England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike and the Cumbrian coast beyond also the Ambleside fells and on a good day even Morecambe Bay.

When walking on the hills, planning and great care must be employed. Whilst objects of great beauty, the weather can make the hills dangerous places. Be prepared with the correct clothing map, compass, food and water and check the Lake District Weather Line for the latest fell conditions.

langdale lake district

Cycling
The Lake District is well known for its great cycling terrain. Explore the quiet roads, lanes, bridleways and forest tracks which provide great exercise whilst seeing as much of landscape as possible. Choose a flat route on the designated cycle paths in the Lake District or take on the mighty mountain passes such as Wrynose and Hardknott. These road wind up through the fells with 1 in 3 gradients and hairpin bends. Not for the faint hearted, these roads are challenging but highly rewarding and the ride back down exhilarating.

Other activities
Whilst fell walking and cycling are without doubt the most popular activities for visitors to Lakeland, there are many other available for those who enjoy the great Lake District outdoors. For outdoor adventurists there’s rock climbing, canoeing, ghyll scrambling and attractions such as the Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine. For the less hedonistic there are some excellent golf courses in the county which still offer amazing views as well as challenging golf.

Where to stay
The Langdale Lake District Hotel & Spa has the location and the facilities for all lovers of the great outdoors. A spa, restaurant and pub and walks and cycle routes on the doorstep. Rooms start from £135. Visit http://www.langdale.co.uk for more information.

Walking and wandering around Crosthwaite and the Lyth Valley

When it comes to picture postcard scenery be it pretty villages, woodlands or undulating foothills, the Lyth and Winster Valleys including Crosthwaite are hard to beat.

Although well known and discovered by tourists, namely thanks to an extremely famous purple fruit the damson, the area retains its peacefulness and tranquillity and definitely offers a very different Lake District experience to that in Ambleside and Bowness.

You won’t find large crags, server gullies or sharp gradients when walking in this area unlike some of the Lake District. Instead enjoy views over Lake Windermere, rolling countryside, valleys and woodland paths perfect for any level of walker or wanderer. Walk towards Lake Windermere, perhaps one day towards Kendal or take a glance the other way and see Morecambe Bay.

walking lake district lyth valley
A destination for any time of the year, the region is a delight April when the damson trees are in full white blossom and in September when these rare trees are weighed down with this highly distinguishable, tart purple fruit. A post walk damson gin is a must!

Walker friendly accommodation can be found at Damson Dene Hotel which will be an even bigger attraction to walker with the special “Walking in the Lakes” package. Enjoy 2 night accommodation, 3 course evening meal on the first night, full Cumbrian breakfast each morning, access to maps and guide books in the area and packed lunches all from just £110 person. Post walk, relax and unwind with free access to the private onsite leisure club.

Walking in and around Grange over Sands

It doesn’t matter what your walking ability is, Grange over Sands has walking routes and paths to suit everyone.

Let’s start off with the little bit of sands that Grange lies beside, Morecambe Bay. From large charity walks to small group guided walks, walking across this stretch of Morecambe Bay provides fabulous views all around you. In fact, this Saturday there is a guided walk across the bay starting from Arnside Prom and crossing the bay to finish at Grange over Sands and which will be raising funds for VSO –‘Bringing People Together to Fight Poverty. Starting at 4pm, this walk is a lovely 4 hour walk. Notice the use of the word “guide throughout this paragraph. The nature of the bay with being tidal and with quick sand areas means going out for an experienced guide is essential and there are plenty of them.

grange over sands walking
Hampsfell overlooking Morecambe Bay

Another 4-5 mile walk that may interest is up Hampsfell. This fell lies directly behind the town so when at the summit, views of Grange, the surrounding fells and seascapes galore can be admired. The walk starts from the centre of Grange, takes approximately 2 to 3 hours and despite the possibility of some muddy areas, it is all paths and tracks. A handy guide can be found on The Westmorland Gazette website here.

Up and over Hampsell is the perfect route to walk to Cartmel too. This walk adds roughly another 3.5 miles onto the length but the ability to experience Cartmel half way through is a delight and what better place than the foodie capital of Cumbria for lunch. There are plenty of cafes and pubs to choose from.

