About the Cumbria Way

The route was originally pioneered by local Cumbrian groups of the Ramblers Association during the 1970’s with the waymarking of the route completed by volunteers and national park staff. The Ramblers are recognised as the ‘Responsible Organisation’ for the Cumbria Way by the authorities. These include the Lake District National Park, Cumbria County Council and Ordnance Survey. The Ramblers are therefore responsible for defining the route and  inspecting the route with regard to obstructions, ease of use etc.

The Cumbria Way was devised to give the walker a flavour of Cumbria as a whole rather than just the Lake District even if it does spend most of its time in the Lake District National Park. Each stage offers different terrain, landscapes and a totally different view and feeling for the countryside it passes through.

Route Summary

Most of the walking is on established paths with only 2 major ascents on the whole route. The Cumbria Way should be achievable by most fit walkers over the course of 5 days or even a week. You could even factor in a couple of days for sightseeing or relaxing along the way. If circumstances don’t allow a full week then split the route into sections and treat them as day walks.

Although classed as a ‘long distance footpath’ the route is at the lower end of the long-distance walking spectrum but stuffed into these 70 odd miles are some of the most varied terrain and stunning scenery to be found anywhere in the British isles.

Route Stages

Using Google Maps I have drawn the full length of the route and split it into 5 day stages plus the low-level alternative route between Skiddaw House and Caldbeck. Click on the map to open a large version of the Cumbria Way route.

Click map to load full page version of Cumbria Way route map

Route Stages

Day 1 starts in the market town of Ulverston overlooking Morecambe Bay. The route threads its way over gentle, rolling farmland and moorland before arriving at the shores of Coniston and the Lake District proper.

Day 2 sees you leave Coniston and head to the famous ‘chocolate box’ beauty spot of Tarn Hows. A series of riverside walks, another tarn and waterfalls keep you company on the way to Elterwater. After Elterwater the majestic Langdale Pikes pull you towards them via Chapel Stile and Great Langdale valley.

Day 3 offers the wild and rugged valleys of Mickleden and Langstrath separated by the steep ascent of Stake Pass. This is fantastic fell walking in magnificent, remote surroundings. After your exertions you visit the small village of Rosthwaite and a chance for refreshments. A glorious, wooded trail through Borrowdale then leads you close to Grange and eventually bringing you out on the shores of Derwentwater and a gentle stroll to Keswick.

Day 4 sees you leave the hustle and bustle of Keswick behind you. After ascending the flanks of Latrigg and Lonscale Fell the route brings you out at the superbly situated Skiddaw House. From here a remote walk leads you through valleys, alongside becks and then an ascent of Grainsgill Beck. Lingy Hut is next on your route and an excellent place for a butty stop, rest or just shelter from the elements. The climb up to High Pike and then a descent to the village of Caldbeck ends your day.

Day 5 and your final day, is over fields and tracks and is an easy level walk. The route from Caldbeck into Carlisle starts through delightful, pastoral scenery and alongside the River Caldew. Arriving at Dalston with the Caldew still at your side, take the opportunity of enjoying a cuppa and some cake. From Dalston follow the wanderings of the River Caldew as it leads you to your journeys end at Carlisle.

Photography credits

I am especially grateful to David Harrison for the use of his excellent photos. The fact that he almost seemed to make a special trip to take some of them was appreciated – cheers Haz.

Many thanks are also due to to the following for generously allowing the use of their photos on the site.
Dave and Angie Walsh – www.masarnenramblers.com
Roger Hiley – www.loweswatercam.co.uk
Neil Lockier – www.neilshealthymeals.com
Iain Jones – http://hiking.topicwise.com/doc/cumbriaway2014
Sean McMahon – www.stridingedge.net
Dave Brown – www.wainwright-wanderings.co.uk
Gary Richardson – www.mountainsandsky.co.uk
Darcy Moore – www.darcymoore.net
Ben Barden – www.cumbriaphoto.co.uk
Michael Elcock – www.whitecottage.org/cumbriaway.html
Photo credits are due also to John Maher, Andy Malcolm and Malcolm Furnass

Finally, I have had the pleasure to walk the Cumbria Way with great friends, either joining me for its entirety or just a stage at a time so thanks to Mick, Mally, Don and Lindsay for your company on multi-days spent walking through the Cumbrian scenery. To Kevin, Martin, Jenny, Sharon et al who joined me for sections of the walk and, as always proved excellent walking companions, thank you for your company, the lifts between stages, the lengthy discussions, the missed turnings and the evenings spent over a beer or three! Heres to many more