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The 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.
This section displays the mountain conditions for the Lake District. The information is provided by the Met Office and is issued twice per day. It is valid for the full 24 hour period on each day. Click on the widget for maps and further information.
The Lake District is busiest from late Spring to early Autumn and some mountains can get very busy. Mountains such as Scafell Pike and Helvellyn in particular get very busy due to their attraction to tourists and ease of access. Although the weather is usually warm throughout the summer showers are common, and full waterproofs and quality walking boots are essential for all expeditions.|
In winter the area is quieter as most tourists prefer to visit the area when it's warm. In winter conditions an walking ice axe and crampons will need to be carried and if an attempt is to be made on the harder routes, equipment such as helmet, crampons, small rack and rope will probably be essential. For true winter routes specialist winter and ice climbing equipment is necessary and owing to the unpredictable conditions of snow and ice on the mountain these lines should only be attempted by those with experience of winter mountaineering techniques.
Despite the area's comparatively low altitude it can get very cold with temperatures dropping to near Arctic levels, many inexperienced walkers and climbers have been caught out in these conditions most are rescued safely by mountain rescue teams however occasionally the consequences are more serious, and every year casualties occur.
Thanks to the close proximity of the M6 motorway, the Lake District is one of the most easily accessible of Britain's National Parks.|
Exiting the window at Junction 36 is probably the best means of reaching the southern Lakes. From here towns such as Kendel, Windermere and Ambleside are easily reached along the A591. These are good centres for exploring the mountains around Wasdale, Langdale, and Eskdale.
Junction 40 is better for the northern Lakes, with Keswick just a short drive along the A66. The town sits in the shadow of Skiddaw and Blencathra, while Helvellyn sits just a little to the south and Borrowdale a little to the west.
The Lake District is also served by a number of railway stations, with stops in places such as Windermere and Kendal in the east and Workington, Whitehaven and Grange over Sands along the southern and western coast.
The Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association (LDSAMRA) comprises the twelve teams across Cumbria and the Lake District. They are mostly staffed by local volunteers and funded primarily by public donations. They operate with the assistance of local Police, and in serious situations the Royal Air Force. The services work is not just restricted to mountain and wilderness rescue; often teams are utilised by the local police to search for missing or vulnerable persons in the community. The Mountain rescue services are:|
Further information can be found from the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association and Mountain Rescue England and Wales.
In emergency situations Mountain rescue services can be contacted by ringing one of the UK's standard emergency service numbers: 999 or 112
Unlike the national parks of North America and certain parts of Europe, there are no permits required for entry into the park, no visitor limits or any other kind of red tape designed to restrict access. Since the passing of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW) 2000, the public have the right to access almost all the land within the national park boundary regardless of ownership. Open access land is denoted by the signs below.
For climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) runs a Regional Access Database, which holds mountain/crag specific information on matters of conservation and access, including issues such as nesting restrictions, nature designations and preferred parking:|
If you are in any doubt about any particular access arrangement, or need to report an incident, you should contact your local BMC Access Representative or the BMC office directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camping and AccommodationGiven the size of the area, attempting to list a fair selection of camp sites, hostels, B&Bs, hotels and holiday cottages seems a little difficult, and anyway, there’s a huge supply of accommodation in the Lake District and surrounding area and finding something that fits your needs shouldn’t be a problem. For a range of accommodation it’s worth checking out some of the following sites:
Youth Hostel Association
For everything else and more see Visit Cumbria
Ordnance Survey Leisure Maps |
Harvey Map Services |
||Walking and Hiking |
FRCC Guide: The Lakeland Fells by members of the FRCC
Cicerone Guide: Lakeland Fellranger Collection by Mark Richards
Cicerone Guide: Great Mountain Days in the Lake District by Mark Richards
Cicerone Guide: Tour of the Lake District by Jim Reid
Cicerone Guide: The Cumbria Way by John Gillham
Cicerone Guide: High Level and Fell Walks by Vivienne Crow
Cicerone Guide: Low Level and Lake Walks by Vivienne Crow
Cicerone Guide: Short Walks in Lakeland Book 1: South Lakeland by Aileen Evans and Brian Evans
Cicerone Guide: Short Walks in Lakeland Book 2: North Lakeland by Aileen Evans and Brian Evans
Cicerone Guide: Short Walks in Lakeland Book 3: West Lakeland by Aileen Evans and Brian Evans
Vertebrate Guide: Day Walks in the Lake District by Stephen Goodwin
Wainwright Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells
Eastern Fells by Alfred Wainwright
Far Eastern Fells by Alfred Wainwright
Central Fells by Alfred Wainwright
Southern Fells by Alfred Wainwright
Northern Fells by Alfred Wainwright
North Western Fells by Alfred Wainwright
Western Fells by Alfred Wainwright
Outlying Fells by Alfred Wainwright
Cicerone Guide: The Ridges of England, Wales and Ireland by Dan Bailey (also includes rock and winter climbs)
Grey Stone Books Guide: Scrambles and Easy Climbs in the Lake District by John Sparks and Judith Brown (also includes rock climbs)
Rock Climbing, Winter Climbing and Bouldering
FRCC Guide: Lake District Rock: Selected Rock Climbs in the English Lake District by FRCC Guidebooks Committee
FRCC Guide: Scafell & Wasdale by Al Phizacklea and Ron Kenyon
FRCC Guide: Langdale by Max Biden
FRCC Guide: Eden Valley & South Lakes Limestone by by Ron Kenyon, Nick Wharton & John Holden
FRCC Guide: Eastern Crags by Al Davis & Nick Wharton
FRCC Guide: Buttermere & St Bees by Phil Rigby
FRCC Guide: Gable & Pillar by Phil Rigby
FRCC Guide: Borrowdale by Gary Baum and Al Hewison
FRCC Guide: Dow, Duddon & Slate by Al Phizacklea
Mainstream Publishing: The Long Routes by Robin Ashcroft
Rockfax Guide: Northern Limestone: Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire by Mark Glaister
Rockfax Guide: Lakes Bouldering by Jonathan Lagoe and Andy Hyslop
FRCC and Cicerone Guide: Lake District Winter Climbs by Brian Davison
Rockfax Guide: New Dollywagon by Andy Hyslop and Jonathan Lagoe (winter routes)
Hiking, Climbing and Mountaineering Organisations and Companies
Maps and Guidebooks
Wildlife and Conservation