Tour of the Lake District

This 10-day trek visits all the principal valleys of the Lake District, making use of the ancient trade routes and drovers trails that connect them. By using an occasional short transfer and circular walk options, we are able to showcase a large area of the Lake District without the need to change your hotel on every day. On the majority of days on this tour there are options to follow a low-level trail, or to take a more demanding high-level route, which will take in the summits of some of the highest peaks in the Lake District, including Coniston Old Man, Helvellyn and Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain. We arrange comfortable accommodation in en-suite rooms at hotels and accredited guest houses on your route and we transfer your luggage so your bags are waiting for you when you arrive.

Prices are per person based on twin share and include all accommodation in twin share rooms on bed & breakfast basis, luggage transfer, information pack including maps, route guide, and our emergency contact.

Single rooms are available. We only apply a supplement for single accommodation when there is a direct cost to us and we cap this in line with our ‘Fair pricing’ policy. Solo walkers pay a supplement of £10 per walking day, plus any single room supplement which may be required.

Start days: You can start this tour on any day of the week.

Itinerary

Arriving in Coniston you will check into your first night's accommodation. If you have time, there is much to see in this Lakeland Village. The Ruskin museum is well worth a visit or with more time you can take a walk up into the Coppermines Valley or enjoy a cruise on the Lake, perhaps visiting Brantwood House. Full details will be included in your information pack.


Today begins with a short transfer by private vehicle to the town of Ambleside. There will be time to look around this bustling town, the capital of South Lakeland, before beginning the day's walk with a crossing of the broad shoulder of Loughrigg Fell to the beautiful setting of Loughrigg Tarn. A descent to Skelwith Bridge and a riverside ramble brings you to the quintessential Lakeland hamlet of Elterwater - the perfect place for lunch. This afternoon you travel through Little Langdale and below the Yewdale Fells to return to your accommodation in Coniston.
10½ miles. 1695ft. ascent / 1680ft. descent.

An ancient drovers track, the 'Walna Scar Road' takes you from the Coniston Valley across the Furness Fells to the Duddon Valley and from there you follow Grassguards Gill up to the broad col between Ulpha Fell and Harter Fell before descending along Spothow Gill to the remote valley of Eskdale.
9 miles. 2740ft. ascent / 2670ft. descent.

High Level Option
This alternative high level route first climbs the Old Man of Coniston for far-reaching views over the Lakeland Fells before descending to Seathwaite Tarn. You cross the upper reaches of the Duddon by way of stepping stones and climb up to Hard Knott Pass, where you visit the well preserved Roman Fort. Finally, a descent into the Eskdale Valley with views to the west coast brings you to your overnight accommodation.
10½ miles. 3375ft. ascent / 3325ft. descent.

The day starts with an easy walk following the River Esk downstream to pretty Eskdale Green. From here you climb through woodland to cross the hidden gem of Miterdale and then across Irton Fell to the magnificent Wasdale Valley. Here you have a choice of an easy walk beside the road which follows the western shore of Wastwater, or the crossing of Wasdale Screes on the quiet eastern shore. Either way, you arrive at Wasdale Head, the home of English rock climbing and 19th century gentleman's alpinism.
7½ miles. 1710ft. ascent / 1700ft. descent.

Option A (moderate)
As well as being the most remote, Wasdale is arguably the most rugged of all Lakeland valleys. It is also given the status of the 'birthplace' of modern British climbing and it is no coincidence that Wastwater and the peaks that frame its head were chosen to represent the whole district as the logo of the National Park. One option today is to climb Yewbarrow, which forms the south-western end of the famous Mosedale Horseshoe and the is leftmost silhouetted fell on the Lake District National Park logo.
4½ miles. 2045ft ascent / descent.

Option B (demanding)
A real highlight of the Tour of the Lake District trek is this traverse of Scafell Pike, England's highest peak. Using a different route for ascent and descent makes for a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable day.
6 miles. 3050ft ascent / descent

There are a couple of tough climbs to make today as you cross the watersheds separating three major Lakeland valleys. From Wasdale, you first climb up to Black Sail pass to cross into lonely Ennerdale and then over the Scarth Gap below Haystacks to reach Buttermere, arguably the loveliest of all Lakeland Valleys.
7 miles. 2425ft. ascent / 2280ft. descent.


High Level Option
A sensational way to link the valleys of Wasdale and Buttermere, collecting several Wainwrights along the way. From Wasdale Head you take the trail up to Sty Head pass from where you make the challenging climb of Great Gable. A roller coaster day then takes you over Green Gable, Brandreth and finally Haystacks before dropping via Scarth Gap to Buttermere's lake and following the shoreline to your accommodation in Buttermere Village.
9 miles. 3565ft. ascent / 3425ft. descent.

Option A (moderate)
A delightful walk following a varied trail which for the most part skirts the shoreline of this very pretty lake. With several hidden gems along the way this is probably the finest lake shore walking in England. Start and finish at the door of your hotel.
4½ miles. 445ft ascent / descent.

Option B (demanding)
An ascent of Grasmoor (2795ft) via the pointed peak of Whiteless Pike (2165ft) and Wandope (2533ft) and finishing through the hidden 'bluebell valley' of Rannerdale.
7 miles. 3444ft ascent / descent.

