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First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

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First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

Hi there, we are a couple mid 40's and will hopefully be travelling to the Lakes in late October for 3 nights.

We are travelling from East Yorkshire.

We are looking to site see via car and on foot, on foot we would like a few easy walks as we aren't most fittest of people.

I have looked at a few posts and was thinking of a base in either Keswick or Ambleside.

Ambleside is a shorter journey, so this is probably the first choice.

My sense of direction is terrible so when driving I tend to rely on the sat nav, any advice on nice scenic routes to enter into the sat nav would be appreciated, ie, from one point to another where the scenery will be nice.

We are travelling during the kids holidays, could anyone tell me if the Lakes will still be really busy at the end of October?

I would also like to know if anyone could suggest some pleasent but not too vigorous walks.

Many thanks

Rob

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1. Re: First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

The easiest route from E Yorks is to get onto the A1 and then the A66.

Cross country otherwise is very slow.

I reckon Keswick is as near as Ambleside for you.

The Autumn half-term holiday can be a popular one for visits to the Lakes, but except for a few hotspots the Lakes do NOT get very crowded in my opinion.

There are plenty of easier walks around Keswick ( I dont know Ambleside so well) and there are also guided group walks at various levels readily available.

Both locations offer launch trips on the lake.

The Lake District is not a big geographical area so wherever you stay you will not be far from the major sites.

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2. Re: First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

If you're there during the school half term week in October it will be busy, but probably not excessively so. Ambleside is one of the busier places, so if being busy puts you off, then avoid Ambleside.

Can you be a bit more specific with "not too vigorous walks"? There are fantastic walks at all levels of difficulty in the lake district. Are you looking for something pretty flat, or would climbing some of the smaller fells be OK? How far do you want to walk before you've had enough?

If you end up in Keswick, then walking round Derwentwater is pleasant and not strenuous. Either walk all the way round if you feel like it, or just walk half as far as you want to walk and then turn back.

Grasmere is another lovely lake to walk round (or part of the way round if you prefer) and is between Keswick and Ambleside, so you could easily do that from either location.

A really easy "cheat" walk, if you are in the Keswick area, is to drive to the car park between Skiddaw and Latrigg and then walk to the top of Latrigg. That's an extremely short and easy walk, but you get all the enjoyment of being at the top of one of the fells (albeit one of the smaller ones) and you'll have a cracking view of Keswick and the surrounding area.

Other suggestions will no doubt be forthcoming if you can be a bit more specific about your walking requirements.

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3. Re: First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

Either of the two places mentioned will be fine for a few nights in the area. By car they are only about 25 minutes apart.

Keswick is an excellent location for the northern Lakes - you can get to Derwentwater and Ullswater very easily. You will also get a much better view of the mountains as Keswick is nicely nestled pretty much in between them.

The walk that Nautius has suggested is very good for those who aren't terribly fit. It is about 20 minutes at a casual, steady pace from the car park but the view from the top of Latrigg over Derwentwater really is fabulous. Just be aware that even from the car park there will still be a reasonable but pretty easy ascent. There is a sign at the gate which indicates a limited mobility path - choose this route as it has been specially laid out.

However, don't discount other areas. Tarn Hows is about 20 minutes by car from Ambleside and there is a very pleasant, level walk around the tarns (with a few slightly uphill sections but nothing difficult).

Scenic drives - there is quite a nice scenic loop you can take from Keswick, through Whinlatter Forest and then down towards Lorton and heading towards Crummockwater. All you do then is carry on past Buttermere and up the Honister Pass, stopping off at Honister Slate Mine. Park up at the slate mine (they do tours here too) and take the walking path up to the top and you will get a super view of Buttermere and Crummockwater. The Honister Pass itself is very scenic - you will drive through the valley with huge boulders on both sides and there are plenty of places to stop off for photos.

Come out of the mine and continue on the road towards Keswick and you will go through the Borrowdale area and you will approach Keswick from the south side. There is a hotel on this road which looks quite good - I haven't tried it myself yet as I drove straight past it last weekend, but I think you can get afternoon tea there - it's called The Lodore Falls and overlooks Derwentwater.

Another excellent drive is from east to west along the Wrynose and Hardknott Passes although these are a lot more tricky to negotiate if you're not used to pass driving as they have very steep gradients in sections as well as hairpin bends.

If that is not your cup of tea then you can take the the right fork at the beginning of Wrynose Pass, signposted to Blea Tarn and take another scenic drive through the Langdale Valley and out towards Great Langdale and Chapel Stile. This will take you back towards Ambleside. Blea Tarn is a small tarn that you can walk around and offers good views of the Langdale and Coniston Fells.

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4. Re: First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

If you're basing yourself in / near Keswick, this is a good website:

http://www.dokeswick.com

It has details of the Latrigg walk here:

http://www.dokeswick.com/walks/latrigg.htm

Brian

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5. Re: First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

Thank for the quick responses.

Regarding fitness, I don't want to walking really steep gradients.

I am happy walking 8 miles or so, it's the walking up very steep hills that I wouldn't particularly be happy with.

I am probably over reacting and thinking the hills are steeper than they really are.

I haven't driven any of the passes before but am a confident driver, will the weather be ok towards the end of October? as long as the roads aren't icy I will be fine negotiating them I thnk.

Once again, many thanks for the information and please keep it coming.

This is a wonderful forum and I can't wait to go to the Lakes now!!!

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6. Re: First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

Its not the steep uphill you should worry about - just take it slowly - but try to choose a longer less steep descent route.

However if you are happy with walking 8 miles even in flat E Yorks and you dont have knee problems you should manage 1 major peak during your visit.

But seriously the lesser peaks are often nicer.

Traditionally the NW is warmer and wetter than the NE and ice/snow during Oct/Nov would be very rare - dont worry about it.

Edited: 03 September 2010, 15:11
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7. Re: First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

Thanks Rarar

What lesser peak walks would you suggest?

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8. Re: First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

You will be hard pushed to find a view that gives maximum enjoyment for minimum effort which beats the Latrigg suggestion - try it, you won't regret it. Google it and look at the photos.

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9. Re: First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

In the Keswick area there is :

Barrow - Outerside optional over Sail Pass walk back along Rigg Beck.

Dodd from the Mire house carpark.

Catbells/Maiden Moor there is a nice miners path on the west side from Skelgill towards Little Town .

Bleaberry once you have done Walla Crag .

Watendlath is worth a visit .

A classic is to do Latrigg, down the east ridge to the railway, cross the A66 to Castlerigg Stone Circle and back to Keswick ( maybe add Walla Crag in or Great Wood and a little bit of the Lake ),

I dont think Blencathra via Blease Fell is too difficult - it is a short walk from Threlkeld.

If the weather is bad:

Round Derwentwater or part way round, take in Castle Crag.

Along the Glendaterra Beck ( tween Lonscale Fell * Blencathra)

Grasmere gives you Helm Crag ( Lion & Lamb).

You will need a map to see these, but the paths are easy on the ground, and most of the above can be easily shortened or lengthened.

If you want to do one big Fell near Keswick do Blencathra far nicer than Skiddaw.

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10. Re: First timers to the Lakes, advice appreciated

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