The Cumbria Way: Crossing the Lake District

New Dungeon Ghyll, Great LangdaleWalking through bluebell woods near ConistonOn the trail to LangdaleViews  to Low Water, from Coniston Old ManChapel Stile, near LangdaleOld man of Coniston from near Beacon TarnSummit of Beacon Hill overlooking Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam and Coniston waterSt. Johns Church, Osmotherley

The Cumbria Way: Crossing the Lake District

Trip Highlights

  • The English Lake District
  • Walking from Ulverston to Carlisle
  • Views across Lake Coniston and Derwentwater
  • Langdale and Borrowdale two of the prettiest Lakeland Valleys
  • Pass the loneliest hostel in England

Trip Summary

The walk is a complete south to north crossing of the Lake District National Park and much of the county of Cumbria. English Lakeland is England’s most mountainous area and walking is unquestionably the best way to see this celebrated landscape, hailed over the years by the likes of poets, authors and painters. Wordsworth, Tennyson, Arthur Ramson, Beatrix Potter and Wainwright, have all left their mark! The distances covered each day vary but for the first 5 or 6 days a least, there is ample time to pause and admire the unsurpassed scenery. The route is very much a classic although it largely avoids upland areas where navigation would become a problem in poor weather. On the penultimate walking day attention needs to be applied to the map in a couple of places where the route is hard to trace on the ground.

Suitability

Some long days and steep climbs and descents. Generally however undulating. Mixed weather can be expected. We would not recommend the route for first time walkers.

Itinerary

Make your own way to the start point in Ulverston. This is an historic market town close to the shores of Morecambe Bay. There are attractive cobbled streets with cafes and pubs, whilst murals depict the town's history and that of its famous son John Barrow. Another son was Stan Laurel and you can visit the Laurel and Hardy Museum. Accommodation: Your first night is at a friendly, Georgian townhouse in the heart of this attractive market town and there is a friendly atmosphere and a warm welcome . Rooms have ensuite bathrooms and are equipped with T.V and tea and coffee making facilities.

Meals:  Nil

Leaving Ulverston the way follows gently undulating farmland with views towards Morecambe Bay and the Barrow Memorial. Later there are enticing views of the superb mountains to come. There are frequent stiles and 'kissing gates' along the footpaths. Eventually you divert from the route to find your night stop in the quiet village of Lowick Green or Spark Bridge. Accommodation: A traditional British pub is tonight's accommodation. All rooms are ensuite and have a simple modern feel to them.

Meals:  B

The undulations get bigger as you pass hillside farms and ascend over a pass with views ahead to The Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam and other fells. Descend to Beacon Tarn with an option to ascend a small peak called Beacon Hill for better views. Descend to the shores of Coniston Water and a pleasant walk ensues along the western shores of the lake all the way up to Coniston Village. Once nestled in Coniston you have a full day to explore! You can tackle The Coniston Old Man or take a trip on the lake on the steamer; visit Grisedale forest or simply relax in this pleasant place. This is a classic Lakeland landscape and the setting for 'Swallows and Amazon's' and an inspiration for Beatrix Potter and John Rushkin. Accommodation: Situated in the centre of Coniston village. We use a couple of comfortable B&Bs. Evening meals are available in the many pubs and restaurants nearby. Coniston is a superb base for walks and two nights are spent here. If you prefer not to have two nights we can amend the itinerary to one night only. Please advise at the time of booking.

Meals:  B

Leaving Coniston, you head up into the hills and woods passing the exquisite little lake at Tarn Hows and then flirt with the farms around the beautiful Little Langdale Valley, with a visit to a couple of waterfalls. Eventually you will enter the beautiful Langdale Valley via the stunning walk along Elterwater and then walking through the tiny villages of Elterwater and Chapel stile. There is a final quiet sheep track walk along the side of the valley before dropping down to one of the two iconic hotels cosseted by the famous 'Plkes' high above. This is Lake-land scenery at its best. Accommodation: The family owned hotel nestles beneath the Langdale Pikes and Pavey Ark in 6 acres of mature gardens and pasture. IMPORTANT NOTE for night 5: Langdale does not normally accept one night bookings on a Friday or Saturday night so please bear this in mind when choosing your start date. It is sometimes possible to book accommodation in Ambleside over a weekend for one night but this does involve a bus journey (not included in price).

Meals:  B

Meals:  B

A walk through the delightful woodlands of Borrowdale, a possible diversion can be made to the village of Grange for coffee before a walk along the shores of the island studded Derwentwater to Keswick, - a lively and attractive market town at the heart of the Lake District. On the way there is time for a sharp climb up to the ever popular Cat Bells (1479ft / 451m) or from Keswick you could visit the Castlerigg Stone Circle. If you want to climb Skiddaw the mountain that towers over the town, you will need to stay an extra night. Accommodation: In the market town of Keswick that nestles beneath the giant Skiddaw by the shores of Derwentwater, you will stay at one of a number of comfortable B&Bs and Guest houses around the town. There is a large choice of places to eat.

Meals:  B

Leave the fleshpots of Keswick for some remote walking across the fells, to the north of Skiddaw. On the way a short diversion to the peak of Latrigg presents one of the best views of the Lakes - it is unlikely that after this you will see that many people today. There are two possible routes the normal one via High Pike has two sections where the route is not so easy to follow on the ground and good visibility and some map reading ability is required. This is a couple of miles shorter than the ‘bad weather route’ which should be undertaken if there is any doubt about weather, visibility, or your abilities of navigation. You will be able to make the decision about the route at just before the half way stage of the walk, by the most remote youth hostel in Britain – Skiddaw House. From High Pike (658m / 2158ft), the last bastion of the Cumbrian mountains and the highest point on the Cumbria Way you gradually descend into the pretty old mill village of Caldbeck. Accommodation: We use an attractive old pub in the centre of Caldbeck which has 15 rooms and and extensive restaurant.

Meals:  B

Another long day, but easier and more scenic as you follow the delightful Caldbeck and Caldew Rivers all the way into the City of Carlisle. It is a very different kind of day, with some woodland and pastoral undulations passing some interesting old farms and a castle. As you approach Carlisle the scenery becomes more suburban, but there are opportunities to visit both the cities castle and cathedral, before or after finishing in the Market Square; the official end of the Cumbria Way. Accommodation: A little out of the town centre in the suburb of Stanwix, the hotel is used to having walkers both from the Cumbria Way and from the Hadrians Wall. There is a pub across the road and you are a 20 min walk to the centre or a 5 min taxi ride or bus option. Comfortable ensuite rooms, lovely lounge with tea and coffee and a great breakfast will all make you feel at home.

Meals:  B

Depart Carlisle for your onward journey.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 9 breakfasts
  • 9 nights accommodation guesthouses and hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred not exceeding 20kg
  • Information pack including route notes & maps (1 pack per room booked)
  • Emergency hotline

What's Not Included

  • Lunch, dinner and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:10 Days
Countries:England
Starting Point:Ulverston
Finishing Point:Carlisle
Activities:Self-guided walking
Grade:moderate to challenging  Click for more information
Trip Code:WCD
Prices From:GBP£830 Per Person
single supplement:GBP£230  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.