There isn’t much to say about the Lake District that hasn’t already been said. This UNESCO world heritage site has inspired figures as diverse as painter JMW Turner, poet William Wordsworth, and more recently the team behind the Forza Horizon series, who in 2018 chose the Cumbrian Mountains as the location for the award-winning Xbox game.
Although the Lake District only encompasses a relatively small geographic area, its combination of steep fellsides, mountain passes and ancient roads can make travelling from one destination to another a lengthy task, so it is best to try and work out what you want to do prior to visiting.
One of the more favoured walking routes is from Keswick that takes between 3 and 4 hours, and involves venturing from the town via the north-east shore of Derwentwater, climbing above the eastern shore and providing stunning views of the lake, it’s beautiful islands and the fell of Cat Bells on it’s western shore. From here you can climb to Ashness Bridge, a charming local landmark that offers a great opportunity to pause and have a much-needed drink of water! After this, it’s onward to Surprise View for an incredible vista across the Derwent and its numerous pretty islands. If anywhere in the world was meant for Instagram, its this little-known photo spot.
It’s then a further climb to the tiny hamlet of Watendlath, complete with picturesque fishing pond and Cafe, another opportunity to enjoy a rest. From here, it is just a short climb to the summit and the descent into the spectacularly beautiful valley of Borrowdale. Upon reaching the village of Rosthwaite, you can catch an open-topped bus all the way back to Keswick.
For the more adventurous travellers out there, Wastwater on the western edge of the National Park is unmatched for its rugged beauty. England’s deepest lake is flanked on its southern side by an impressive stone scree over a thousand feet in height, plunging down another three hundred feet below the surface of the water. Combined with impressive views of Scafell Pike and Great Gable, the triangular peak so-named because it resembles the gable end of a terraced house.
Just south of Wastwater in the valley of Eskdale is Muncaster Castle. The magnificent 12th Century Castle is well worth a visit, providing an insight into the remote life of medieval Cumbria, as well as stunning views up Eskdale to Scafell Pike, England’s highest point.
If you’re up for a challenge, why not climb to the dizzying heights of Honister Pass and try the Via Ferrata? The course, the name of which translates to ‘Iron Way’ is a challenging mix of wire bridges, steps and rope ladders thousands of feet above the impressive mountain pass. Not for the faint hearted, but enormously rewarding and surely the most unusual way to enjoy some of the most dramatic scenery in Britain!
The Lakes are a truly special landscape, both in terms of their imposing geography and ancient history, involving groups as diverse as the Ancient Romans and the Romantic Poets of the 18th Century. This diversity is also reflected in its modern existence as a holiday spot with something for everyone. Whether you enjoy hiking, climbing and canoeing, or a trip to a cosy country pub serving micro brewed local ales, the Lakes have something for you!