Just a reminder, it doesn’t matter how long you’re going out for, walking boots are advised, take a map and compass as the weather can close in especially when on higher ground and take the 3 “w”, waterproofs, warm clothing and water.

Bay Villa is a luxury B&B in Grange over Sands and an ideal place to come back to after one of these walks. Views across the bay and handily located on Main Street, a stones through from the start of any of these walks. More details can be found at http://www.bayvilla.net.

Adventure Outdoor Film Screenings in Glorious Grasmere this June

What could be better than watching adventure films with a backdrop of the stunning Lake District? Well this June, Grasmere is the place to experience just that.
Organised by the award winning Kendal Mountain Festival and in partnership with South Lakeland and Eden District Councils and the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, these outdoor cinema showings are to support the communities affected by the 2015 floods with Ullswater being the next destination in July.

grasmere outdoor cinema
24th and 25th June 2016 are the dates for the Grasmere outdoor cinema showings on Broadgate Meadow. There will be adventure films for adults as well as family friendly showings and guest speakers. Along with the films will be live music and local food and beverage stalls. Bring a picnic, make a day of it and walk and wander around Grasmere and Rydal. Grasmere Water is a delightful walk or head up onto the fells where you’ll be able to view the cinema site from above. Enjoy lunch in one of the pubs or cafes in Grasmere Village before heading to Broadgate Meadow where the gates open at 5pm.

Where to stay? If you’ve not been to Grasmere before then you’re in for a real treat. There’s lots of places to stay but our tip is Raise View House on White Bridge. Lovely rooms with views of Helm Crag, an honesty bar and freshly cooked breakfasts. The quality is confirmed by their recent Superior Award from Cumbria Tourism. Rooms on start from £120 for doubles, £65 for their single room or choose the new Silver How suite for a real treat. Visit, http://www.raiseviewhouse.co.uk/ to view rooms and to book.

Register for free tickets via http://www.kendalmountain-outdoorcinema.com/

Leisurely walking on the Lakes Line from Kendal this spring

Less than a minute walk and you’re in the centre of Kendal from the train station. This station connects travellers to the West Coast Mainline at Oxenholme – the Lake District, the next stop making a car free holiday or weekend break extremely convenient and practical (and most importantly, enjoyable!).

Onwards from Kendal are stops at Burneside, Staveley and Windermere each offering great walking potential and most definitely, don’t discount Burneside or Staveley. Burneside for great low level countryside walks and the Staveley being a lovely village with lots of places to eat and drink and which the Kentmere Valley can be accessed for one of the most undiscovered locations in the Southern Lake District.

kendal walking

Ideas for walks can be obtained even easier now by a new leaflet produced by train enthusiasts of 5 walks from stations along the Lakes Line. Find these leaflets at staffed stations across the North of England as well as Tourist Information Centres. Travel by train, no traffic jams, better for the environment and the ultimate in relaxed travel.

Kendal, the official gateway to the Lakes naturally provides an ideal base for exploring the region on foot, by rail, bus as well as by car. Take advantage of the great choice of places to stay and affordable too. The Riverside Hotel is our pick with river view rooms, a restaurant for dining as well as a bar and the Sanctuary Health Club with pool, spa pool, sauna, steam room and gym, free to use for all hotel guests. On now, a 2 night spring deal from just £188 (only available when booking direct) based on 2 sharing including breakfast each morning, unlimited use of the health club and a 3 course dinner on the first night. Visit http://www.riversidekendal.co.uk/ for more information and to check availability.

Make the most of the first Bank Holiday in May in Cumbria

With Easter being early this year and the weather wasn’t that kind, why not look to make the most of the May Day Bank Holiday taking place this weekend. The kids have all gone back to school so it’s an ideal time for a better value break either with or without the little ones.

