It is thrilling to travel aboard to some exotic location and do some walking or climbing amid unusual scenery and breath-taking landscapes. But let’s not forget that here in the UK we have our own very spectacular area to enjoy – the Lake District. So while going abroad is great fun, here are some of my favourite walks around the lakes for a stay at home break.
Ash Landing and Claife Heights
There’s plenty to suit everyone around Windermere with its shopping and fine dining options as well as water sports. I love the fact that the area has been a tourist attraction dating back to the Victorians so I can image my ancestors walking the same trails that I do now. Claife Heights is on the west shore and was included in a guide book dating from 1778. The walk is a total of 7.5 miles with plenty to keep you occupied and interested.
Borger Dalr has been described as the ‘finest square mile’ in the area by fell walker and author Alfred Wainwright and anyone visit the area can easily enjoy the same sentiment. The walk includes climbing to see the ancient hillfort of Castle Crag that has been the site of a manmade construction for over two millennia. The views from here are amazing so don’t forget to take your camera. There is also a poignant moment in the walk at Peace How, a small summit that was purchased by the government in 1917 to offer a place of peace for returning soldiers to visit after World War I.
Corpse Road, Loweswater
Corpse Road may sound a bit more like somewhere you would visit on Halloween but is a fascinating walk with a glimpse into the past. Corpse roads were used to carry the dead to their final resting places by the small communities around Loweswater. As well as a glimpse of past times, this walk offers some great sights including the lake and the woodland area, which is home to a colony of red squirrels.
Greendale and Middle Fell
Sometimes it is fun to walk with others but occasionally I want to spend some time away from the most frequently used routes to really enjoy nature and the landscape in tranquillity. The 3.5 mile walk around Greendale and Middle Fell is one such example of a less-commonly used route. It includes the valley of Eskdale with its Roman history and the stream in Greendale Tarn that always looks as if it flowing in the wrong direction!
Seathwaite to Sty Head and Grains Gill
Covering just over five miles, this walk includes one of the few grade I listed bridges in the country. Stockley Bridge is an old packhorse bridge that was once used in moving wool and coal. The walk also gives a glimpse of the watercourses that flow into Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater. The area does hold the record for rainfall in the UK, when 316 mm of rain fell in November 2009 in one 24-hour period, so make sure you take along your waterproofs for the journey.
For me, walking is more than just something to do to keep fit – it’s a passion for me. This passion often leads me to try something new and challenging to see if I can do it and I have a pretty good record of success with my challenges. I had heard and read about the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge from fellow walkers, some with a note of terror in their voices, and the time came around for me to try it myself.
In case you haven’t heard about the Three Peaks Challenge, let me introduce you to it. the total distance of the walk is 25 metres and is often described as the most formidable challenge in the Yorkshire Dales, an area filled with walking challenges. Different groups will take a slightly different overall route but to complete the challenge, you have to climb the three peaks. Pen-y-ghent is the smallest at 694 metres following by Whernside, the tallest at 736m and finally Ingleborough at 723m. while walking isn’t about getting a pat on the back from anyone but yourself, if you do complete the walk within 12 hours, you can apply for an accomplishment badge to wear with pride on your walking jacket.
Walking the peaks
The traditional starting point is Horton in Ribblesdale and this is where I started my walk. This leads first to Brackenbottom Scar which you climb to reach a series of paths known as the Pennine Way. When you reach the top, you will get your first glimpse of Pen-y-ghent with its impressive, oddly shaped peak. I found climbing up Pen-y-ghent was challenging but reaching the top was a feeling of accomplishment, ignoring the fact that it was the smallest of the three!
As you head west from the top of Pen-y-ghent, you can see the amazing Hull Pot, a sinkhole that sneaks up on you, despite its size so be careful! You hear the water as you approach as there is an impressive waterfall within it.
The next section can involve a series of paths depending on the route you chose. I included a small detour to see Dismal Hill then on to Nether Hall and Lodge Hall. This leads to the B6479 and the Ribblehead Viaduct, another unmissable sight along the walk.
The rest of the peaks
I took a few pictures of the viaduct and then braced myself for the second and tallest of the peaks, Whernside. Overall, the walk up the peak isn’t that hard but it is a bit lacking in something to look at and this seems to result in people running out of impetuous. Getting to the top is worth it though with the views back to the viaduct.
You can grab some refreshments at the Three Peak refreshment stop on Philpin Farm before heading straight up Ingleborough. This peak starts off gentle then gets quite steep at the top but the views from the top and the sense of exhilaration for reaching it is worth the strain. I stood and enjoyed views across the Dales and on a clear day, you can see as far as the Lake District!
Have a rest at the top of Ingleborough as while the climbing is finished, the walking isn’t. There is around six miles to get you back to Horton and finish the circle that the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. It is a challenge for sure but one I would wholeheartedly recommend to any walker.
You might have already guessed by now that I have a bit of a fixation with everest. I’m not sure if it’s just the sheer beauty of this peak (other peaks are beautiful too!), or the fact that it’s very unlikely to be one I ever attempt (still hoping), or that the sheer thrill the challenge represents is something that gets most climbers excited.
Whatever it is, you get to share in my fasciniation too, so here’s another video, detailing a trek to the Everest base camp.
Our planet has some unbelievable amazing scenery and there is no better way to see it than to climb or walk among it. Climbing or walking locations such as the Great Wall of China aren’t something that can be undertaken lightly but with the right training and the right group of people, non-pros can enjoy these amazing experiences. They are also popular locations for charity climbs and treks to raise money for a favourite cause.
Everest Base Camp
Climbing Mount Everest is something that is only ever done by the elite professional climbers and is a very serious and potentially life-threatening activity. But for those who want a taste of this, there is the Everest Base Camp climb. There are a number of different treks available with licensed and experienced guides that allow both a visit to the base camp used for those awe-inspiring climbs as well as a glimpse of the lifestyle of the Sherpa people who are native to the area. Visiting the base camp allows climbers to see the routes taken by famous climbers such as Gregory Mallory and Sir Edmund Hillary.
Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free standing mountain on the planet (unlike Everest which is part of a chain of mountains). At over 5800 metres high with a permanent snow cap, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro isn’t as technical as Everest or as dangerous but is challenging with the altitude in particular causing problems. Most climbs will involve an acclimatisation session before the climb
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is without doubt one of the most recognisable manmade structures in the world and also offers great trekking opportunities. There are so many sights to see that treks can include small sections or a string of slightly larger ones. It is a chance to enjoy the splendour of the wall as well as see some of the amazing countryside around it and even meet some of the people who live in the area.
The Inca people who once had a vast empire across parts of South America are known for their impressive masonry and top of the list of places to visit on the Inca Trail is the city of Machu Picchu. The city stands at the top of a granite path that was constructed some 500 years ago and is often said to be the most spectacular short trek anywhere on Earth. It is a trek of contrasts, starting in the lush jungle and ending up at the top of the Andes peak where the city has its improbable location.
There’s no doubting that the Grand Canyon is part of some of the most amazing scenery anywhere and offers an amazing range of features for trekkers to see. From waterfalls to geysers, wildlife and even remnants from ancient cultures, the area has plenty to offer and a trek into the Grand Canyon Park is at the heart of it. it is also a great place to combine with other features as well as the fascinating city of Las Vegas within driving distance.
The title of this vidoe make me chuckle a bit – like if you didn’t already have a burning desire to climb the highest mountain on the planet, a few interesting facts would make you rush out now and jump on a flight to Lukla. But these are some pretty interesting facts about the Himalayas highest peak, so the video is definitely worth a watch for all you climbing fans.