When deciding where to walk a lot of factors have to be taken into account; how much time have you got? How much energy have you (and your party) got? Is it wetter than a kippers bottom?
Here are three varying intensity, length and height walks in and around the Langdale Valley in the lakes so you can find your just right (or do them all scattered over a weekend as I did).
I’ve got all day and I want to go up something
Bowfell, 902m, walk time 4-6 hours
A lakeland classic. Starting from the Old or New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel (the latter has a much larger carpark) a gentle stroll down and into the valley initially via the Cumbria way takes you to an obvious fork in the path where a path off to the left takes you up Rossett Gill and towards Angle Tarn. At the tarn cross the outflow stream and again bear left onto a path which quickly gains height up to the ridge line. Then depending on time and energy you can either turn right to include Esk Pike in the route or left to gain the rocky summit of Bowfell. The views are magnificent, we counted 15 valleys from the top and could see far out to sea. You could extend this walk further by taking in Crinkle Crags but we opted for a gentle descent down the band to a well earned larger shandy at the pub.
I’ve got a morning and I’d like to combine a walk with a coffee
Loughrigg Fell 335m, via Grasmere, walk time 2-3 hours
Accommodation for the weekend was in the form of the delightful YHA Langdale, this walk can be taken right from the door of the hostel. A gentle descent down into Grasmere brings a plethora of coffee and cake shops, ideal for fueling for the circuit or if done in reverse an ideal reward before the final push back up hill. From Grasmere you can follow paths up above the main road over White Moss Common towards the carpark at the western end of Rydal Water. From here good footpaths lead up onto Loughrigg Terrace which I think probably has one of the finest views for the least effort I have ever seen. From the terrace you can then climb up to the summit of Loughrigg Fell which has beautiful views down towards Windermere. Descending directly north from just below the summit takes you down to the arboretum surrounding the youth hostel and back up to where you started.
I really just want a leg stretch suitable for all the family
Latterbarrow from Hawkshead, 245m, 2 hours
Just before a long drive back south a leg stretch was in order. This leg stretch starts in Hawkshead village and heads out on excellent paths criss crossing fields and traversing tiny country lanes to the bottom of Latterbarrow. There are excellent paths up the hill and the summit gives a stunning panorama over Windermere. To stretch out the walk a little further you can descend back through forest plantations via a bridleway.
It was wonderful to explore a bit more of the Lake District having not visited for over 15 years. The views we saw were some of the loveliest I have seen and I can’t wait to return.
A few practical tips
Parking in the Langdale Valley can be tricky. The largest car park is run by the National Trust and is by the Sticklebarn and The New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. It is then easy to walk across the fields from here to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel to start any of the higher level walks.
The best food we had was at the Wainrights Inn and the atmosphere was fantastic, we ended up sharing a table with a chap who had been visiting the Lakes twice a year for the last 20 years and he proclaimed the Langdale Valley to be his favourite – I can certainly see why and hope you can too.