So much more than a simple stroll, hill walking, once seen as the territory of middle aged bearded men who frequently committed the heinous act of wearing socks with sandals, is now the Lake District’s most popular attraction. Here’s why you should get your boots on and get walking this summer. 

1. It Does Wonders For Your Body

Fell Walking in the Lake District

Forget an expensive gym membership with no fresh air. Walking is the easiest form of exercise, and you can do it anywhere! Hill walking is even better, giving you more of a workout as your legs work against gravity to ascend those hills. Add in some scrambling and now you are working your upper body muscles, as well as your leg muscles. On average, you can expect to burn between 300 and 500 calories per hour of hiking, and if you push yourself to go faster, you will continue to burn calories long after you have finished your walk.

2. It’s Also Pretty Good for Your Mind

Wast Water

Wast Water

There have been several studies that have shown how walking in nature can improve your mental health and well being. In 2015, researchers at Stanford University produced a study with data that showed that 90-minutes of walking in a natural area resulted in a reduction in the activity in the brain that was typically associated with depression. Local explorer Alfred Wainwright put it best when he wrote: “On these breezy heights, a transformation is wondrously wrought within you. Your thoughts are simple, in tune with your surroundings; the complicated problems you brought with you from the town are smoothed away.”

3. You Get an Amazing Sense of Achievement

Hikers at the Summit

Whether you are starting small with Orrest Head, or aiming high with Helvellyn, you will get a real sense of achievement when you get to the summit. You can look down to the lakes and valleys below and give yourself a huge pat on the back (and a slice of Kendal mint cake) for reaching the top. Watch out though, it’s pretty addictive, and you will soon find yourself looking around for the next peak to bag.

4. You Get Amazing Views You Won’t See at Sea Level

Like this from Helvellyn:

Views of Helvellyn

Views of the famous Helvellyn

Or, this from Great Gable:

View from Great Gable

Views of Wast Water and Wasdale Head from the summit of Great Gable

Or, how about this from Fleetwith Pike?

Fleetwith Pike Views

View of Buttermere, Crummock Water from the summit of Fleetwith Pike

5. You Can Treat Yourself at the End

Traditional Sunday Roast Dinner

A Traditional Sunday Roast Dinner

Whether you choose a picnic packed with Grasmere Gingerbread and a Cumberland Sausage sandwich, a classic steak and ale pie from the Wasdale Head Inn, afternoon tea at The Chalet in Portinscale, a homemade ice cream in the Syke Farm Tea Room, made from cows who graze around Buttermere, or a traditional Sunday roast dinner in one of the many cosy pubs, you can definitely treat yourself. After you have successfully made it to the top and back you will certainly deserve a little indulgence.

Walking in the Lake District

The Lake District is packed with walking routes that suit all abilities. You can find information on some suggested routes, as well as some basic safety information for fell walking within our Fell Walks guide.