The Cumbria Way is a 70 miles footpath in Cumbria, that travels through the heart of the Lake District National Park. The path links the two historic towns of Ulverston and Carlisle. The route goes through the Lake District National Park, passing through the towns of Coniston and Keswick the Langdale and Borrowdale valleys. Primarily a low-level long distance footpath but does contain some high-level exposed sections.
The Cumbria Way was originally devised in the 1970s by local Ramblers’ Association members. The waymarking of the entire route was completed by volunteers and national park staff in May 2007.
For our last two days at the lakes, the weather report wasn’t overly brilliant. So exploring the valleys below the mountains seemed a good idea.
The first day we went to the far end of the lake and walked along the road toward the Grange. There is a little gravel track most of the way along the road, not big, but enough to keep the dogs on the edge. We were looking for a footpath that Nik had seen on the map.
What I hadn’t realised at the time was that this footpath was going to take us to the top of another hill. Kings How, only 392 metres. The path for which crawls up the inside of the valley, there by getting me higher before I start to perceive an edge.
I didn’t quite make it to the top this time. The main reason for this was that we’d sat and had a snack below the peak. Just looking at it turned my tummy. I was what Nik calls frustratingly close, about twenty steps, but I just couldn’t persuade myself. I’m not bothered really as I’d already done the climb I wanted. Nik went to the top though, so all’s good.
The rest of our day was spent walking a different path to the bottom and following the River Derwent back to the Grange. Here is where we came up with the plan for our last day.
Whilst sitting in a pretty little tea garden beside the River Derwent, in the Grange, Nik and I decided that we would walk along the edge of the river. Following the Cumbria Way to Rosthwaite where we would pick up the footpath to Seatoller for our last day.
A vague consultation with the OS map assured us that we would be mostly beside the river. As internet access was quite difficult from our site, no research about the Cumbria Way was conducted. However, as we were following a river we decided that this would be a nice gentle, flat days walking.
According to the footpath sign at the Grange, the walk to Seatoller is three miles. Excluding the small walk to the Grange from our site, that would make it a six-mile round trip. A pretty standard day out for us.
It rained, the whole day. Not to be daunted by this we packed our lunch and doggy survival kit and set off. We did have a lovely day with vague dry spells along the way, however, it was far from an easy last day.
The path doesn’t stay at river level. So there is a bit of upping and downing along the route. As this area is surrounded by beautiful mini mountains it stands to reason that we would be walking around the base of several. Therefore, the path isn’t flat most of the time.
Coming into Rosthwaite you cross the river via a lovely little bridge and follow along a very nicely gravelled path. A little way along there is also a river crossing made with stepping stones. The river was running a little high for these on this day but we watch several people get very wet feet.
Rosthwaite is a beautiful little village, with old buildings and at least one tea-room / cafe. It would have been nice to stop here for a snack, but as we had the dogs we would have had to sit outside in the rain. It’s a shame as it did look nice.
From here we left the Cumbria Way to follow the path to Seatoller.
At this point, the rain became very heavy and the walk started to drag a little. There’s a lovely little part of the path, where you have to clamber around smooth rocks. The river is below, so slipping could make for a lovely wet landing. There is, however, a conveniently placed chain railing to cling to.
We arrived in Seatoller looking like drowned rats and hoping for a little tea-room or public house to rest before making the return journey. Alas, all we found was a closed pub. There is a bus stop here though. So if you’ve had enough walking for one day, you can catch a ride back.
We also noticed that about half a mile further along the road is Honister Slate Mine, which is open to visitors. Had we not been so wet we definitely would have continued on to here. Instead, we retraced our soggy wet steps back to the van. We did enjoy our day, even though it wasn’t quite what we’d planned.
Next time we’re in the Lake District, the Cumbria Way is on the hit list of things that must be explored more fully.
Our favourite photos of the day
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