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  • Writer's pictureHiker Heather

Cumbria Way: Spring Edition

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

Blog detailing my thru-hike of the Cumbria Way including my itinerary, accommodation and trail information.

It was Spring of 2021 and I had been dreaming about my next thru-hike since completing the West Highland Way in September of the previous year. I still didn't own a tent at this point but I was absolutely desperate to get out on my next thru-hike. I eventually chose the beautiful Cumbria Way as my first thru-hike of the season for 2021 and since I still did not own a tent at this point, I would use hostels and B&B's and so forth, I will include the places where I stayed in my itinerary below...

About the Cumbria Way

The Cumbria Way is a 73 mile long distance footpath. It is considered one of the most beautiful and easiest long distance walks. The Way takes you past iconic lakes, pretty little villages, mountain tarns and quaint country pubs and cottages. The mid-section of the hike does include some high mountain walking. The Way takes in all of the best that the Lake District has to offer.


The Way was devised by a local Ramblers Association during the 1970's and starts in Ulverston and finished in the city of Carlisle.


Access to and from the Trail

Both Ulverston and Carlisle have train stations meaning that the trail is easily accessible.


I had chosen to drive from my home, near Leeds, to Ulverston, simply due to timings. I therefore left my car in the car park right at the beginning of the Way in Ulverston, having purchased a week long permit. I would then take the train back from Carlisle at the end of the trail to Ulverston to collect my car when I had finished.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Ulverston to Coniston (17 miles)

You leave behind Ulverston's cobbled streets and soon begin navigating farmland which can at times be tricky at times but soon the Coniston Fells come into view and then before you know it, you are standing beside the beautiful and peaceful Beacon Tarn. This is a popular wild camp stop for those wishing to wild camp the Way. Once you have passed Beacon Tarn, you then begin to descend to the shore of Coniston Water before approaching Coniston itself. I stayed in one of the pods at the YHA Coniston Holly How. Coniston has a range of pubs, B&B's, cafes and shops.


Day 2 - Coniston to Great Langdale (11.5 miles)

The climb out of Coniston this morning was fairly gentle, I passed vivid fields of bluebells with it being spring. You soon approach the beautiful Tarn Hows, which was busy with visitors when I arrived, however, continuing on beyond Skelwith you are afforded to some of the best views on the whole trail as you enter the glacial valley of Great Langdale. I spent some time here admiring the trail and the views and slowly made my way to that evening's accommodation which would be at the Great Langdale Bunkhouse. Another popular place to stay in Great Langdale is the Great Langdale Campsite which is owned by the National Trust, however, they only allowed a minimum of 2 night stay at the time I was doing the trail. I had dinner at the New Dungeon Ghyll Pub which was right next to the bunkhouse.


Day 3 - Great Langdale to Keswick (16 miles)

Now this was a tough day! Leaving the bunkhouse, I re-joined the Way which would soon lead to Stake Pass, a high mountain pass which takes you out of Great Langdale into the magnificent Langstrath Valley and then into Borrowdale. You then join the stunning path around Derwent Water before eventually arriving into Keswick. I stayed at one of the many B&B's in Keswick which has many hotels, shops, B&B's and restaurants.


Day 4 - Keswick to Caldbeck (15 miles)

As I left the B&B in Keswick, the rain started to pour and it would last all day. This is a section where you hope for good weather but today would not be my day! As you leave Keswick you start to climb up towards the giant Skiddaw and the Skiddaw car park, at the fork in the path that would take you up Skiddaw itself, you take the right fork in the path instead where you enter the ravine of Whit Beck. You then cross the low slopes of Lonscale Fell before you enter the more wild terrain of Skiddaw Forest and Skiddaw House. You then navigate various becks which can be difficult in bad weather whilst climbing up to Great Lingy Hill. I had very little visibility at this stage due to the fog and the rain continued, I therefore took shelter in the Lingy Hut and stayed for some time to get my bearings and warm up a little bit. Leaving Lingy Hut, you then make your way to the summit of High Pike, finally descending into Caldbeck. I arrived in Caldbeck very wet that evening, I stayed at the Oddfellows Inn, I did not have the best experience (and I am by no means a fussy customer), but I put this down to the fact that the pub seemed to be under new management and had only just re-opened due to COVID. There is a campsite in Caldbeck which some people opt to stay in.


Day 5 - Caldbeck to Carlisle (15 miles)

The section from Caldbeck to Carlisle follows mainly farmland, passing through various villages on route before arriving into the town of Carlisle and the official end of the Cumbria Way! What an amazing hike - I really do recommend this trail to all!

Facilities/ Accommodation

I have listed the accommodation that I used in my itinerary above. There are remote sections of this trail without any facilities at all so be sure to plan your itinerary carefully to ensure that you have sufficient supplies.


Whilst I carried everything that I needed for the duration in my backpack, you may wish to use one of the luggage transfer services. Both Sherpa Van and Lake District Baggage Transfer offer this service although I have never used either of their services so I am unable to directly recommend.


Navigation

The Cumbria Way is not a designated National Trail and is not therefore marked with the acorn waymark but it is waymarked fairly well.


In addition, I used the Cicerone guidebook and map (which you can purchase here).


In terms of GPS, I used the old Viewranger App which is no longer in existence. I continue my search for an alternative app.


If you wish to download GPX files to your own App or GPS device then you can use the following link to download - GPX for Cumbria Way

If you have any questions about the Cumbria Way or anything else then please do use the contact form to drop me a line, I will get back to you as soon as possible.


You can follow my adventures live over on my Instagram @hiker_heather

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jwarburton29
Feb 18, 2022

Wow, well done, looks

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