One of my favourite past times has always been going out for a walk to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us. During my teenage years, I was in the Sea Cadets so obviously participated in all the expedition training and walking I could. This included completing all three Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and the 45 mile Ten Tors Challenge. When I met Greg and found out that one of his favourite past times was also going walking, we decided to take it up as a hobby again.
When his parents retired they moved to the Lake District, so we usually go and visit a couple of times a year. As Greg grew up going on walking holidays in the Lake District and knows it relatively well, he likes to plan routes for us while we are there. Rather than sit in all day and do nothing, taking the opportunity to just go out for a walk makes perfect sense while on holiday even if it is walking over a Pike or Fell.
Although we haven’t walked some of the largest mountains, we like to vary our walks and choose a different mountain every time we go. My favourite time of year to go is February/March, as you get some of the most beautiful views of snow still on the mountain tops.
The Lake District is quite similar to Dartmoor in the sense that the weather can change quite drastically so you should always be prepared! Before I did Ten Tors, my teenage self used to just scoff at the idea and think people were just over exaggerating. Oh, how wrong and naïve 17 year old me was when I got to experience Dartmoor weather during Ten Tors training.
Black Crag / Tarn Hows
Having said that we never do the same walks, there is one that Greg and I always do every time without fail, as we see it as our practice walk before embarking on a slightly larger fell. This walk is Black Crag which is easily accessible from Tarn Hows and is well worth the walk. You get majestic views of Coniston and other surrounding mountains, as well as the tarns towards Windermere.
From the bottom of Tarn Hows to the top it takes us about 40 minutes and is a relatively easy walk. This is also great for those that don’t fancy doing heavier terrain and steep walking but would like to experience some of the mountainous/lake views and walking the Lake District has to offer.
Claife Heights / Side Pikes / Blea Tarn
More recently, we walked up Claife Heights and Fell Pike, which is a much longer and steeper walk, so not for those that fancy a gentle stroll. However, we did see a couple with a little boy of not much older than two or three years old and a several month old baby strapped to presumably the mum, in a carry walker, which deserves some admiration.
Overall, it took us somewhere between 3-4 hours to walk around (probably because I stop to take too many photos but how can you not with majestic views like this!?) which included stopping at the top of Fell Pike to have lunch.
The weather was warm, sunny and clear thus making it a perfect day for walking and to see the surrounding views. It certainly meant that there was no competition between this and a lunch time in the office! Although there wasn’t as much snow on top of the mountains this time round as there has been in previous years there was some incredibly beautiful scenic views.
We had a wonderful view of Scafell Pike that still had a small amount of snow on the top.
At some point, we aim to walk to Scafell Pike but sadly, at the moment, Greg has a knee injury that prevents us from anything too drastic, so we stick to the walks that I can only describe as for the experienced walkers but not the advanced experienced walkers.
But in case you wonder what walking the Old Man of Coniston can look like, here are some photos taken by Greg from March 2014!
It might not be the most exotic place in the world, and can be relatively cold to a Southerner but it is one of the most beautiful and majestic places to visit in the UK.
Even if walking mountains isn’t your thing you can still drive to enjoy the scenic views or visit some of the actual Lakes where you can go boating or enjoy other outside activities, even just a walk around the water.
There are also plenty of alternative walks that are not quite as steep a terrain