Walking in the Lake District

At the end of May, the boyfriend and I headed out to Grasmere for a couple of days hiking and camping the in glorious sunshine we had. He has never been camping before so it was all new to him, and limited to one night just as a tester. I can happily report that he survived and even enjoyed it, so hopefully there will be more camping trips to come!

13310561_10154141891510242_4572361724905172773_nWe stayed at Baysbrown Farm Campsite just outside of Ambleside, and it was stunning as it opened up onto the Great Langdale Valley. At just £6/ adult and £3 for the car it was a cheap and cheerful way to get a night away in the countryside, and there was plenty of space in the fields so you didn’t feel crowded despite how busy it was. The showers were clean and hot, which is amazing for a campsite, and there was a gorgeous small river as you came in that you can paddle or even swim in to cool down in the sun. There are also two pubs nearby, although we didn’t visit either as I wanted to show the boyfriend proper camping fun and cook on our own little stove.

13335723_10154141893085242_8873923836415894068_nAfter pitching the tent, we headed out on our first walk into the beautiful lakes. Although as a Yorkshire girl I’m very lucky to have the Dales and the Moors on my doorstep, the Lake District really did take my breath away with its scenery. We walked along the Cumbria Way which follows the River Brathay towards the village of Elterwater, and then on to the lake of Elterwater itself which was beautiful and our first taste of one of the Lakes, with the mountains rearing up behind it.

13346745_10154141895345242_8950096546208901073_nHeading off through rolling hills and pretty meadows, we followed the path to Skelwith Bridge to see the Skelwith Force waterfall- powerful and pretty but kind of small compared to what I expected. We then kept on the path to Colwith Force waterfall which was much more impressive but also a bit busier with lots of families taking photos and having picnics. Continuing on the Cumbria Way, we headed back towards the campsite through Little Langdale but breaking off at Fletcher’s Wood to follow the path to Baysbrown rather than straight back to Elterwater.

This was a quite easy walk and took about 3.5 hours with a break for lunch, and was the perfect way to get our walking holiday going. Fitbit reckoned I clocked up an impressive 25,000 steps from this walk, and climbed the equivalent of 95 flights of stairs, giving me the perfect excuse to drink too much cider and eat chocolate muffins for pudding!

Day two started nice and early with the sun coming up, and after packing up camp and a camp fried breakfast,  we drove to Grasmere to start our second day of walking. It was about £8 for a full day’s parking which seems a lot for a Yorkshire girl, but the money goes to the upkeep of the National Park and a full day ticket gives you peace of mind as you don’t have to worry about rushing to get back so I guess it was ok. 13307503_10154141896635242_8796129535064087331_n

We headed out into the woods behind the Wordsworth Museum, down the side of two lakes and along the river Rothay towards Rydal and the Ambleside, where we saw the famous Bridge House. However, Ambleside was absolutely heaving with tourists and on a hot day it really wasn’t our thing, so we quickly headed out again onto the path. This was a little difficult to find as it was at the end of a quiet residential street off the main road, but when we found it we quickly were in beautiful, quiet countryside again.

13322206_10154141899210242_6901543011020320155_nThe path then took us up and around Loughrigg Fell- although we didn’t climb right to the top there was still quite a bit of hill to conquer. The views from here were amazing, and a perfect place for our picnic before heading down and back towards Grasmere for an ice cream. Unfortunately, the route back did involve some sections of road which is not great, but the views more than made up for it.

I gained two new Fitbit badges this day- the Trail Shoe for 30,000+ steps in one day, and the Rollercoaster for 133 flights of stairs which I was hugely proud of, but also definitely felt when I stiffly got out of the car after driving home and went for a nap!

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Weekend Walk #4-Lofthouse to Scar House Resevoir

imageThis was unfortunately our first unfinished walk as we simply set out too late and I mis-calculated the pace the boyfriend was walking at after getting blisters early on! Despite this, we will definitely be heading back at some point to complete it and update this post…. watch this space!

imageParking at the car park in Lofthouse, just past the pub and headed through the village to the Nidderdale Way. Don’t get tempted to head out on the Nidderdale way path that heads out of the car park or the one that goes up a little ally in the middle of the village- you need to leave Lofthouse and just before the road curves up the hill sharply to your right there is a path straight ahead into some woods. The woods were filled with lovely little rabbits, but it did make finding somewhere to sit for our picnic a little trickier!

imageWe then followed the Nidderdale Way along the edge of the river Nidd and soon came to a farm which we passed through, followed by a very steep hill- decide if you want to race up it like me and get it over and done with, or take it slow and stead like the boyfriend. There were also a couple of small river crossings along this stretch and a lovely bluebell wood.

imageWe then headed along the valley which had some stunning views over the fields with more gentle hills and cute little lambs. We could see the Scar Houses Reservoir  in the distance but it seemed to take forever to get any close to it! At the second big hill, which is as best I can describe it in the wiggley hoop marked with the arrow on the map at the bottom of this page, the boyfriend declared he had had enough and since it was about 4pm already, we decided to turn around and head back.

imageThe onward route we had planned took us over the reservoir and then following the Nidderdale Way back towards Middlesmoor and then back to Lofthouse.

