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Cumbria Way

From Ulverston the Cumbria Way heads north across the magnificent Lake District National Park through unspoilt dales with stone-built farms, running around charming lakes and passing beneath rugged fells. Tourist towns and villages contrast with woodland, wild fell-side, high passes and remote moorlands. The Way passes over the summit of High Pike (658 m), with panoramic views, then descends to finish in the historic border city of Carlisle.

However, this is not a peak bagging route, but one that takes a more measured course following valleys and using passes to negotiate this stunning landscape. It is still quite a climb over Stake Pass, but with lovely Borrowdale on the other side it is definitely worth the effort. In fact, this route is a continually changing visual delight, high points being dark Coniston Water, the almost too beautiful to be true Tarn Hows, the rugged Langdale Pikes, lush Borrowdale and enchanting Derwent Water. The views are universally sensational. The route then visits the busy market town of Keswick, now very much a tourist centre, but an attractive place to browse nevertheless. Finally, the route continues north over wild fell country before descending to farming country and following the Caldew valley to Carlisle.

We recommend Paddy Dillon’s itinerary, allowing six days to complete the route. The day walk stages are as follows:
Ulverston to Coniston – 15.7 miles
Coniston to Great Langdale – 11.6 miles
Great Langdale to Rosthwaite – 7.3 miles
Rosthwaite to Keswick – 8.2 miles
Keswick to Caldbeck – 15 miles
Caldbeck to Carlisle – 15.5 miles

The two shorter days between Great Langdale and Keswick could be combined to save a day, but we feel having two leisurely days during the walk would make it more enjoyable, so we recommend a six-day itinerary. In any event you will have to walk some additional miles to reach accommodation off the route. There is a lower level alternative route between Keswick and Caldbeck avoiding High Pike, but making the day stage 18.1 miles.

Overall, the route is remarkably well balanced. Gentle farmland at both ends, a dramatic middle section amongst the high crags, and two generous chunks of classic Lakeland either side of that. Don't underestimate the Cumbria Way. To walk it is a considerable achievement. If you only ever complete one long distance path, then seriously consider the Cumbria Way. The satisfaction and the memories could last you a lifetime.


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Start: Ulverston

Grid Ref: SD 284785

End: Carlisle

Grid Ref: NY 400554

Distance: 112km

Walking Time: 6 days

Counties Traversed

Explorer™ Maps
OL4; OL5; OL6; OL7; 315

Cumbria Way guide book

Cumbria Way - Hannon

Cumbria Way - Harvey Map

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