Valleys of Lakeland

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

(74 miles, 6 days)

Derwentwater at Keswick
Derwentwater at Keswick

The writings of Wainwright and our own natural desire to climb to the summits of the Lakeland fells has meant the exploring the valleys is often neglected. Some of the best walking is lakeside and in particular the old drover routes that linked the valleys on often high mountain passes.

The ‘Lakeland Valleys’ walk takes in all the main Lakeland valleys including the less populated ones in the western Lakes. 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 the weather is more benign. Each day brings new scenery, new valleys and a walk ending that is somewhere different. A to B walks can be so much more satisfying.

Grisedale Tarn
Grisedale Tarn

However there is also an excellent opportunity to climb some of the mountains, particularly if the weather is good. A final short scramble up Haystacks from Scarth Gap requires little effort but is a wonderful spot whilst any climb of Helvellyn is very satisfying. Flexibility is the key.

The Best 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 the Scafells, Gable & Pillar through 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.

Eastern shore at Ennerdale
Eastern shore at Ennerdale

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, St Sunday’s Crag


The walk is best clockwise with two different start options: Ambleside or Keswick.

Lakeland Valleys map

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

Places to Stay


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


The Old Vicarage is typical of many good B & Bs but an alternative may be the excellent Ambleside Backpackers which does serve breakfast on request


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


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


There are many Guest Houses central to Keswick but for more luxury the Swinside Hotel is a few miles short of Keswick but still enroute.

Wasdale Head Hotel
Wasdale Head Hotel

Useful Links

Coming soon…

Personal Journey

Coming soon…


Day 1.
Coming soon…

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