OverviewThe Lake District National Park is the crown jewel of the English countrside. Popular with tourists and Brits alike it is the capital of English climbing and fell walking. All of England's largest mountains are contained within the park including England's tallest mountain Scafell Pike.
The Lakes are a playground for the mountain lover. The park is composed of literally hundreds of fells most of which can be accessed in a day from one of the many villages that dot the park. Some of the more notable mountains include; Scafell Pike, Helvellyn, Great Gable and Blencathra. The Lake District is famous for it's beauty but also for the notoriously fickle weather. Expect to see some form of precipitation on any day of the year.
For the culturally inclined the Lakes are most famous for the poet William Wordsworth. Wordsworth lived in Dove Cottage in Grasmere for a number of years and the cottage has since been preserved and open to the public.
The Lakes have been popularized in the modern era by the prolific rambler, author and illustrator, Alfred Wainwright. Wainwright was well known for his love of the fells and the wildlife there within. He is best known for authoring a series of books in the 1950s and 60s entitled, "A Pictoral Guide to the Lakeland Fells". These guides which include hand drawn maps of the fells have become the standard reference material for many Lakeland hikers. The seven books describe a total of 214 fells which have collectively become known as the "Wainwrights". Many a hardy walker has a goal of bagging all 214 of these peaks.
3000 ft PeaksThere are 4 peaks in England above 3000 feet in height all of which are located in the Lake District.
Scafell Pike is the tallest mountain in England and is located in a particularly rugged corner of the Lakes. There are a number of routes to the summit ranging from walk-ups to serious scrambles. This is not a mountain to be underestimated. Route finding can be difficult in bad weather so ensure that you always carry a map and compass.
Scafell, 3162 ft
Though the shorter of the two, Scafell is considered a more serious ascent than it's neighbor Scafell Pike.
Helvellyn is famous for it's sublime Striding Edge. This grade 1 scramble is one of the classic climbs of the Lakes. Helvellyn can be climbed in a half day from Ullswater.
Skiddaw rises majestically above the northern side of Keswick. This mountain is popular with both hikers and mountain bikers.
Getting ThereThe Lake District is accessible via the M6 motorway. Major centers within the lake District include Windermere and Keswick. These are both very popular tourist towns which have their charms but which may put off the fell walker looking for solitude. Other towns of note to the mountainer include Ambleside, Grasmere, Buttermere and Ullswater.
Keswick provides access to many of the peaks in the northern part of the Lake District. Keswick is located just off the A66. If driving on the M6, take junction 40 for the A66.
Windermere is the main center for the southern portion of the Lakes. Windermere is accessible via the A591 which is located off of junction 36 on the M6.
Red Tape / EmergenciesGenerally none. Stick to trails were possible and keep dogs on the lead if there are sheep about (which is virtually all of the time for many of the fells).
In case of an emergency in the fells dial 999.
The following mountain rescue teams operate in the more popular parts of the Lakeland area.
Keswick Moutain Rescue
Langdale/Ambleside Mountain Rescue
Wasdale Mountain Rescue
Additional rescue team info can be found here.
Where to StayKeswick is the main center for climbs in the northern part of the Lakes. There are many places to stay in the Keswick area including hotels, B&Bs, self-catering cottages, and camp-sites. Windermere and Ambleside offer similar amenities in the southern end of the park.
Keswick Area Lodging
Ambleside/Windermere Area Lodging
Post Climbing AttractionsThere are a number of beautiful villages and towns scattered throughout the Lakes. Buttermere, Grasmere, Braithwaite, Ambleside, Keswick and Windermere are all well worth a visit. At the heart of each town is usually a good pub or two where you can find a hot meal and a nice local ale. For the ale aficionado there are a number of local breweries that offer a range of fantastic tasting beers. The Jennings brewery in Cockermouth is the most well known but don't miss out on the other locals which include Coniston, Hesket Newmarket, Barngates and Yates.
Other attractions include the National Mountaineering Exhibiton at Rheged, the Honister Slate Mine and lakes Windermere, Ullswater and Derwentwater.
WeatherThere is a reason there are still so many lakes in the Lake District; you can expect to be rained on any day of the year here and you often will be. That said, the Lake District can have very pleasant weather in the summers. Expect temperatures to range from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius on a typical July or August day. The Lakes also experience fairly mild winters due to the location next to the Irish Sea. You can expect an average temperature of around 7 degrees Celsius in the winter months. The combination of mild winters and long summer days makes the Lakes an all year round destination for the fell walker. Many of the fells will receive snow in the winter making for some fun snow climbs on some of the classic summer time scrambles.
It is wise to always be prepared for various types of weather when hiking in the Lakes. A waterproof shell is appropriate at any time of the year and it is advisable to carry an Ordinance Survery Map and compass as visibility can deteriorate quickly when a storm rolls in.
BBC Weather for Keswick
BBC Weather for Windermere
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