Carefully sorting your gear out for a long distance walk like the Cumbria Way is very important © Dave and Angie Walsh www.masarnenramblers.com Find out more about the route that The Cumbria Way takes Help and advice on planning your Cumbria Way walk Sort your accommodation needs along The Cumbria Way whether it be B&Bs, Hostels or campsites Browse our collection of photographs taken along the route of the Cumbria Way Discover more about The Cumbria Way by reading many of the related links on www.thecumbriaway.co.uk
Preparing for the Cumbria Way

The summit of High Pike on day 4 and the only Wainwright fell on the official route © Sean McMahon
The summit of High Pike on day 4
and the only Wainwright fell on the
official route © Sean McMahon



Ulverston
t: 01229 587120
ulverstontic@southlakeland.gov.uk

Coniston
t: 015394 41533
conistontic@lake-district.gov.uk

Keswick
t: 0845 901 0845
keswicktic@lake-district.gov.uk

Carlisle
t: 01228 598596
www.discovercarlisle.co.uk

Spooney Green Lane leaves Keswick to ascend the flank of Latrigg on day 4 of the Cumbria Way © Roger Hiley
Spooney Green Lane leaves Keswick to ascend the flanks of Latrigg on day 4 of
the Cumbria Way © Roger Hiley



Let someone else do the hard work whilst you concentrate on walking the Cumbria WayOrganised Holidays and Baggage Transfers
If you decide to lighten your load either move your bags between stages or even plan your whole trip whilst you just turn up and carry a day-sack then click on the rucksack above left to find a list of companies willing to do just that ... more details


Maps
The Cumbria Way is mostly well defined on the ground and way marking is, generally, quite good. However, a good quality map showing the route in detail is highly recommended - as is a compass and the ability to use it!

Harvey's Cumbria Way
Harveys Cumbria Way map A waterproof strip map at 1:40,000 scale shows the Cumbria Way route on a single sheet with useful info.

Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale maps (no's OL4, OL5, OL6, OL7 and 315) clearly show the entire route of the Cumbria Way in detail.
The OS Explorer Maps covering the whole of The Cumbria Way

Footprints Cumbria Way
This waterproof map is divided into 5 sections, 1:40,000 scale and based on Ordnance Survey data.
     

 Cumbria Way Books

 There are some very good guidebooks  covering the Cumbria Way and these are  detailed below.

The Cumbria Way by Anthony BurtonThe Cumbria Way
by Anthony Burton
Published 1999
ISBN 978-1854106155
Now out of print but still available second hand. Mapping 1:25000 scale

The Cumbria Way by Paul HannonCumbria Way
by Paul Hannon
Published 2005
ISBN 978-1870141765
I believe this is out of print but second hand copies can be bought. No mapping

Walking the Cumbria Way by John Gillham
Walking The Cumbria Way
by John Gillham
Published 2015
ISBN: 978-1852847609
Very detailed information. The book has OS mapping but only at 1:50,000

The Cumbria Way by John TrevelyanThe Cumbria Way
by John Trevelyan
Published 2000
ISBN 978-1855681972
I believe this is out of print but second hand copies can be bought. No mapping.

The Cumbria Way by Peter JacksonThe Cumbria Way
by Peter Jackson
Published 2012
ISBN: 978-1908098375
Detailed description and information. No mapping but GPX files are available


The Cumbria Way by Paddy DillonThe Cumbria Way
by Paddy Dillon
Published 2013
ISBN: 978-1898481577
Very informative although I think you will need some separate mapping.



The Cumbria Way by Jason FriendThe Cumbria Way
by Jason Friend
Published 2006
ISBN 978-1903506202
 Not a guidebook but a collection of  excellent photographs along the Cumbria  Way taken through different seasons.  Also includes commentary and maps.



