Possible Route additions

Route additions to enhance your Cumbria Way Trip

This page has been put together to list a selection of relatively easy to incorporate optional route diversions along the Cumbria Way to visit features not officially on the Cumbria Way route. One of these route options will add up to 4 miles and some extra ascent to your trip whilst others are very minor diversions. 

This page only offers very basic details of any extra route additions and is supplemented by basic online mapping showing the approximate route of any detours. Please note that not all of these diversions are fully covered on the Cumbria Way strip maps and it is highly recommended that you go armed with any extra maps you may need to cover the full area of any route detour.

If you want to incorporate more fell tops in to your trip then take a look at John Gillham’s guidebook ‘Walking The Cumbria Way’ which has some high level mountain routes to incorporate into your Cumbria Way walk if you want to make your trip more fell top based?

Visit Beacon Fell

The normal route leads you via the western shore of Beacon Tarn but for stunning views why not visit the summit of Beacon Fell? As you reach the outflow at the southern end of the tarn keep right on to the eastern side of the tarn and follow the undulating path as it rises to the summit at 836ft / 255meters. To get back to the Cumbria Way keep heading north and follow the path down from the summit to rejoin the official route on a minor road.

Tarn Hows alternative route

After leaving the road and joining the path leading to Tarn Hows the official Cumbria Way route carries straight on and follows the western side of the tarn. If you have the time and energy then why not consider taking the slightly longer (approx. 0.5 miles) option to see more of the tarn?

If so then when you reach the tarn, take the obvious broad path on your right and follow the path around the tarn anticlockwise to rejoin The Cumbria Way at an obvious junction under the slopes of Tom Heights on the north west side of the tarn.

Colwith Force

Visiting Colwith Force means only a very small addition to your mileage of a few hundred yards and is highly recommended. The path to Colwith Force leaves the Cumbria Way on the left almost as soon as you enter High Park Coppice dropping down through the woods towards the river. After viewing the waterfall, which is an ideal place for a butty stop, the main route is rejoined just before you meet the road at Colwith Bridge.

Colwith Force © Iain Jones http://hiking.topicwise.com/doc/cumbriaway2014
Colwith Force
© Iain Jones

Easier route to Old Dungeon Ghyll

The Cumbria Way between Stickle Ghyll Car Park and the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel towards the end of day 2 involves a rocky path with an ascent and descent. If you are feeling tired or have sore feet you could be tempted to take a gentle path through fields to The Old Dungeon Ghyll. Whilst not as interesting as the rockier normal path it is a useful energy saver at the end of a long day. You only save a few hundred metres but I much prefer this option and not just because it gets me to the pub quicker!

The Old Dungeon Ghyll at the end of day 2 © Dave Brown
The Old Dungeon Ghyll at the end of day 2
© Dave Brown

Bag a Wainwright via Rossett Pike

If you are feeling energetic and fancy reaching the summit of Rossett Pike ( one of Wainwrights 214 fells and 651 metres / 2136 feet high) then when you reach the large, undidy cairn at the foot of Stake Pass simply carry on and follow the track eastwards to ascend Rossett Gill. At the top of Rossett Gill the summit of Rosset Pike is to your right and slightly behind you. Once you have visited the top and savoured the magnificent views back down Mickleden head west where there is a clear path which brings you out at the top of Stake Pass and the Cumbria Way official route. This is a considerable detour of approx. 3 miles and 150 metres of extra ascent and should not be undertaken lightly nor without a detailed map of the area.

Rossett Pike at the head of Mickleden © Iain Jones http://hiking.topicwise.com/doc/cumbriaway2014
Rossett Pike - pointy protuberance on the left of the photo - at the head of Mickleden
© Iain Jones


After the descent from Langdale Coombe into Langstrath you have a choice of paths on either side of the river. The standard route follows the eastern side of the river but you have the option of crossing the footbridge and taking the flatter path on the western side of the river. The path on the west side of the river is flatter than the main route on the opposite side and involves less climbing but the surface is generally looser underfoot. If you opt for the western path do not forget to cross back over the beck at the footbridge towards the mouth of the valley. The western path is a couple hundred meters longer

The valley of Langstrath © Iain Jones http://hiking.topicwise.com/doc/cumbriaway2014
The valley of Langstrath
© Iain Jones

Rosthwaite Stepping Stones

A couple of hundred yards after passing the Flock Inn Tearooms on the Cumbria Way at Rosthwaite the path swings right towards New Bridge. At this point, in front of you, there are some great stepping stones across the river and as long as the river isn’t in spate and safe to cross then this is a delightful addition to your walk. After safely navigating the stepping stones turn right and follow the clear path alongside the river to rejoin the Cumbria Way at New Bridge. This option will only add a matter of approx. 15 metres to your route and is highly recommended.