We used the OS Explorer Map 298 of Nidderdale- it took us about 3.5 hours including lunch, but this was at a quite slow pace! Fitbit declared it to be about 16,000 steps and 120 flights of stairs due to all the hill climbing!

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Weekend Walk #3- Pately Bridge

Armed with a new map, we decided to head out into Nidderdale to Pately Bridge last weekend, which I have only visited briefly before and thought it would be a good place to explore further. We parked in the large car park near the cricket ground, which cost us £1.80 for 4+ hours which is pretty good value.

imageWe headed out down the side of the river through the park, across a field and then over the road. It then followed it around through some caravan parks. The map made it look like there would only be 2 small caravan sites, but they seemed to be endless and unfortunately did spoil the scenery a little for about a mile, although their toilet block did prove useful! We stopped for lunch as soon as we got past them and into the real countryside, which was much more pleasant!

imageWe quickly hit the Nidderdale Way which was a broad, flat and easy to follow path that you don’t really need the map for. There were some beautiful views over the dales with the sun shining down.

imageThe next section got us a little lost! We crossed the bridge near the old mines and headed up the hill but it wasn’t particularly well signposted, especially since the Nidderdale Way is such a  major path. We ended up walking back down the other side of the river that he had come up instead of heading up the hills, so quickly turned around and followed the meandering path past the ‘private property’ sign we had somehow missed (oops!) and back onto the right way. There was a bit of a climb at this point, but some really lovely views once you got to the top.

imageThe Nidderdale way leads you over the top of the hills and then down back towards Pately Bridge, but at the end goes onto a road for the last bit, so we took a smaller path through a sheep field to get back to Pately. It was lovely seeing the little lambs and they were no problem at all. Finishing the walk off with an ice cream from the van in the park was defiantly the best idea before driving home.

We used the Nidderdale OS Explorer Map 298 and the walk took us about 3 hours including time for lunch. Fittbit awarded me my 100 stairs badge from all the hill climbing, and reckoned about 16,000 steps.pately map.jpg

Weekend Walk #2- Marton and the River Ure

Our second walk out in the Yorkshire countryside last weekend was a little more off the beaten track, with episodes of walking through fields with no clear path and climbing through nettle patches in shorts that seemed such a good idea when we set off!

We parked in the Punch Bowl Inn carpark in Marton cum Grafton, and headed straight out through the path at the back of the car park up towards the water tower and through the fields. There we met Sue and Dave who were lovely and spent a good half hour walking with them and comparing our favourite places- and them pointing out a slightly easier route for us before parting ways at Upper Dunsforth, where we stopped for our picnic lunch.

The path then lead us down to the River Ure (through the afore-mentioned nettles) which was simply beautiful in the sunshine. It was easy walking along the river bank, spotting all sorts of wildlife- we even saw a kingfisher, although it was much too fast to take a picture of! It was also nice to see a group of kayakers heading down the river, and slightly meanly laughing at the teenage boys hopelessly trying to steer away from the banks (not that I could do much better!).

Feeling a little hot and thirsty by this point, we decided to stop on Lower Dunsforth at the Dunsforth Pub for a drink in the beer garden. As nice as this was, it was bloody expensive- almost £10 for a pint of Schweppes lemonade and a pint of beer. I am aware of it’s Michelin Bib Gourmand and reputation for fantastic food, but two drinks on a Sunday afternoon  should not cost that much!

Feeling a little put out, we began to head back to Marton, retracing some of our earlier steps to come full circle. The whole route took us about 3.5 hours, including stops for lunch and the pub and was fairly easy walking, but you would need a map. We used the Ripon and Boroughbridge OS Explorer Map 299. Our fitbits also happily told us it was over 20,000 steps so the pizza for dinner that night seemed well deserved!

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Weekend Walk #1- Fountain’s Abbey

imageWith the start of summer, the boyfriend and I have made a resolution to make the most of it and spend our weekends out in the glorious Yorkshire countryside. Armed with a map and a picnic (and no electronics, yey) we’ve seen some lovely new views and just had a nice time in each other’s company away from all of the hussle and bussle of the week.

imageLast Saturday was beautiful and we headed out fairly close to home, starting at our frequently visited Fountain’s Abbey but heading up into the hills behind it for a change of scenery. The parking is free, even for non National Trust members so it makes it a very cheap day out. We headed up onto the hill behind Fountain’s to have our picnic looking down onto the lovely ruins before heading off through a pretty bluebell wood. The tracks are well maintained and easy to follow, but we did feel better with a map at this point just to make sure we were heading the right way.

imageimageWe soon hit the river which had dried up in places, and after criss-crossing several bridges it reappeared and was just deep enough for a quick paddle on a hot day. It was a really popular spot for families having a picnic and playing in the stream which was lovely to see, but I can imagine only gets more crowed as the summer goes on!

imageWithin a few minutes, we entered the Deer Park at the back of Fountain’s Abbey estate with lovely views over the lake. Thanks to our English Heritage and National Trust memberships we entered for free and stopped for a quick ice cream once inside, as the tea room accessed from the Deer Park was packed. After that it was a quick stroll through Fountain’s and back to the car for a well deserved drink at home in the garden!

This walk took about 1.5 hours and is very easy to follow, and fitbit reckoned it was around 12,000 steps so a pretty good stretch of the legs. We used the Ripon and Boroughbridge OS Explorer Map 299.

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