Fell Walks

Walker on Whiteside above Gasgale Crags

Walker on Whiteside above Gasgale Crags

One of the biggest draws of the Lake District are the spectacular mountains (fells) that afford great views from their summits and offer a mixture of challenges from a gentle stroll to razor edged ridges with steep drops either side. 

In this section, we have picked out some of our favourite fell walks, including those that are popular with local residents and away from the main tourist hubs.

Some are easy, some are a challenge, and whilst many are suitable for beginners, there are some that do require some rock scrambling and almost all require a good level of fitness. These routes should be used as a guide only, and not as your sole means of navigation.

Family Friendly Fell Walks

Jetty for the Keswick Launch

Keswick Launch Jetty along the Brandelhow Bay Walk

Here we provide some great family-friendly walks for children of all ages, including a number of walks suitable for those travelling with babies in all-terrain prams, toddlers, and older children. 

Dog Friendly Fell Walks

Barrow and Stile End, Braithwaite

Path along the Barrow & Stile End Walk

In this section, we provide dog friendly fell walking routes with guidance on if/when it might be suitable to allow your dog off the lead, as well as step-by-step walking instructions written by our Cumbrian local. We also offer suggestions for dog-friendly pubs to end your walks. 

 

Easy Fell Walks

Path from Loughrigg with views of Grasmere

Path from Loughrigg with views of Grasmere

Don’t let the "Easy" classification put you off. These gentle walks still offer great views and a satisfying feeling of accomplishment.

 

Medium-Difficulty Fell Walks

Fell walking on Catbells with views of Derwentwater Keswick

Fell walking on Catbells with views of Derwentwater & Keswick

This next group of fells are more challenging as they require more time and involve higher elevations. They are not suitable for young children unless you are willing to carry them, and older children may find some of them quite tiring. Some also involve a limited amount of scrambling.

 

Hard Fell Walks

View from summit of the Old Man of Coniston

View from the summit of the Old Man of Coniston

These walks are some of the highest fells in the Lake District, including England’s highest mountain. They are not to be tackled lightly, and you should be adequately prepared with the right equipment and abilities before attempting their summits.

 

Fell Walking Safety In The Lake District

Hiking couple

 

The 12 Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs) in the Lake District respond to between 400 and 500 incidents each year in the Lakeland Fells. Sadly, a handful of these incidents involve fatalities. Many of these incidents could have been avoided if the walkers involved had been better prepared for the conditions they faced. There are a number of steps that you can take to ensure your safety when on the fells.

Clothing

It might look like a lovely sunny day from your hotel or campsite, but the tops of the fells can paint an entirely different picture, and the weather can change very quickly thanks to the prevailing winds that come from the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore you need to make sure that your clothing is adequate for all weather. You will need:

  • Layers of warm clothing so that you can add or take away layers as you need.
  • Waterproof trousers and jacket.
  • Walking boots that are waterproof and provide good ankle support.
  • Hat and gloves, even during the summer months in case you are stranded overnight.

Items To Carry

In addition to good clothing, there are a number of items you should take with you when walking on the fells. These are:

  • Map and compass and the ability to read it. Do not rely on a map on a phone or tablet alone, as GPS can be unreliable.
  • Torch and spare batteries.
  • Whistle – This will help you to alert MRTs and other walkers of your presence and need for assistance if required.
  • Enough food and drink for the day. Look for foods that are high in carbohydrates for energy.
  • Crampons and ice picks if hiking during the winter months. It might not be icy at the base of the fell, but the temperature can be significantly lower at the summit.
  • Mobile Phone – Dial 999 if you need help in an emergency. They will contact the MRTs on your behalf.

Check The Weather

Before you set off, check the weather forecast for your area via the Mountain Weather Information Service. Do not rely on general weather forecasts for the Lake District such as those found on local news channels etc., as these will not give accurate predictions for the fells.

If you are not an experienced walker and the weather conditions do not seem favourable, then it is wise to consider an alternative activity. If the cloud cover is low you can become disorientated very quickly.

Plan Your Route In Advance

Use an OS map and other walking guides to plan your route in advance. Do not rely on signposting in the area, as it is sporadic at best.

Make sure you allow plenty of time to complete your walk. Don't be tempted to set off up one of the larger fells at 2pm on a winter’s day; it gets dark around 4pm and you may end up spending the night on the mountainside as a result. Instead, aim for an early start to make the most of the daylight hours.

Inform Others

Inform a friend or family member of your route and how long you expect to be out for. Arrange with them to contact them once you are back in your hotel or campsite so that they can alert the MRTs if you do go missing. This is particularly important if you are planning to go out alone.