Valleys of Lakeland

(74 miles, 6 days)

General Overview

“A 6 day discovery of the Lakeland valleys and high passes”

The scribblings of Wainwright and our own natural desire to climb to the highest point around has meant that walkers tend to head for the fell tops often in the most direct manner. However this has meant that the valleys and lowland passes tend to be ignored unless they are on the way to a summit which is a shame as some of the best and most interesting walking is over the high passes which divide the Lakeland valleys.

The ‘Lakeland Valleys’ walk takes in all the main Lakeland valleys, including the best and less populated ones to the west of the area. A much greater understanding and appreciation of the Lake District is found by walking the valleys, the views are often so much better and of course you are more likely to be under the loud. In any case walking from A to B each day is so much more satisfying than the more standard circular walk which is restricted by where you are staying and the use of a car.

However what makes the Lakeland Valleys such a good walk is that there are multiple opportunities to climb some or many of the nearby fells making it easy to tailor your itinerary to the standards of your party, the weather conditions of the day or simply ‘what you fancy’ A final short scramble up Haystacks from Scarth Gap adds little effort but on a sunny evenoing is a wonderful spot to linger whilst any climb of Helvellyn is very satisfying. Basically choose what you want and do it

Booking your Lakeland Valley holiday

To book a Walking Holiday on the Lakeland Valleys click here

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1. Ambleside to Coniston 10 miles

Highlights: Loughrigg Tarn, Elterwater & Little Langdale

Optional Fells nearby: Loughrigg Fell, Wetherlam

Day 2. Coniston to Eskdale 13 miles

Highlights: Eskdale, the Duddon Valley and Walna Scar through the Coniston fells

Optional Fells nearby: Coniston Old Man, Dow Crag, Harter Fell

Day 3. Eskdale to Buttermere 13 miles

Highlights: Pass the Lakeland giants of Scafells, Gable & Pillar plus 3 remote valleys; Wasdale, Ennerdale & Buttermere

Optional Fells nearby: Pillar & Haystacks are the two obvious choices, anything else is going to be extremely hard work on a big day.

Day 4. Buttermere to Keswick 14 miles

Highlights: Honister mines, upper Borrowdale, quiet side of Derwentwater

Optional Fells nearby: Fleetwith Pike, High Spy/Maiden Moor/Catbells

Day 5. Keswick to Glenridding 12 miles

Highlights: St John’s in the Vale, Ullswater & views over the Eastern fells

Optional Fells nearby: Helvellyn, Sheffield Pike

Day 6. Glenridding to Ambleside 12 miles

Highlights: Grisedale Tarn, Grasmere & Rydal Water

Optional Fells nearby: Fairfield and the ridge leading directly south


The walk starts at Ambleside but a popular variation is ton start at Keswick and go east to Glenridding on Day 1

Maps: O/S 1.25,000 Explorer Series. OL4, OL5, OL6 AND OL7 all required.

Places to Stay

Windermere. Chestnuts Guest House is a fine place to stat or finish yopur long distance walk

Ambleside: Smallwood House is typical of many good B & Bs but an alternative may be the excellent Ambleside Backpackers which does serve breakfast on request

Coniston: The Crown Inn is in the centre of Coniston and a haven for walkers

Boot/Eskdale: The Boot Inn is very good but another good choice is the Brook House Inn

Buttermere: Bridge Inn & Fish Inn are obvious choices but for a cheaper rate try the Youth Hostel

Keswick: For a central B & B try the Dalkeith or for more luxury the Swinside Hotel is a few miles short of Keswick but still enroute.

Glenridding: The Fairlight Guest House has character and is very convenient

Useful Links

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Personal Journey

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Day 1.
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