The Cumbria Way
England’s Lake District is a land of stark fells, becks and rocky ridges that dominate the contrasting gentle green valleys below. The lakes denote their English heritage with names of Ullwater, Elterwater, Buttermere and Windemere.
The mountains of Lakeland evoke a romance of history, art and poetry. However, if you interpret this to mean the hiking is easy with little paths and little ponds, think again. Make sure your boots are sturdy, your rain gear tested and your map and compass skills honed.
The Cumbria Way passes through 70 miles of glorious countryside. From the town of Ulverston on the shores of Morecambe Bay, through the heart of the Lake District and onto the historic city of Carlisle, this “unofficial” long-distance trail has much to offer.
The route has three distinctive sections. The first is like an introduction which takes you from the non-touristy town of Ulverston into the Lake District. From here the next several days are quintessential Lakeland and if you’re lucky enough to have un-English sunny skies, you’ll see some of the best scenery in the world. Things change north of Keswick with a gradual leaving of Lakeland for the more wide-open hill-country of northern Cumbria.
The middle section is by far the easiest to follow and well-marked. The beginning and end of the route may test your patience and map reading skills. As always in the country, help is just a question away. It has been said that there is a “very definite achievement in transferring yourself from one place to another by means of locomotion no more elaborate than a pair of feet.”
I heartily agree.
HOW IT STACKS UP
The scenery in the middle section of this route is unsurpassed, but keep in mind that this trail requires route-finding and has some rather long hiking days. Best kept for seasoned hikers.