The lowest Wainwright - Castle Crag

If you wish to make a small detour to visit the summit of Castle Crag, the lowest of Wainwrights 214 fells and with stunning views of Borrowdale and Derwentwater, leave the Cumbria Way by taking the path forking left through a gate approx 0.25 miles after New Bridge and just before entering High Hows Wood. The path climbs to Castle Crag via grassy paths before gaining the summit on paths created through slate. After pausing to admire the views, you retrace your steps back down the slate paths when you turn right, cross over a ladder stile and descend to a stony track ‘behind’ Castle Crag. Follow this track northwards as it descends to rejoin the Cumbria Way at the absolutely delightful setting of Gowder Dub. This route option adds approx. 0.5 miles and approx. 210 metres to your day.

Millican Daltons Cave

Follow the Cumbria Way through the woods through High Hows Wood and take note when passing large heaps of mine spoil on your left. Shortly after this you rise a short way through trees to a junction just before a gap in the wall and a signpost. Follow the left hand track as it winds uphill, first left then right, until you reach a small level grassy area. You should now be able to see the lower level cave and just to the right of this is the upper level Millican Daltons Cave with the famous inscription Dont Waste Words Jump To Conclusions. To get back on the Cumbria Way simply retrace your steps.

Millican Daltons inscription © Roger Hiley www.loweswatercam.co.uk
Millican Dalton's
inscription 'Dont waste words jump to conclusions'
© Roger Hiley


The Cumbria Way now avoids Grange to keep road walking to a minimum but most walkers tend to enjoy sampling refreshments at the tearooms in the village. After walking on a wide track past Hollows Farm Campsite you reach a junction with the left turn going on via the official route through the farm and the right hand turn taking you to Grange on a quiet lane. Follow this lane into Grange and after enjoying your tea and cake leave Grange by heading west and rejoining the Cumbria Way close to the Borrowdale Gates Hotel. Do not leave Grange via the double arched bridge as this is the opposite direction in which you wish to head.

The village of Grange © Iain Jones http://hiking.topicwise.com/doc/cumbriaway2014
The village of Grange
© Iain Jones


Catbells is an iconic fell known to tens of thousands of non-fellwalkers! It is pretty simple to add into your route although it is not to be taken lightly towards the end of your day. Instead of leaving the short stretch of road walking after Grange on the right to follow the Cumbria Way stay on the road past Cocklety Cow Byre and head up the track soon after on your left. This will lead you uphill to the saddle between Maiden Moor and Catbells. From here turn north and follow the clear path up and over Catbells. On descending from Catbells you eventually meet a road with a hairpin bend, keep this to your left and head down alongside on a small path. You will rejoin the Cumbria Way a short way down here as it leaves a minor road to head through woods. This option means you will miss out on the walk along the shore of Derwentwater and will cost you an extra 0.5 miles and an approx. 300 metres / 1000ft of ascent.

The view from Catbells over Derwentwater and Keswick as you descend Catbells © Roger Hiley www.loweswatercam.co.uk
The view from Catbells over Derwentwater and Keswick as you descend Catbells
© Roger Hiley


Overlooking Keswick, in the shadow of its bigger brother Skiddaw, is Latrigg Fell. The view from the top over looking Derwentwater and Borrowdale is simply stunning. Visiting the summit of Latrigg is a very easy diversion of just under 1 mile with approx. 246ft/75m of ascent. When you reach Gale Road car park after ascending the flanks of Latrigg  instead of turning left towards Whit Beck turn right and ascend the smooth grassy slopes to the summit of Latrigg. Simply retrace your steps to get back to the Cumbria Way.

View from the top of Latrigg © Roger Hiley www.loweswatercam.co.uk
View from the top of Latrigg
© Roger Hiley