My daughters (aged 6 and 11) are a little snooty about some of the walks in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales which I have classed as my favourites. ‘Boring’ is the common refrain on anything that does not involve some scrambling on the rocks, water or other things ‘of interest’. A nice wide ridge with splendid 360 degree views does not hit the mark, neither does a path which makes its way up a gradual slope that lasts more than about 20 minutes to half an hour. I am off to the Lake District with them and selecting a walk which will satisfy their needs (sweets are also a pre-requisite of any hike) is always more challenging than I thought. Walking in the Dales is even tougher as the ‘excitement’ value is less easy to find (but still there). My own dad just went for the iconic name and badge approach (‘we are going up Gable today’) and there was never any debate but now I like to get a certain amount of buy in before heading off.
Charlotte already has a book she fills in after the walk which certainly helps and the younger one is getting one this summer – after all they surely must have a ticking mentality like their Dad. Mist, our border collie, also helps by diverting their attention and retaining the interest factor but the reality is that the walk has to be judged on time likely to be taken and a certain amount of blackmail. In practical terms a good breakfast, decent training type shoes, a waterproof and a picnic all help – something I have personally been useless about in the past. My Munro journey more often than not involved setting off in inadequate shoes, a couple of Mars Bars (limited or no water – it is wet on the Scottish Hills) and a blinding headache courtesy of a night on the ‘Heavy’ or some other poison. However there is no doubt that walking would, and is, seriously more pleasant with food inside, plenty of water and some reasonable, but not over expensive, kit. Despite some angst on the walks I have done with the girls, afterwards they were happy as sandboys and keen to try another one. They will remember their walks forever.
Top Tip: Improve the flavour of your water by allowing your daughter to lose a lemon bonbon she was eating in it at some point in the walk….
5 excellent Family Walks in the Yorkshire Dales
Gordale Scar from Malham
History in Gunnerside Gill
The Waterfalls of Ingleton
Ilkley Moor Baht’at
Kisdon Fell Circular
5 excellent Family Walks in the Lake District
Lion & the Lamb
Gowbarrow via Aira Force
Cold Pike from Wrynose
Easedale Tarn from Grasmere
These walks are really for ages 5 to 12. Teenagers should be more than capable of the longer walks.
I will have completed the 100 best walks in the Lake District to match the best 100 walks in the Dales in the next few weeks. I am also adding to the site a selection of walks overseas including some classics such as Aconcagua and Mont Blanc but also information on walking in southern France, Slovenia and the Tatras Mountains. Last, but certainly not least, I am hoping to start adding some walks and more general information for visitors who are wheelchair bound but are keen still to be amongst this lovely countryside of ours.
Away from the Crowds. Some tips and suggestions on where to still find peace and solitude when many walks are crowded out.
My favourite villages in the Dales. The villages in the Yorkshire Dales which are extra special.
Delighting in photos. Why it is so easy to enjoy photography these days
More than just a walking heaven. Different reasons why people take to the fells and dales
Watch out for the little blighters. Sheep ticks continue to be a growing menace
Map Reading Skills on the decline. Impact of new technology on traditional navigation.
Hidden Yorkshire Dales. The joys of walking in my favourite lesser known dales.
Hello Jonathan, you gave us some fantastic advice (“us” being myself and my 10 year-old son, who broke his arm just a week before his first ever trip to the Lakes).
So, out went the Pike and Gable but that was all for the good because we roamed the Loweswater fells and hardly saw a soul. You did say Barrow was a fantastic first-time walk – again, spot on, although Knott Rigg and Ard Crags from Newlands Hause (the car does the first half) pushed it close. Only rain – the first of the week – prevented us going on from Barrow to Outerside.
Doing Haystacks the “wrong way” up Scarth Gap meant a bit of one-arm scrambling at the end but by strolling on to Brandreth we were again alone on the fells. Not bad for August!
Really like your website and thanks again for your advice. The boy is hooked and we will go up again soon.
Kind regards, Max Stocker
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