Jamie McHale

Cumbria Way

The Cumbria Way is a 5 day, 70 mile walk through the Lake District in the north of England. I completed the walk in Easter 2017 with two friends.

Day One Starts in Ulverston, where there is a sculpture depicting the route near the center of town. The morning walk goes through the countryside, farmland and fields.

The landscape transitions after lunch, up and over the hills past Beacon Tarn to the shores of Coniston Water. We stayed at Coniston YHA.

Day Two is Coniston to Great Langdale. The route passes around Tarn Hows, and then along the Great Langdale Valley. It was lambing season, and we were followed for a mile by a flock of sheep. We stayed at Great Langdale Bunkhouse, which provides very basic facilities. We got food and drink from the adjacent Sticklebarn Tavern, a good place to hang out, as the bunkhouse has no cooking or communal area.

On Day Three the route winds along the valley, over Stake Pass, descending through the villages of Stonethwaite and Rosthwaite. We walked along the River Derwent, Derwent Water, and ended up in Keswick. We stayed in a hostel on the outskirts of Keswick, getting dinner at one of the bars in the town center.

Day Four goes from Keswick over to Caldbeck. There are two routes here, one for good weather, and a longer road route for foul weather. We were fortunate that there was just a small shower of rain in the morning, but it turned into a bright and beautiful day by the afternoon.

The route goes past Skiddaw House, a remote YHA Hostel, through the fells and across High Pike. The route to High Pike was very boggy and tiring. We were glad of a seat in the Lingy Hut near the top. The view was excellent, across the Solway Firth to Scotland. We stayed at Hudscales Camping Barn, which provides a communal dorm, shower and microwave.

Day Five is the final stage from Caldbeck to Carlisle. We stopped in Caldbeck for a morning coffee, and again in Dalston for afternoon tea. It’s mostly fields and forest, ending up on a slightly anti-climatic footpath into the center of Carlisle.

Overall this was a pleasant route to walk, not too challenging, with great views. The middle three days were the most rewarding. You can find out more information (including route diversions) from The Ramblers Association, and the Cumbria Way Wikipedia.