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Discover the dramatic beauty of the Northern Lake District

Angelo Pichierri

Discover the dramatic beauty of the Northern Lake District

Hiking Collection by Alex Foxfield

12

Tours

45:46 h

81.2 mi

19,550 ft

Rugged fells rise above glistening ribbon lakes; herds of hardy Herdwick sheep graze the slopes, hemmed in by meandering dry stone walls; smiling hikers pause to wish you well, even on damp days; and beyond its idyllic, chocolate box dales, great snow capped peaks quicken the pulse. There are few places in Britain quite as exquisite as Lakeland.

The Northern Lake District plays host to some of the national park’s finest and most beloved hiking routes. Superstar fells like Helvellyn, Catbells and Blencathra are well-known favourites, yet everywhere there is adventure to discover, charm to be sought and sublime natural beauty to witness. From the excitement found on the knife-edge ridges of Striding Edge and Sharp Edge to the magnificent walking along the shores of Buttermere and Derwent Water, there’s something for every kind of hiker.

I’m a Cumbrian born and bred and grew up with the view of mighty Skiddaw as a constant on the horizon. As a family, we would often picnic in the Northern Fells, frolicking in the streams below Carrock Fell. As I grew older, I discovered a deep and profound love for the fells of my home county, returning time and time again to revel in their delights.

In this Collection, I showcase twelve superb, yet varied hikes in the Northern Lake District. This is by no means a definitive ‘best of’, as such a list is highly subjective and depends on what any given individual wants from a day in the fells. Instead, this is a Collection that contains everything from easier ambles suitable for the whole family, to thrilling ridge scrambles to save for calm and clear conditions. The Tours are roughly ordered in terms of difficulty, starting with the most straightforward. Some of these routes are popular classics, while others are the preserve of the Lakeland connoisseur.

There should be something for everyone in this Collection. From wild mountain climbs and exhilarating ridge scrambles to lakeside strolls and woodland saunters, from famous classics to little-known beauty spots, it showcases some of Lakeland's finest sights and experiences.

The wonderful town of Keswick, often cited as England’s adventure capital, is the ideal base for adventures in the Northern Lake District. Accessible by bus from Kendal, Penrith and Carlisle, Keswick is magically nestled in the shadow of some of the national park’s most iconic fells. With countless gear shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and other attractions, there’s plenty to keep you busy when Lakeland drizzle sets in.

Speaking of the Cumbrian weather, always take waterproof layers on hikes here, while study hiking shoes are also a must. Take plenty of food and drink on the longer hikes and pack a power bank, as you’ll be taking so many photos that your phone won’t know what hit it.

See you on the fells!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Aira Force — Northern Lake District

    Easy
    00:51
    1.78 mi
    2.1 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Aira Force is one of Lakeland’s most famous beauty spots. Adored by generations, it is a wonderfully accessible yet spectacular waterfall that makes for a superb quick walk from the shores of Ullswater. The woodland here was originally landscaped in Victorian times, underlining this special spot’s enduring

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Easy
    01:17
    2.59 mi
    2.0 mph
    475 ft
    475 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Finding an easygoing route in the Lake District which offers some solitude can be a challenge as great as climbing Scafell Pike. However, the peaceful little lake of Loweswater is a lovely escape for the savvy Lakeland visitor, as it is often overlooked.

    

    Nestled into the wooded valley of the Vale of Lorton

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  • Intermediate
    01:50
    4.31 mi
    2.4 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The classic combination of crystal clear lakes and shapely fells has made Buttermere a popular destination with visitors since the Victorian times. Famous for its scenic beauty, the area boasts some of the finest walking in the Lake District.

    

    Another great asset is that you can stroll the entire way around

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Intermediate
    04:30
    10.3 mi
    2.3 mph
    775 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    A loop of Derwent Water is a long-ish hike that fits nicely into an afternoon. Starting and finishing in the town of Keswick, England’s adventure capital, there are plenty of places to refuel or purchase some extra gear once the walk is done.

    

    From Keswick, head along lake road, past the theatre and the

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Intermediate
    03:21
    6.32 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Located at the northern tip of Wainwright’s North Western Fells, Ling Fell and Sale Fell will reward you with awe-inspiring views of the Lake District. In fact, you might even see to Scotland's Southern Uplands on a clear day.

    

    While many opt to climb them separately, combining Ling Fell and Sale Fell

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Intermediate
    03:56
    7.13 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,400 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Often overlooked in favour of Buttermere, Crummock Water is a marvellous adventure, particularly when combined with the charismatic Mellbreak.

    

    With fine fells on every point of the compass, Crummock Water enjoys some gorgeous views. If it is a warm day, it makes for a great swimming spot too.

    

    To start

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  • Intermediate
    04:44
    8.22 mi
    1.7 mph
    2,400 ft
    2,450 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The noble, rounded hump of Skiddaw is an icon of the Northern Lake District and the fourth highest Wainwright behind the Scafells and Helvellyn. This is the oldest mountain group in the national park, formed around 500 million years ago.

    

    The finest hiking is found on its western ridge, Longside Edge

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  • Difficult
    05:31
    10.1 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,475 ft
    2,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The shapely summit of Catbells rises proudly above Derwent Water's southwestern shores, beckoning many to its oft-frequented and panoramic top. A ridge walk traversing the subsequent Wainwrights of Maiden Moor and High Spy is superb, with the bonus tick of Castle Crag achieved before a low level hike

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  • Intermediate
    04:57
    7.91 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,375 ft
    2,375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The hills and mountains in the northern half of the Lake District are generally grassier and more rounded than those in the south.

    

    Things start to change in the Buttermere region, where the magnificent High Stile range towers above the lake and gentle pastures below in a display of fierce crags, lofty

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  • Difficult
    06:13
    9.56 mi
    1.5 mph
    3,150 ft
    3,075 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The Coledale Round is one of the finest horseshoe routes in Lakeland, traversing the characterful fells that enclose the deep valley of Coledale in the North Western Fells. The ridges in this region are wonderful walking territory and are rarely as steep or rough as those found in the more mountainous

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  • Difficult
    05:05
    8.11 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,575 ft
    2,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    There are plenty of ways to climb Helvellyn but this ascent along Striding Edge is definitely the most spectacular — and the most exhilarating.

    

    After the long pull up to the subsidiary Wainwright of Birkhouse Moor, you will find yourself climbing onto the legendary Striding Edge. With spine-tingling drops

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Difficult
    03:32
    4.93 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,000 ft
    2,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This is a wonderful and thrilling mountain journey on one of Lakeland's finest mountains. Ascent is via the exciting narrow crest of Sharp Edge, before a an equally entertaining descent of the less serious Halls Fell Ridge. Both are grade one scrambles and demand a good head for heights.

    

    Starting from

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    12
  • Distance
    81.2 mi
  • Duration
    45:46 h
  • Elevation
    19,550 ft

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