Does The Lake District
summer of 2005 brought me back to England, where I had written about
an extreme day hike of London (visiting
the city again, a very interesting day as it turned out - July 10,
2005 the day it was announced they got the 2012 Olympics and the
day before the terrorists struck). Situated in northwest England,
just below Scotland, the Lake District is an amazingly hiker friendly
and compact 15-mile radius area mostly reachable by bus, of dozens
of hiking trails (known as walking paths).
area lends itself to tour-guided and self-guided walking packages
where a tour
organizer puts together the transportation, accommodations, meals,
and baggage transfer - all you have to do is walk! Point-to-point walks include the Cumbria
Way, or a series of walks from one or more towns like Keswick
Deferring to the
many web sites that describe these idyllic valleys and lakes, here
are my three choices of one day hikes of the Lake District:
are two good rigorous day hikes on opposite sides of this valley: The Landale
Pikes above and, across the valley, the Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell,
on to Esk Pike, below. Both can be hiked from the same starting
Landale Pikes, while straight up a rocky ravine, is much shorter
and gratifying. The
Brits really know how to name their peaks: Pike o'Stickle - Harrison
Stickle - Pavey Ark - Thunacar Knott - High Raise - Sergeant Man
- Blea Rigg.
Crinkle Crags.et al (below) are a series of peaks and took an 8-hour
- and, my trail running shoes took a beating - lots of rocks.
this big one.. the Crinkle Crag "Bad Step"
not a rock climber, and I probably shouldn't have done this alone
- but this was a highlight
of this day hike. The rock edifice above titled "Bad Step" is
10 feet tall - just enough to make you think, "should I do this?" Yes
- and I didn't break anything important.
that was the easy part. The Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell, Esk Pike sequence is
a meandering unmarked path of lunar landscape-like rock. It's
easy to get mis-directed, especially if it is foggy - and it often
is. Bring your compass and map and now how to use them.
Dungeon Ghyll Hotel is a perfect place to stay. It's
at the base of both hikes and has good food and beer at the end
of the day, a comfortable mattress and a quiet surrounding.
on the eastern side of the Lake District, this is the most popular
hike in the Lake
District - and for good reason as you can see, scrambling up to the
top of Helvellyn summit is dramatic. And, if you do it on clear
summer Saturday like I did, you won't need a compass or a map - just
follow the crowd and meet lots of friendly locals. This day
hike, like many in the Lake District, can be finished off at a local
pub (in Glenridding).
On west side of
the Lake District and difficult to get to without a car is the Wasdale
valley. The Wasdale
Head Inn is a good place to stay and hike to the multiple peaks
of Pillar, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, and Scafell Pike. Certainly
doing all of them in one day would be an extreme day hike (16 miles
and over 6000 feet of ascent). Better to stay a few days and
do them one at a time.
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