Having lived, worked and traveled Australia for the last 6 years, we were excited to get back exploring the beautiful national parks of the U.K. Our favourite has always been the Lake District. Snow had fallen across the area and we excitedly set off in search of some great winter walking and open fires. We took the scenic route over the Hartside Pass testing out our new Landrover Discovery Sport. The OS maps you require for all four walks are are on these maps.
We based ourselves in Rydal staying at Glen Rothay, a beautiful B&B with great access onto the Fairfield Horseshoe. They had lovely open fires, nicely decorated rooms and good pub food. Our only complaint was the breakfast room was freezing, even the staff were wrapped up warm in fleeces.
Walk 1: HIGH SWEEDN BRIDGE
This is a favourite short walk of ours in all weathers and seasons. Arriving at lunch time in the Lakes we parked in Ambleside, had some lovely home-made soup from the cozy Rattle Ghyll Cafe.
We then headed up the Kirkstone Road and walked along the path which runs parallel with Scandale Beck and dropping down onto High Sweden Bridge.
We then crossed over the stile and headed back down the path through the farm and back into Ambleside for a spot of shopping. Ambleside is a beautiful town with lots of great outdoor shops.
WALK 2: FAIRFIELD HORSESHOE
We set off straight after breakfast to make the most of the daylight, walking on the path behind the B&B and through Dora’s Field. The route then took us up a short section of quiet road, passing Rydal Hall and Wordsworth’s Cottage, before joining the footpath on the right to the bottom of Nab Scar. As we started our zig zagging climb, we had lovely views of Rydal Water and Windermere. The snow started to get a little deeper sumitting Heron Pike and Great Rigg.
On our route up we saw lots of friendly wildlife
Arriving at the summit the of Fairfield the skies began to darken, creating dramatic clouds. From here we had reached the furthest point and started our route down the other side of the valley.
With the temperatures dropping and the snow becoming more solid, the descent down from the summit was a little more tricky on the steeper parts. There were some great areas where the snow had drifted and we were knee high in snow. We then hiked over Hart Crag, Dove Crag and Low Pike following the beautiful stone wall.
There was one section of the hike where we had to find the best route down a steep rocky section. This was Richard at the point of..”oh maybe not this way as there was a bit of a drop” we found an easy scramble down.
After this section it was a lovely walk back into Rydal, we found a path that cut across into Rydal Hall, where we stopped for a coffee and a warm up. There were lots of highland cows on the lower sections which were very cute.
This was a lovely winter walk. We didn’t need crampons or an ice axe, but had the conditions been colder and with more snow, we wouldn’t have attempted this without them (ours were still in a container on the sea coming back from Australia!)
WALK 3: GRASMERE & RYDAL WATER
The following day was a horrible wet day and also my 40th Birthday. Not to be put off by the weather, we did the Coffin route from Rydal to Grasmere had drinks at the Heaton Cooper Studio popped into the famous gingerbread shop and returned along Rydal Water.
Next stop was my birthday treat a stunning night at The Samling with hot tubs, beautiful dinners and champagne.
WALK 4: TOWNSEND
After breakfast and before heading home we did our final walk in this beautiful area out the back of the Samling and across the fields to Townsend. We picked up a leaflet from the hotel and set off, taking the route back via Netherside wood and not doing the detour to Stagshaw Gardens as they were shut.
The journey home was beautiful too…..
A perfect birthday weekend……Thank you Rich