Having opened on Monday, just in time for May Day was the new walking route, the Ullswater Way. The 20 mile waymarked circular walk around the whole Ullswater is a must do in 2016. Ullswater offers peace and tranquillity yet with dramatic fells and surrounding vistas as well as the beautiful Ullswater Steamers, not only providing a memorable day trips and experiences but also handy travel up and down the lake with stops along the way including the iconic Aira Force Waterfalls.

cumbria motorway services hotel

Head further towards the motorway and the Rheged Centre has a packed programme of events on right now and throughout the Bank Holiday. There’s a children’s film screening of the Lion King 3D on Saturday 30 April and Sunday 1 May and for bigger people the daily large format film is a must see of the Cairngorms in Winter part of the Scottish Film Season at Rheged. Along with the special events and showings Rheged has, as standard, the award winning café, children’s play areas and arm shop full of locally produced food and crafts.

Tebay Services Hotel have rooms still available for the weekend including family rooms starting from just £154 per room per night for 2 adults and 2 children with breakfast. Visit http://www.westmorlandhotel.com/ for more information.

The Lake District fells in 3D to own at home

With fell walking in the Lake District growing in popularity not just by the year but even by the week. Novice walkers are taking to the fells and realising the beauty of it and accomplishment and those who have been into walking the Lake District fells for some time are taking it one step further and completing longer routes or even the hallowed Wainwright’s 214 peaks.

Although an Ordnance Survey map is required for any walk, a Wainwright illustrated guide to the Lake District is just the temptation whilst sipping a coffee at home, planning the route and getting excited at the prospect of completing it, the insightful and engaging written text perfectly in balance with the detailed and highly accurate line drawings Wainwright is so famous or.

lake district relief map
Map Sculpture’s Classic and Signature in Cedar 3D relief maps of the Lake District

These handcrafted Lake District relief maps have been created by Lake District resident and fell runner Chris Scammell and his business, Map Sculpture. Having had first hand experience of most of the fells either walking running or from above paragliding, Chris along with his carving and creative skills has produces pieces of art any fell walker would love to own and have on their wall. A great way to mark a friends completion of 214 Wainwright’s in a year don’t you think!

The 3D Lake District relief maps are available in Classic and Signature, visit http://mapsculpture.co.uk/ for more details and how to order.

Walking – Lake District – Langdale

Walkers, ramblers, hikers, could do far worse than visit the quite simply, stunning Langdale Valley in the English Lake District.

Completely and utterly unspoilt yet so close to the hustle and bustle of Ambleside with amenities galore and the scenery, well it’s hard to beat. Wherever you stay in the valley there’s a plethora of walks from meandering strolls to 10+ milers, basically something for everyone.

For those who prefer a stroll then head along the Chapel Stile road and do the Great Langdale valley floor walk, Flat and at just 3.25 miles it is a lovely little walk to do of an afternoon before a spot of afternoon tea.

langdale active hotel

A fantastic walk around the 9 to 10 mile mark is the circular walk taking in Great and Little Langdale. Not that taxing really but a decent walk and one that will have more than earned a hearty Lake District dinner and naturally, a couple of pints of real ale. The walk has a good path and the 360 degree views breath taking.

For the more adventurous than even Scafell Pike can be done from this start location as well as Great Gable. For experienced walkers then this is quite a treat and well worth doing. To be able to experience such diverse landscapes of the Lake District National Park in one walk is quite something (and sometimes quicker than driving!).
Stay at Langdale Hotel & Spa in the Lake District and visit their Langdale Active website, http://www.langdaleactive.co.uk where there’s lots of walks mapped and detailed. With a brand new restaurant due to open next month, it’s a walker’s paradise.

High brow hiking in the Lakes

Whether you call it walking, fell walking or hiking, getting about on two legs is more popular than ever in the Lake District.
It is arguably the best way to explore the area as it enables the fell tops to be accessed which opens up jaw dropping views. Walking is also great exercise, gets visitors into the open air and outdoors and is the most sustainable form of getting about.

