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Favorite thing: Not necessarily my favourite thing, but the Langdales are certainly a beautiful part of the world. The Langdale Pass takes you over a stunningly beautiful road, from Little Langdale to Great Langdale where there is no shortage of people, all out to take in this wonderful landscape.
The valleys takes in Skelwith Falls, Colwith Falls,Elterwater, Blea Tarn, Little Langdale Tarn and lots of intrigueing old quarry workings.
There is a campsite (popular even in March,) a Youth Hostel and a few hotels where sustenance and vital fluids can be topped up.
Fondest memory: Bearing in mind the valleys close proximity to Ambleside, Coniston and the main road, please be aware that this is an extremely popular area and parking can be difficult. People come here to walk one of the many footpaths, leaving cars all day, so if you arrive a bit late in the day, you'll be lucky if you can get parked.
There are so many scenic footpaths in this area, you'll have a job deciding which to take so make sure you plan your route and have a good walking map.
We just managed to get parked near the Three Shires Inn and had a wander down the track to the ford on the Brathay at Little Langdale. We watched some trail bikes ride through the ford, what fun!! From here, there are some superb caverns in the old quarry workings, popular with rock climbers. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to have a look but have pencilled this in for a winter's day when the area might be a little quieter. (Ha ha, it was winter, what am I talking about?)
Updated Mar 31, 2009
Favorite thing: There are a number of great day hikes in the Lake District, so picking a favourite isn't easy. Furthermore, I've only seen a small part of the national park, so there may well be better ones out there that I'm missing. However, the most enjoyable walk I've done so far is the Newlands Horseshoe, a 6-7 hour hike around the quiet, beautiful, and relatively little visited Newlands Valley.
The valley lies west of Derwent Water, while the walk follows ridge routes overlooking the valley from high above. There are a couple of different possible versions of the horseshoe, but it usually includes Cat Bells, Maiden Moor and High Spy on the east side, Dale Head at the head of the valley, and then either Hindscarth or Robinson. If you have the time and energy you could include both of these, while if you are a real glutton for punishment you could also aim to include Knott Rigg, Ard Crags and Causey Pike.
We walked the horseshoe on a crisp, clear day in January, starting with Cat Bells and ending by walking the long ridge down from Hindscarth. The views all along the way were fantastic. First off we had excellent views of Derwent Water, Skiddaw and Blencathra from Cat Bells, while later the Borrowdale Valley and the peaks to the south came into view. The summits were nicely spaced at 1.5 miles intervals so you could time your breaks for reaching the top.
After lunch at Dale Head tarn, we faced the steepest ascent to Dale Head, the highest point of the walk, from where you have the best views of Newlands Valley. We finished by a long descent from Hindscarth - had it been summer we might have tried to include more peaks, but by the time we reached the valley floor again we were both very tired. An essential post hike stop is the Swinside Inn, one of the few pubs in the valley, at the end of the valley.
All in all, a fantastic hike, which I would highly recommend.
Written Jan 10, 2009
Favorite thing: Anyone who has visited the Lake District will have seen (and probably tasted) Kendal Mint Cake as it’s sold in practically every shop. It’s more of a sweet than a cake and it’s ideal to take with you on a long hike in the Lakes as it’s a high energy food and, perhaps more importantly, it’s delicious. And, as it says on the back of every packet, Kendal Mint Cake was carried by Hillary and Tenzing on the first successful climb of Everest in 1953. It’s difficult to get a better recommendation than that!
Written Jun 3, 2007
Favorite thing: Anyone planning on fell walking in the Lake District will find Alfred Wainwright’s books extremely useful. Even though they were published more than 40 years ago, Wainwright’s seven volume “Pictorial Guide to Lakeland Fells” is far batter than many other guidebooks on the subject, and is still surprisingly accurate, as much of the detail has remained unchanged down the years. Wainwright spent 12 years working on his books and they’ve become the standard reference on the Lake District fells.
When we were climbing Scafell Pike from the Eskdale valley, we had two guidebooks with us. The first one vaguely described the route but it wasn’t at all obvious once we reached Sampson‘s Stones. The Wainwright book had detailed drawings and descriptions which made it much clearer. I’ve carried them on every Lakeland climb since and found them very useful.
Written Jun 3, 2007
Favorite thing: A Lake District scene can often be treeless, if it's of mountains but on the lower levels and in the valleys, trees dominate. Be it pine forests or age old traditional English deciduous, I wouldn't be without them. They are just part and parcel of England and in particular, the Lake District. I often think I couldn't live in a place if it didn't have trees yet I would like to visit the Orkney Isles where the barren land holds no trees, not being able to withstand the fierce winds found there.
Fondest memory: Our recent trip to Aira Force highlighted the beauty of an English woodland in October. The trees here had not really started to change colour and the vivid greens of the trees were spectacular.
I believe now there is an autumn tree watch guide which explains where the best show of autumn colours can be found throughout the Lake District. I was just thrilled with the vibrant hues of green still on display in October.
Written Oct 28, 2006
Favorite thing: Buttermere is one of the easiest and prettiest lakes to walk around - takes about 2 hours and if you are blessed with clear weather like we were then you'll have gorgeous views and wonderful reflections of the fells and peaks. This shot is just one of many reflections :-) Please view all the pictures!
Updated Aug 21, 2006
Favorite thing: Knowing a few of these will help determining the meaning of place names:
fell hill, mountain, or high common land
tarn small mountain lake
thwaite a clearing
ghyll / gill narrow ravine or mountain stream
hause summit of a pass
how / howe rounded hill
raise summit of a ridge
rake natural rock passage
heaf grazing area
garth enclosed land or field
Written Sep 1, 2005
Favorite thing: Although the lake district is inundated by visitors, whatever time of year you go there, with a little carefull planning you can find a (reasonably) quiet spot to yourself.
If you get off early in the day, you can be half way round your walk before the hoardes arrive.
Get up early and head off and you have the lake district to yourself (or so it seems)
Fondest memory: My best memory of the lake district was on my recent visit staying in Braithwaite near keswick, during the weeks stay we had seen every kind of weather-gales (yes the ones that had brought all the trees down and closed the forests), rain, snow and sleet. On the last morning we got up very early and as soon as it got light we headed off up Barrow fell, the sun came up and got brighter and brighter-what a marvellous day! the sky was clear-you could see for miles, the views were out of this world-and all before breakfast, and the best bit was that as we were making our way down, having enjoyed the solitude looking forward to a well earned fry up, we were passing loads of people going up who were going to have to share their vantage point with the crowds .Get up early, trust me its worth it.
Updated Jan 31, 2005
Favorite thing: The Lake District National Park within the County of Cumbria is some 30 miles in diameter, covering about 80,000 acres and has some of Englands highest mountains, for example Scafell Pike which is 3,210 feet high and also some of Englands largest lakes, for example, Lake Windermere which is 10½ miles long.
Written Jan 15, 2005
Favorite thing: From the Loughrigg Terrace there are gorgeous sweping views over Grasmere and the surrounding peaks. Grasmere itself is associated with Wordsworth and the town can be a bit too touristy for some - so get out onto the hills and see the views he loved so much.
Updated Jan 15, 2005