The Lake District

The Lake District Jan 2010

The Lake District Jan 2010

The Lake District

For those who have never visited ‘The Lake District’ of England, and no matter where you live in the world I will in this article try to give you my insight into the beauty and splendour which makes the Lake District so popular with visitors from around the world, with a liberal sprinkling of facts.

The Lake District National Park is the largest of England’s National Parks and includes Scafell Pike, which is the highest mountain in England, with Wastwater being the deepest lake, whilst Windermere is England’s largest lake. The Lake District is also known as The Lakes or Lakeland and is situated in the North West of England. The Lakes are a popular holiday destination, for short breaks, outdoor activity holidays and walking holidays.

The Lake District is famous for its lakes, mountains and fells, and its association with the 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and the Lake Poets.

The Lake District Winter 08

The Lake District Winter 08

The Lake District was designated as a National Park in 1951, whilst also being the largest of thirteen National Parks in England and Wales, and the second largest in the UK after the Cairngorms of Scotland.

All the land in England higher than three thousand feet above sea level lies within the Lake District National Park, including such peaks as Scarfell Pike (3,209), Scarfell (3,163) and Helvellyn (3,117).

The Lake District is one of the most highly populated National Parks. Its total area being 885 square miles, and is considered one of the most scenic regions and England’s premier destination for hiking, climbing, outdoor activities and walking.

The Lake District

The northern gate way to the Lake District is Penrith, with Bowness on Windermere at the middle.

The Lake District Mountains and hills are known locally as Fells. The Lakeland Fells are England’s only true mountain range and though not high by world standards they nevertheless offer a huge number and array of challenging and rewarding hill walks. All can be walked without ropes and the like, and due to the long tradition of recreational walking in the Lakes there is a great network of paths and routes you may embark upon. Additionally worth a mention is the free access to virtually all areas above the “intake wall” (ie the last wall as you climb out of the valley).

According to the most respected authority (guidebook author Alfred Wainright) there are 214 fells, which will suitably test all levels of walker, most of which offer a number of routes, plus many opportunities to ridge walk between the fells.

The Lake District April

The Lake District April

The highest fell as previously stated is Scarfell Pike, although this tag of “highest” designation leads to a lot of traffic, and visitors who want to experience a high Lake District fell may want to choose another. Some of the slightly smaller fells can be a lot more rewarding to walk, whilst offering better views such as, Great Gable and Helvellyn being popular choices. Less well known hills include Grisedale Pike, Bowfell and one of my favourites being Blencathra (sharp edge).

Getting around the Lake District is easy with and served by multiple bus routes, with many being operated by Stagecoach.

Budget travellers can book a day tour to get to see the best of the Lake District in a day, with Mountain Goat being one of the popular tour operators in the area. There is some great value Lake District Hostels throughout the area providing simple no frills accommodation.

The Lake District

The National Trust is one of the largest land owners within the Lake District protecting a quarter of the National Park and approximately 90,000 acres, whilst offering some unique National Trust cottages for holiday lets.  If you are looking for holiday accommodation there is a large selection of self-catering idyllic country cottages available for your holiday although book in advance as the popular one’s go quickly.

The Lake District Spring 09

The Lake District Spring 09

Bed and breakfast is one of the more popular types of accommodation in the area, and a great way to meet local people, on farms, villages and in the towns depending on your requirements.

Eating and drinking in the Lake District seems to go hand in hand with traditional Lakeland pubs being more prevalent than restaurants in the region, whilst most of them serve traditional English food. With so much sheep farming in the area of the Lake District, roast lamb is a favourite local dish. Cumberland sausage is a speciality throughout Cumbria, and locally caught Borrowdale trout is a popular. Not for getting the great opportunity to sample many local types of real ale in a traditional English pub after a long day walking in the fells of the Lake District.

The mountains and fells of the Lake District are by no means the most extreme mountains in world, although as with any outdoor adventure can still present a serious threat to your safety whilst walking, and underestimating them can be fatal, be safe and as my grandmother said use your common sense and enjoy.

There is an abundance of holiday accommodation within Cumbria, the Lake District National Park and the Eden Valley, with Campsites, Guest Houses and local pubs. For a pet friendly home search our Lake District Cottages for a local cottage close to your desired Lakeland destination. Making your visit to the Lake District something special.

Blencathra Walk From Threlkeld Village

Blencathra From Great Mell Fell

Blencathra From Great Mell Fell

Blencathra Walk From Threlkeld

Blencathra is a well known Lake District mountain which can easily be seen as you approach Keswick from Penrith on the A66.

There are several possible accents of Blencathra walk as you would imagine although for the first attempt at walking this famous peak. I would suggest starting from the village of Threlkeld and as you enter the village from the Penrith side look for a road on your right leading to the Blencathra visitor’s center. There is a small car park on your right as you travel upwards on this country road.

Blencathra Walk From Threlkeld

Leaving the car park in the village of Threlkeld you will follow the valley and start to climb a gradual slope and ultimately cross a stream. Then traversing the fields leftwards and following the stone wall you will see a track on your right that will start to climb sharply and this is your accent upwards to the summit of Blencathra.

This route is a lot easier than the world famous “Sharp Edge” route and a lot less dangerous. It is suitable for children as I have walked it with my children and the views from the top are stunning on a clear day.

There is a half way point on this route up Blencathra where you will be able to see Derwent Water and Keswick then the footpath takes on a slight zig zag as the path follows the contours of the steep gradient, thus making the walk a little easier than directly upwards.

On reach the relatively level part of the pathway the route is clearly visible to the summit. If you are thinking of taking a break at the summit and maybe even having some lunch, I will say that it can be windy here, therefore it might be advisable to enjoy 2 or 3 small lunch breaks during your walk. This also allows for you to take in the views easily.

Once at the summit you can see Sharp Edge and if you walk a little closer you will usually get some great photographs of people ascending via this route. The route down gives you plenty of choices, whilst having reached the top of Blencathra you can easily decide on your level of fitness etc which route back to take.

It is always good to take a map with you as detours are good if you know where you are going.

I hope you enjoy our video of our recent Blencathra walk.

Blencathra Walk

Enjoy your Blencathra walk.