Five outstanding walks in the Lake District

Take a look at these circular walks in the north-eastern area of the Lake District National Park. They are all between 7 and 9 miles long and will take 4½ to 5½ hours to complete. The walks include visits to some of the region’s most beautiful places such as Dockray, Aira Force, Brothers Water, Hart Crag, Patterdale, Hartsop and Hayeswater.

The north-eastern area of the Lake District National Park

One Ordnance Survey map covers these superb Lake District routes

The best map to use is the Ordnance Survey map of the Lake District North-Eastern Area, reference OS Explorer OL5, scale 1:25,000. It clearly displays footpaths, rights of way, open access land and vegetation on the ground, making it ideal for walking, running and hiking. The map can be purchased from Amazon in either a standard, paper version or a weatherproof, laminated version, as shown below.

RECOMMENDED MAP
Standard Ordnance Survey map of the Lake District North-Eastern Area, reference OS Explorer OL5, scale 1:25,000.
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RECOMMENDED MAP
Weatherproof Active Ordnance Survey map of the Lake District North-Eastern Area, reference OS Explorer OL5, scale 1:25,000.
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Walk 1 – Dockray and Aira Force

East from the village of Dockray to the summit of Gowbarrow Fell, then around the eastern and southern slopes of Gowbarrow Park to reach Aira Force. South-west in the direction of Brown Hills and Swineside Knott, followed by a north-easterly crossing of Watermillock Common back to Dockray. A 7-mile walk in the Lake District.

Triangulation pillar on Gowbarrow Fell summit
Ullswater backed by Low Birk Fell and Birk Fell
Aira Force

Walk 2 – Brothers Water and Hart Crag

North from the Cow Bridge car park near Hartsop and Brothers Water for about half a mile, then south-west and an immediate climb through Low Wood. Further south-west and continuing upwards all the way to the summit of Hart Crag, via Bleaberry Knott, Gale Crag, Hoggill Brow and Hartsop above How. South-east to Dove Crag and onwards to meet the Scandale Pass public footpath, before heading north-east down through the Caiston Glen valley between High Hartsop Dodd and Middle Dodd. Lastly north to Hartsop Hall, roughly following the course of Kirkstone Beck, then along the western shores of Brothers Water back to the starting point. An 8-mile walk in the Lake District.

Crossing Hartsop above How with Hart Crag directly ahead
Superb views from the summit of Hart Crag
The route through Caiston Glen alongside Caiston Beck

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Aquapac Kaituna waterproof map case, reference 808. Ideal for keeping Ordnance Survey maps clean, dry and always at hand.
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Walk 3 – Patterdale and Place Fell

East from Patterdale to Boredale Hause followed by a climb in a northerly direction to the summit of Place Fell. North-east across the fell to Low Moss then downhill to Bield before turning north and heading towards Sandwick. The return is by way of the Ullswater Way, a popular footpath which skirts the shores of Ullswater beneath the steep western slopes of Place Fell. A 9-mile walk in the Lake District.

Triangulation pillar on Place Fell summit
Outstanding views of Ullswater and the surrounding landscape
Glenridding nestled beneath the tree-covered flanks of Glenridding Dodd

Walk 4 – Hartsop and Hayeswater

South from the Cow Bridge car park near Hartsop along the A592 to Sykeside, then south-east and a steep climb up to John Bell’s Banner on Cauldale Moor. East via the summit of Stony Cove Pike to reach the Beacon which marks the top of Thornthwaite Crag. North-east then north along the High Street ridge to The Knott and finally west past Hayeswater and alongside Hayeswater Gill back to Hartsop and the car park. A 9-mile walk in the Lake District.

Hayeswater as seen from Racecourse Hill
Riggindale Beck valley and the southern extent of Haweswater Reservoir
The dry stone wall leading directly to the summit of High Street

RECOMMENDED HEAD TORCH
Nebo Einstein 400 USB rechargeable head torch with dual light sources. Perfect for walking in the dark. Compact, lightweight and water resistant. Up to eight hours of use between charges.
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Walk 5 – Patterdale and Fairfield

South-west from Patterdale to Fairfield via St Sunday Crag, then south-east to Hart Crag. North-east across Hartsop above How to Bridgend, and north back to the starting point on the A592 footpath. A 9-mile walk in the Lake District.

Superb views from the summit of St Sunday Crag
Grisedale Tarn at the head of the Grisedale valley
The route across Bleaberry Knot back to Patterdale

Look at these walking guides

Three very good paperbacks from the Amazon Cicerone store. There are many others to choose from. Although I make up my own walking routes, I regularly look at these guides for inspiration.

RECOMMENDED WALKING GUIDEBOOK
Walking in the Yorkshire Dales. North and East Walks. Howgills, Mallerstang, Swaledale, Wensleydale, Coverdale and Nidderdale.
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RECOMMENDED WALKING GUIDEBOOK
Walking in the Yorkshire Dales. South and West Walks. Wharfedale, Littondale, Malhamdale, Dentdale and Ribblesdale.
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RECOMMENDED WALKING GUIDEBOOK
The North York Moors. 50 walks in the North York Moors National Park. Includes the Lyke Wake Walk.
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