The Cumbria Way - about The Cumbria Way route
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About the Cumbria Way

Originally pioneered by local groups of the Ramblers Association during the 1970's the route was devised to give the walker a flavour of Cumbria as a whole rather than just the Lake District. Splitting naturally into 5 stages, each stage offers the walker different scenery each day.

Although classed as a 'long distance footpath' the route is at the lower end of the long-distance walking spectrum but stuffed into these 70 odd miles are some of the most varied terrain and stunning scenery to be found anywhere in the British isles.

Most of the walking is on established paths along valley bottoms with only 2 major ascents and should be achievable by most fit walkers over the course of 5 days or even a week or so with a couple of days off for sightseeing or relaxing along the way. If circumstances don't allow you a full week off then you could easily split the route into sections and treat them as day walks.

Mickleden looking towards Bowfell and Rosset Pike at the start of day 3 © Sean McMahon
Mickleden looking towards Bowfell
and Rossett Pike at the start of
day 3 © Sean McMahon

The church at Chapel Stile as seen from the 
              Cumbria Way path on day 2 © Dave Brown
The church at Chapel Stile as
seen from the Cumbria Way path
on day 2 © Dave Brown


cumulative distances from Ulverston in miles
Broughton beck
Beacon Tarn
Tarn Howes
Skelwith Bridge
Dungeon Ghyll
Skiddaw House
Lingy Hut



Heading towards Skiddaw House on day 3 of the Cumbria Way
Heading towards Skiddaw House
on day 3 of the Cumbria Way

Route Summary

Beginning in the market town of Ulverston overlooking Morecambe Bay the route threads its way over gentle, rolling farmland and moorland before arriving at the shores of Coniston and the Lake District proper. You then visit the famous beauty spot of Tarn Howes before heading towards the majestic Langdale Pikes via Elterwater and Chapel Stile.

The wild and rugged valleys of Mickleden and Langstrath separated by the steep ascent of Stake Pass are next on day 2 offering magnificent walking in magnificent, remote surroundings. A visit to the small village of Rosthwaite before a glorious, wooded trail through Borrowdale leads you to Grange and eventually bringing you out on the shores of Derwentwater.

After the hustle and bustle of Keswick you ascend the flanks of Latrigg and Lonscale Fell coming out at Skiddaw House. From here a remote walk over moorland and an ascent of High Pike eventually leads you to the village of Caldbeck. The route from Caldbeck into Carlisle starts through delightful, pastoral scenery and then follows from Dalston the wanderings of the River Caldew as it leads you to your journeys end at the historic border city.

Cumbria Way signAs a whole the Cumbria Way is pretty well trodden on the ground and this, along with a selection of official way-marker signs marked like the one opposite, does help to point you in the right direction. There are also plenty of traditional wooden sign posts marking the route of the Cumbria Way and other footpaths as you would normally find in the countryside. On top of this there are plenty of 'unofficial' signs pointing the way made, mostly from paint on slabs of slate or large rocks - see example below pointing out the direction of Stake Pass. I have even spotted a few home-made markers over the years on garden walls but these don't always last that long.

However, I would always recommend carrying a map and a guide book for extra guidance - details of many of the available publications are listed on the Preparation page of this website.

Directions to Stake Pass at the head of Mickleden on the Cumbria Way © Dave WalshDirections to Stake Pass at the head of Mickleden
on the Cumbria Way © Dave Walsh

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