But hiking has literally been taken to the next level in recent times and especially by the luxury boutique hotel, Brimstone on the Langdale Estate. Walk directly from the hotel and experience a walk to suit any ability from shorter low level walks to those being able to take in the highest fells in the area which are also some of the highest in the whole of the Lake District. Although this hotel could easily fit in within a city, its roots are firmly in the Lake District and none more so than with their Berghaus Bootroom. Guests of the hotel can visit the bootroom and borrow any of the Berghaus walking gear there for use during the stay.

luxury lake district walking bergahus brimstone

So with the location and the gear it seemed natural to start to offer luxury hiking break packages to entice novices and newbies to fell walking. The package offered by Brimstone continues the ethos of the company for sustainable travel so guests will be collected from Windermere Station and taken to the hotel. Staying in one of the luxury suites at Brimstone is an experience itself but remember it’s about walking too so maps and guidance will be given and the Hosts at the hotel will drop off and collect guests if required to and from the chosen walk start. The Reading Room with complimentary snacks and beverages will most definitely be enjoyed after a full days hiking before choosing to dine in room or in one of the restaurants on the estate. Contact Brimstone luxury Lake District hotel on 015394 38062 or visit http://www.brimstonehotel.co.uk/ for more details.

In and around the Langdale Valley are some stunning walks of which a handy selection has been compiled by Brimstone’s sister hotel, The Langdale Hotel also on the estate, http://www.langdale.co.uk/self-guided-walks.html

Walk – Stay – Dine in the Lake District

The Lake District is the walking capital of England but the choice of walking routes and locations is perfectly matched with a plentiful choice of places to dine as well.

Cumbria and the Lake District is becoming as famous for its food as the stunning landscape that brings millions of visitors to this National Park each year.

Walking is most definitely the number one activity people enjoy when visit the Lake District and for most, the reason they do come year after year for holidays, short breaks or even just a day trip.
But it is the characterful, traditional Lakeland pub that so many people think of and wish for. That thought of coming off the fells to a pint of real ale, some hearty food and a real fire is what dreams are made of! Whether it’s for a refreshing drink and refuel in the summer months or a place to dry off and warm through after a winter walking expedition, the Lake District has conveniently located pubs and inns at the end of many a fell walking route.

lake district inn bed and breakfast
Walking, warmth, food and beer=Lake District heaven

An inn for all seasons and one that offers accommodation as well is the Cuckoo Brow Inn and Lake District B&B at Far Sawrey. This base enables exploration of the Windermere, Ambleside, Coniston and Hawkshead fells, can be reached by road or via the Windermere Ferry from Bowness. The policy at this inn is muddy boots etc are always welcome, there is a fire and woodburner to snuggle up to in the cooler months but a large beer garden with open views in the summer. Food and ales are all local, hearty and reasonably priced. The rooms modern and start from around £80 for bed and breakfast. For more information call 015394 43425 or visit http://www.cuckoobrow.co.uk/

Great holiday cottages for Lake District walking breaks

Lets face it, not everyone is into fell walking and venturing to the great outdoors during winter. Just as so many relish trudging through mud, getting battered by wind and feeling “refreshed” with beating rain, it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

So it’s now a very exciting time as near spring with green galore, a warming of the air, longer days and fingers crossed, drier weather. The fells have been waiting for do many of you so the time has come to get that break booked for a spot of fresh air and walking in the Lake District.

lake district walking breaks

The internet provides us with some excellent ideas for walks from locations to difficulty and the treasurers to admire when you’ve reached the top. We don’t mean to bore but it is essential you have an OS map and compass (and knowing how to use both items) is a must for even some of the lower level walks. But back to the walks and well, they’re endless.

Picture postcard and low level then Rydal and Grasmere routes are a delight. Photo opportunities galore, views of the fells with stunning lakes in the foreground. Head across to Coniston and the terrain is more rugged and if you can venture up a gradient, the views are worth it taking in Morecambe Bay and even Blackpool Tower on a super clear day! Coniston Old Man is somethign well worth tackling and saying you’ve completed. Best for a valley walk with the option to head to the hills is the Langdale Valley. The true heart of the Lake District, this valley is easily accessible from Ambleside yet is the gateway to the Western Lake District via the Wrynose and Hardknott Passes.

With walking ideas and cottages to match, the Lakeland Cotatge Company have self catering walking breaks all sewn up. For more information on their walking tips visit, https://www.lakeland-cottage-company.co.uk/holiday-cottages-lake-district/walks-and-days-out/ and to browse their portfolio of luxury holiday cottages where 99% have walks right from the cottage door, visit, https://www.lakeland-cottage-company.co.uk/