Lake District: High and Mighty – Bob Law


Alex Watching Climbers on High Man. New West Climb. Pillar
It’s only two hours in the car, at an easy pace, from Glasgow to the edge of the English Lake District. Nonetheless, for many Scottish walkers it’s a mountain area they avoid, put off by tourist numbers, high parking charges and a misconceived attitude that the Lakes are not as adventurous somehow, compared to Scotland. I have been visiting the Lake District for decades and have never held that view as the mountains down there have a charm all of their own.

The Villages

Typical Lakeland StreetThe villages, even the tiny ones, are picture postcard beautiful as is the landscape and the number of different walks, both high level wild mountain and low level flat valley puts Scotland to shame.

For its size the Lake District packs a mighty punch with hundreds of summits squeezed tightly together into a small compact area and I’ve yet to climb a boring hill down there. ( I have done all the Munros and most of the Corbetts so I know what a boring hill feels like :o)  

If you do a tiny bit of homework online you can avoid the crowds and you can easily find numerous free car parks, for a weekend or day trip. We are in the habit of leaving around 7:00am Saturday or Sunday, getting on the hills for around 9:30am and then enjoying a full day on the mountains before heading back to Glasgow again in the evening. Obviously, you watch the weather forecast the night before the trip to ensure good weather.

Good Circuits of Hills

Oxen Fell Minor Road. Lake District

Good circuits of hills include Skiddaw, just before Keswick; the Grisedale Pike to Ladyside Pike horseshoe, The Derwent Fells from Borrowdale; Saddleback from Threlkeld; Helvellyn from Glenridding; and High Street from Haweswater. All day trips but good cheap youth hostels, B and B or camping sites are readily available. Great pubs, dozens of outdoor shops,cinemas,museums, galleries, historic town walks, and scenic valley walks, are plentiful in most of the towns like Keswick, Penrith,Cockermouth and Ambleside. The variety of amenities means that wet weather, if you get a poor day during a weekend, is less of a drawback as it would be trying to pass the time in the highlands.

High Man. Pisgah. Black Sail Hut Below-1

Don’t think I’ve paid for a car park yet over dozens of trips and we’ve not been avoiding them.( some can be £7 to £10 for a day so watch out in tourist towns and busy areas) Great chip shops and other outdoor treats like extensive caves and old quarries, featured in the photographs, make a rainy day an adventure once you know where to go. If you arrive early on a day trip, before 10:00am say, the car parks are rarely full and the hills are quiet. Mid week or in late autumn, winter or early spring it can be as quiet as any Scottish hill. Also good to hear Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and a host of other accents on the hills. Makes it feel like a proper holiday outing, even for one day.

Glasgow Outdoors by Bob Law

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This section: Bob Law: photographer, walker and writer

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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