The wooded path through Borrowdale
towards Grange © Roger Hiley
Looking back along the route
traverses the flank of Lonscale Fell
on day 4 of The Cumbria Way
A wooded riverside path on day 5 of the
Cumbria Way nearing Sebergham
This page is designed to give you a brief overview of the route
and how it breaks down into separate stages - for more detailed
information on particular stages and places use the main picture
links above to find info such as tourist attractions, more detailed
route summary, places to visit, eating and drinking establishments.
At approximate 75 miles long the Cumbria Way is typically walked over
5 or 6 days covering an average distance of 14 miles or so per
day. The route seems to naturally break down into 5 stages giving
an easy introduction to long distance walking. You can of course
spread the trip over less or more days depending on your fitness,
experience and inclination. Some walkers take seven or eight leisurely
days on the route taking time out spend more time in some of the
places en-route or even to climb to climb Coniston Old Man, the
Langdale Pikes or Skiddaw!
day one - Ulverston to Coniston - 16 miles
Starting at the Cumbria Way marker sculpture in The Gill at Ulverston, a short, sharp climb out of Ulverston follows before the route heads over farmland for the first
few miles before a gradual climb up to the rugged moorland of the Blawith Fells and Beacon
Tarn. A, sometimes damp, descent leads you off the heights before traversing the slopes of Coats Hill and descending further alongside a delightful beck and onto a magical wooded lakeside walk alongside the shores of Coniston Water. This 4 mile stretch of lakeside walking,. although level, has been known to sap the strength of walkers but the scenery more than makes up for the tiredness. Upon reaching Coniston Hall a fenced path brings
you out at your first stopover in the village of Coniston.
Day 2 begins with an easy climb to the popular chocolate box
scenery of Tarn Howes with stunning views of the Coniston fells.
After a delightful walk alongside Tarn Howes a gradual descent leads you eventually to Skelwith Force. There then follows a level
walk close to lonely Elterwater which brings you out in the village of Elterwater and a chance for refreshments. There then follows a fantastic
final 4 or 5 miles up the valley of Great Langdale with stunning views 0f the
Langdale Pikes ahead of you before you reach the end of your second day at the Old Dungeon Ghyll.
The first real climb of the Cumbria Way comes at the end of a
secluded walk into the wonderful valley of Mickleden and its glacial moraines. After ascending the zigzags of Stake Pass and winding your way across Martcrag Moor there follows a descent alongside delightful waterfalls into the equally secluded Langstrath
valley. After crossing Stonethwaite Beck which you then follow for 2 miles you reach Rosthwaite and a chance of a cuppa before a scenic walk through the finest scenery that Borrowdale can offer leads you to Grange. After a short section of road walking a wooded trail alongside Derwentwater takes you through Portinscale and
into the bustling lakeland town of Keswick and the end of day 3.
Today starts with a climb alongside the flanks of Latrigg and around
the shoulder of Lonscale Fell before arriving at isolated Skiddaw
House where you make the decision to follow the high level route
over High Pike or opt for the more more cautious low level route
which skirts the base of the fells. Unless you an experienced navigator In bad weather the choice
is almost always straightforward - go low as navigation can be tricky
on the tops here when the mist comes down. In fair weather
I would always opt for the high level route through the valley and a delightful climb alongside Grainsgill Beck leading to a perfect butty stop at Lingy Hut. A gradual ascent tops you out on High Pike, the only Wainwright 214 fell on the whole route, before a grassy descent and short road walk fetches you at at Caldbeck and the end of day 4 of your Cumbria Way walk.
Just as the first day of your Cumbria Way trip started with gentle
rolling farmland and easy tracks so the last day ends - until you hit Dalston. Keeping for the most part to farmland,
woodland walks and tracks the route follows the River Caldew towards Carlisle.
Dalston to Carlisle is on a cycle way and although many people complain about this section I find it to be thoroughly enjoyable and a final chance to stretch those legs before the end of your Cumbria Way adventure. However, although this section looks relatively easy on paper remember that
looks are deceptive. Although relatively level all the way to
Carlisle you have to remember that you have four days walking
under your belt already and maybe the energy levels are dropping
a bit! Finally you reach Carlisle and the Market Cross, take a photo and congratulate yourself on completing a fine walk through the best that Cumbria has to offer.