A varied walk which climbs beside the Sail Beck to leave Buttermere and then descends Rigg Beck into the Newlands Valley. The day ends with a descent of Newlands through the villages of Stair and Portinscale to the bustling' Outdoor Adventure Centre' of Keswick.
9 miles. 1590ft. ascent / 1720ft. descent.

After a short transfer to Rosthwaite in the heart of the Borrowdale valley, you start a simply delightful stroll beside river Derwent through woods and hillside to Grange, a pretty little village at the southern end of Derwentwater. From here you walk beside the lake shore and on to the charming village of Portinscale before completing your walk beside the River Greta into Keswick.
8 miles. 555ft. ascent / 580ft. descent.

The day begins with a highly scenic transfer along the shore of Thirlmere and across the pass of Dunmail to Grasmere, from where you set off to cross the impressive Eastern Fells, taking advantage of a rare breach in the ridge-line between the lofty summits of Helvellyn and Fairfield. Grisedale Hause with its pretty mountain tarn was once an important trade route between the villages of Grasmere and those of the Ullswater Valley. Crossing the pass you descend the beautiful valley of Grisedale and down into Patterdale.
7½ miles. 2125ft ascent / 1860ft descent.

High Level Option
After a 20 minute transfer, you begin a simply sensational mountain day, starting with the ascent to Grisedale Hause as for option A, and then a stiff climb sees you gain the main ridge-line of the Eastern Fells at the summit of Dollywagon Pike (2810ft). A traverse of the long ridge separating Thirlmere from Ullswater over Nethermost Pike (2920ft) leads to Helvellyn (3118ft), England's third highest mountain. From the summit a descent of Swirrel Edge above glittering Red Tarn and of Birkhouse Moor into the Grisedale Valley brings you to your accommodation.
10 miles. 3685ft. ascent / 3425ft. descent.

Let us know if you would like us to arrange a transfer to Penrith station.

The price includes:

  • All accommodation in twin/double rooms (with private bathroom where available) in guest houses, inns or hotels
  • All breakfasts
  • Luggage transfer between overnight stops
  • A Wandering Aengus information pack containing all necessary maps, a current guide book, laminated locator maps for each night's accommodation, and our own weather-proof 'info cards' with local information - including locations and opening times of restaurants, cafes, ATMs, supermarkets etc.
  • Our emergency contact number

Not included:

  • Lunches and evening meals (we provide full details of your options)
  • Extra costs incurred through using escape routes or abandonment of the itinerary
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses such as drinks etc.

Our Accommodation:

Wandering Aengus Treks are based in the Lake District and we know our accommodation options well. As keen walkers ourselves we appreciate the importance of the place you put your feet up and rest your head in at the end of each day. We very carefully select our accommodations whether they be a cosy pub, family run guest house, or established town centre hotel. We choose places directly on the route or within easy walking distance of it and if we ever have to transfer you because of limited availability, we will always contact you to discuss this and never just leave you to find out later. We provide comfortable, clean and warm twin or double rooms, with private bathroom wherever available. Single occupancy of rooms is also available for a supplementary cost.

Meals:

Breakfast at your accommodation is included in the holiday price. In most cases your accommodation will serve dinner and will be able to prepare a packed lunch for you. Sometimes this will have to be arranged in advance and we will let you know if this is the case. Alternatively you can use our detailed notes to make your own dining and lunch arrangements using local restaurants, cafes and supermarkets.

Windermere station is the terminus of a branch line from the main North-West London to Glasgow rail link (change at Oxenholme). The nearest station to Patterdale at the end of your walk is Penrith, which is a stop on the main North-West London to Glasgow line. Alternatively, if you are arriving by car it is usually possible to arrange parking for the duration of the walk (possible extra charge) and we can arrange a transfer back to your car at the end of your walk.

Here are some 3rd party websites with useful information to help plan your holiday to the Lake District.

The Lake District National Park website is a mine of information and here you can also download a range of maps and leaflets to local attractions.

'Go Lakes' is the official website for Cumbria Tourism and provides up-to-the-minute information on events as well as insight guides to the different areas that make up the Lake District.

The Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) provides weather analysis and forecasts specifically aimed at mountaineers and walkers. Download 3 day forecasts for specific regions including the Lake District.

Cumbria County Council conveniently gathers all Lake District bus timetables onto a single searchable page

Mike Brockhurst's Walking Englishman website is a free walking resource which provides information on numerous walking routes. Here you can find a list of Englands's highest peaks.

Use thetrainline.com to find cheap fares to the Lake District rail access towns of Windermere and Penrith.

Book this Holiday

Lake District Tour map
The Tour of the Lake District generally follows valley routes and crosses between them using mountain passes and is therefore not a high graded walk. There are options on several days to take a high level alternative and the Tour will be more challenging if you take advantage of any or all of these. For anyone not familiar with Lake District trails, please be aware that there is little in the way of trail markings and signs once you are above the valleys and to do this tour you should be comfortable with navigation using a map, assisted by our route notes and guidebook, all of which are provided.

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