Hiking Adventures in the Lake District: A Journey Through Scenic Trails and Charming Villages

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2024

Dear Lake District hikers,

It was a beautiful Sunday in May when our group convened at the train station in Windermere and drove to Glenthorne Retreat Center, our peaceful home, for the first half of the trip. After introductions and an overview of the week’s itinerary, we had tea in the library, took a walk through the village of Grasmere, and returned to Glenthorne for dinner. Lambs were everywhere, and we never grew tired of seeing them snuggled up with their mothers or frolicking with each other.

We were excited for our first hike on Monday, which left right from Glenthorne. We walked through the village and around Grasmere Lake before ascending to the summit of Loughrigg Fell (pacing ourselves and using the “rest step”), where we enjoyed lunch and great views. We then descended to Rydal and visited the gardens there before returning via the “Coffin Trail” to Glenthorne for tea, where we had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of two delightful female hikers who were visiting from Yorkshire.

The next day, we drove a short distance to nearby Elterwater to hike Lingmoor Fell and the Langdale Valley. We were glad Yvonne was at the wheel on the winding, narrow roads! Once again, our lunch spot offered fabulous views. Anne and Yvonne couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a quick swim in Blea Tarn. That evening, we went into Grasmere for dinner at Tweedie’s, where they served us a delicious meal. 

Wednesday was our last day in Grasmere. We bid farewell to our new friends, the Yorkshire hikers, and headed to nearby Helm Crag on foot. Upon reaching the summit, we were surprised to be greeted by a U.S. flag. We continued along the ridge and stopped for lunch before choosing between two options for returning to Glenthorne and descending on opposite sides of the ridge. Both routes included waterfalls and becks; we all made it back for tea! 

Our group was sorry to leave Glenthorne but eager to see another part of the Lake District. We made the short drive to Keswick and boarded a boat on Derwentwater, which dropped us off at High Brandlehow Landing. We ambled back to Keswick along the lakeshore, stopping at The Lingholm Estate for coffee and to admire a human-size Peter Rabbit sculpture. Then we had free time in Keswick before continuing to High Swinside Cottages, where Diana (plus her chickens and cat) greeted us warmly. After settling in and doing laundry, we gathered around the farmhouse dining table for dinner, then enjoyed dessert by the wood stove. 

On Friday, we set off from High Swinside to Whiteside Round. Reaching the summit involved a steep climb and some rock scrambling. After lunch on top, we had the option of descending or continuing along the ridge to Hopegill Head. Both groups returned in time for a relaxing tea together before driving to the Lakes Distillery for a whiskey tasting and a delicious meal, where we celebrated Mindy’s birthday.

Saturday’s weather forecast suggested rain in the morning, so we visited the village of Cockermouth before setting out on our hike. Our route ascended Low Fell, which gave us a view of the lakes of Lorton Vale. Then, we finished along Loweswater. We stopped for ice cream and bid farewell to Nancy, then enjoyed another “dinner in” at the farmhouse. 

Our trip was coming to an end, but we had one more day to hike! On Sunday, we drove to the trailhead for Haystacks, one of Alfred Wainwright’s favorite hikes. We saw not only lambs but also a Highland cow with whom Yvonne attempted to have a conversation. Our route to the top involved a short section of rock scrambling, which we managed quite well. After lunch, we took our time descending, including a rest break at a “bothy” with a fabulous view. On our way home, we stopped for ice cream and beer in Buttermere. That evening, we gathered to share trip highlights and reflections before going out for our last dinner together at the Kirkstile Inn.

You were a delightful group of women to hike and travel with! Thank you for your good company and conversations throughout the week. Enjoy the summer, and keep on adventuring. I hope our paths will cross again!


Warm regards,


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