Contact The Cumbria Way GuideGet in touch
If you wish to get in touch with us about any thing related to the Cumbria
  Way then simply visit the Contact Us
  page for details

Heading into Langdale with magnifcent views ahead at the start of day 3 on the Cumbria Way © Dave Walsh
Heading into Langdale with magnifcent views ahead at the start of day 3 on the Cumbria Way © Dave Walsh

 

 


This page has been put together to aid novice walkers or walkers new to the Cumbria Way to help plan their trip. Hopefully the experienced long distance walkers out there will happen along the site and maybe add some input and feedback? If you would like to add some feedback then email me at info@thecumbriaway.co.uk

Please note that this site is no substitute for a map/s covering the route and it is recommended that you go armed on the route with a map, compass and also a decent guidebook to help you along the way and also point out some of the interesting features and places along the Cumbria Way.

Route Changes
There have been very few changes to the route over the years. Below I have detailed the changes that are listed on the Ramblers Cumbria Way page.

Permanent New Route at Newbiggin The public footpath which passed through the buildings at Newbiggin, some 2km north of Ulverston, has been diverted so the Cumbria Way now follows a cross field footpath to the west of the original route. After joining the public road at Higher Lath Farm (SD 276 802) walk downhill for about 170 metres to where a footpath signpost on your left shows the start of the new route. After entering the field head north towards two field gates. Pass through the gate on the right and continue in the same direction to go through a further field gate. Once you have passed through this gate, do not continue straight ahead but bear right to head diagonally to the opposite corner of the field. After passing through another field gate, continue on the same line to rejoin the original route at SD 278 808.

Two landslips occurred at Dentonside Woods, east of Caldbeck (approx. locations NY351 403 & NY355 404). A closure notice was issued but I walked this section April 2019 and can confirm that we encountered no problem at all.

Bell Bridge, north of Sebergham was destroyed by floods in 2015 and a new bridge was completed in 2017 making this section completely fine to walk.

Checklist of items to take

  • Clothing/Trainers/Socks/Underwear to change into after the days walk
  • Personal hygiene items - not all B&Bs provide these
  • Guidebook, Map and Compass and the knowledge to use it
  • Water proof trousers and jacket
  • Mid layers - fleece/sweater etc.
  • Sunblock / hat in summer
  • Gloves / hat in winter
  • Basic First Aid kit as well a whistle, foil blanket and head torch
  • Sturdy walking boots / shoes preferably well worn in
  • Money as not everywhere takes cards
  • Drinks container / water bladder
  • Spare bootlaces
  • Your lunch - there is nowhere to buy food between Ulverston and Coniston as well as between Keswick and Caldbeck.
  • and last but not least a camera to record your trip and send in some photos to this web site

Direction of travel
The general consensus seems to be for a south to north trip and this is how the way the Ramblers Association have the walk in their official guide book and to me it is the logical way BUT many people prefer getting the Carlisle to Caldbeck section over and done with first and this means they are walking to the sea at Ulverston. The prevailing wind comes from the west so it will be blowing across the route whichever direction you choose. Likewise the gradients are no easier in either direction and both Carlisle and Ulverston have good links for public transport. My choice would be for the southern start, not only because I live only 18 miles from Carlisle but more importantly it just feels the right way to walk the route!

Fit to walk
The Cumbria Way is a generally low level walk with only 2 major climbs along the way. The first is the unavoidable ascent of Stake Pass at the start of Day 3 and then on Day 4 the long slow climb up to High Pike - the only Wainwright fell on the route. The ascent of High Pike can be avoided but I have done both options and unless it is cloudy on the tops then I would always opt for the High Pike route.
There are, of course, other ups and downs along the route but nothing to unduly worry you. Fitness wise a fell walk once a fortnight is not going to be enough to see you through 5 days of walking and you will need to build up towards what is an enjoyable but relatively serious undertaking.
As a general rule of thumb once you can manage a minimum of two consecutive, long days of fell walking then you are pretty much ready to tackle the route.
If you haven't walked any great distance before then you will obviously need to do some serious training before you start. The golden rule is start off gently and build up and if you are in any doubt about your fitness then check with your doctor.

