This page covers a selection of my favourite walks in the Lake District, the mountain area I’ve walked more than any other. And it’s been difficult deciding which ones make the cut. After all what criteria do I use ? And what if what would have otherwise been a favourite walk is spoiled by poor weather – is it any less a great walk than a less inspiring walk in nice conditions ?
Only time will answer this question. Many of the memorable walks will be repeated over the years, and this list will change. Maybe some walks that I didn’t really enjoy at the time because of the weather, will shoot up the list and become favourites. We’ll just have to wait and see.
So here I’m going to give a list of my 8 favourite Lake District walks, with links to a special write-up for each one. This is very much a personal list though so please don’t be offended if your favourite isn’t here. I might not even have done it yet.
The list is in no particular order of preference, at least at the moment, but who knows whether they will arrange themselves over time. Purely for convenience, I have listed them in the order I did them.
If you’re reading this page, then there’s a fairly good chance you’ve done a hill walk before. Good, then you should know what to do to keep yourself safe and comfortable, so I’m not going to spell it out. If you’re looking for the beginner’s guide to hill walking, then please go elsewhere for advice on what to wear, what to consume, how to plan etc. Nevertheless, on each walk I have tried to give some indication of how tough it is and any particular challenges involved, and if I can remember how long it took me.
I’m confident that quite a few people would choose this as a favourite. What’s not to love ? They’re amongst the most distinctive fells in the Lake District, you can make them out from the other side of the M6, they provide great views towards Bowfell and the Scafells, and down langdale towards Ambleside and Windermere. The Pikes also have a bit of everything – shapely summits, great views, tarns, and one of the great scrambles in the Lakes. Despite what I said above, this will always be one of my favourite walks, and holds a lot of memories.
This one probably attracts a bit less support, on the other hand. Walked on a wet day when killing time in Grasmere, I wasn’t prepared for the view up Langdale, and I sat at the tarn’s side in the pouring rain for over an hour just chilling out. This is a place of reflection for me, and it’s a short walk from civilisation. Much of the attraction is in the destination however.
My first ascent of Bowfell was via the Great Slab, and this was the day I discovered the motivation that an interesting ascent can inject into the rest of the walk. Instead of returning to Langdale after Esk Pike, I extended it to Great End and then Scafell Pike, accepting the telling off I would get for being late back to the camp site. But if you don’t want to risk that, there are several options for bailing out so you get back in time.
I love this walk because the fell is generally regarded as inferior to most of its neighbours, which is natural when you live next door to Great End, Glaramara and Great Gable. But it has an enjoyable scramble and one of the best tarns of the Lake District. And plenty of options for the return leg.
As a huge fan of the outlying fells, no selection would be complete without including one of them in this list. Possibly the finest of all the outlying fells, and surely only omitted from the Wainwrights because it’s so peripheral compared with the rest, it offers great views over the coast, towards the Isle of Man and, some say, Wales. This walk starts from Silecroft.
Another odd choice, as the weather wasn’t great when I did it. But I loved the walk up Red Screes from Ambleside, even though I couldn’t see much when I got to the top. The return along the bottom of Scandale is relatively easy but feels long.
8. Helvellyn by the Edges
One of the classic walks in the Lake District, the ascent of Helvellyn by Striding Edge and descent by Swirral Edge is so popular that you have to time it carefully to avoid queueing. Which I did. A perfect end to a 10 day walking trip.