Guide Books and Maps
There are many guide books dedicated to The Cumbria Way and although quite a few are out of print these can still be purchased online at decent prices. The route itself has not changed much since the 1970's and most likely will not change much in the next 30 years. There is a section on this page which lists any relevant changes. I have copies of most of the guide books but in all honesty the one that have I taken with me the most was The Cumbria Way by John Trevelyan which is now pretty tattered.
The standard of mapping in most guidebooks is pretty low so I would definitely suggest that you take a decent map with you to complement the guidebook. Again, I have listed some of these on the left hand side of the page.

Your feet are your best friends
Wear good quality, lightweight and preferably waterproof boots and make sure they are well worn in before the big walk. It is also worth pointing out that socks are one of walkers best friends so invest in some decent ones.

Stay dry
Whatever the weather always carry adequate foul weather clothing with you as this is Lakeland and whilst you may be in bright sunshine in one valley the next one along could very well be bucketing it down. Before you set off ensure that your waterproof jacket and over-trousers are in good condition and will actually keep the rain out.

Rucksack
Remember you will have to carry all your clothes and belongings on your back so plan carefully and try not to take the kitchen sink. Practice packing your rucksack and get used to carrying it by walking with it before the trip a few times. Carry waterproof sacks to keep your gear dry or, a cheaper alternative is to take a couple of bin-liners with you to do the same job.

Baggage Transfer and Organised Holidays
There are companies out there who offer a baggage transfer service transporting your stuff between your chosen accommodation leaving you free to enjoy the route whilst traveling light. Other companies offer organised holidays, either guided or self guided. They will book your accommodation, transport your luggage between accommodation and provide advice, maps, guidebooks etc. If you are interested in any of the services offered I have compiled a list of companies for you to contact. More details at Baggage Transfer/Holidays

Accommodation
Especially if you are staying in B&B's, Camping barns, YH's etc then you should always pre-book your accommodation especially in the very busy summer months. Be aware that in some areas such as Langdale and Keswick there is a shortage of one night only stays with most establishments asking for a minimum 2 night stay.
There are some places along the route, Caldbeck is a good example, which have a limited number of places to stay and therefore beds fill up quickly. If you are struggling then one tip is to try somewhere slightly further afield and ask if they are willing to pick you up and drop you off the following morning. I have done this in the past and never being charged extra for it.
So you can see why it is always advisable to pre-book your accommodation well in advance of your planned trip. Details of accommodation providers along the route can be found on this web site by clicking here

Cumbria Way waymarkerKnow your Way
As a whole the Cumbria Way is pretty well way-marked and I have even spotted a few home-made markers along the route. However, I would always recommend carrying a map and a guide book for extra guidance - details of many of the available publications are listed down the left hand side of this page. Before you set off on your Cumbria Way adventure browse this web site for information on the route and spend those long winter evenings poring over the map, your chosen guidebook.

What about the dog?
Dogs are excellent companions whilst out fell walking but you do need to be aware that there aren't many sections of the route where 'Patch' will be allowed to run free. Many B&Bs do not accept dogs and your back may not take too kindly to carrying the dogs food either. Whilst I was walking the route a few years ago from Langdale to Keswick with my dog I had a scary 5 minutes whilst surrounded by very inquisitive cattle near Rosthwaite - as well trained as our dog was he (or his presence) could easily have made the situation worse.

Be safe
If you are walking alone then let someone know your route and estimated time of arrival and just as important don't forget to let them know that you have arrived safe and sound!

When to walk The Cumbria Way
As we all know, the lake District can get wet, it can also be very cold and windy but it also has a surprisingly large number of glorious fell-walking days. Alas I can't guarantee when any of these are going to happen and all I can do is say 'be prepared for anything'! April through September seems to be the consensus for when to walk the route but bear in mind that the peak summer months will be very busy with an accompanying hike in the cost of accommodation.

Disclaimer
All of the information given on this page are my own suggestions and advice which have worked well for me. However, I would urge anyone planning on walking The Cumbria Way to do their own research, gauge their own fitness levels and make their own choices based on what they find.

 
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