Lakes Explorer

The ‘Lakes Explorer’ offers a variety of self-guided walks over five days in the lesser-visited North and Western sectors of the Lake District. From a single base in Keswick and using private transfers, you will have access to some of the best walks that the Lake District has to offer. Your accommodation will be in a comfortable guest house in the heart of Keswick on bed and breakfast basis. Rooms will be en-suite or with private bathroom. Included in the holiday package are all required transfers to or from the day's walk and an information pack containing relevant maps, our own weather-proof route cards, and details of local facilities for eating out, where to shop, and what to do in town. On two of the walking days you will have the choice between a moderate walking route and a more demanding option, including Wainwright summits. The start of both options for the day will be the same so you can mix and match and simply decide which one to follow depending on how you feel when you get up! There is also an option (at additional cost) to tackle Scafell Pike, England's highest peak.

Prices are per person based on twin share and include all accommodation in twin share rooms on bed & breakfast basis, luggage transfer, information pack including maps, route cards, and our emergency contact.

Single rooms are available. We only apply a supplement for single accommodation when there is a direct cost to us and we cap this in line with our ‘Fair pricing’ policy. Solo walkers pay a supplement of £8 per walking day, plus any single room supplement which may be required.

Itinerary

We can arrange a pre-paid taxi to collect you from Penrith Railway Station. After check in, take a stroll down to the Lake or explore the town.
Moderate: The ‘warm up’ walk for the trip will take you first up to Castlerigg where you encounter one of the most important and oldest British stone circles, thought to have been constructed about 3000 BC. From here. you follow a quiet country lane and farm tracks, to reach Springs Wood on the outskirts of Keswick. A trail leads from Springs Wood to the summit of the 162-metre hill of Castle Head which overlooks the town. From the top you get a full length view of Derwentwater, encircled by mountains. A cairn topped with brass a ‘sighting’ dial gives the name of 30 fells which can be seen from this viewpoint. A descent from the summit leads past the lake shore back to your accommodation. 7.5 miles. 360m ascent.
There are two options for today’s walk. Both start with a transfer by private vehicle to the summit of Honister Pass, which links Borrowdale to Buttermere and is one of the highest road passes in England. It is also the site of the country’s last working slate mine. Westmorland ‘green’ slate has been quarried in the area since 1728 and today, as well as continuing the extraction of this stone, Honister Slate Mine has become a popular tourist attraction, providing underground tours of the workings. It also boasts England's first ‘via ferrata’.

Option A (moderate)
From the top of the pass, the original mine road, now mostly a gravel or grassy path, descends into the Borrowdale Valley, gradually moving away from the modern-day motor road. The trail crosses the flanks of High Spy, where you have the option to make the short but steep ascent to Castle Crag for sensational views. There is an opportunity for refreshment at one of the small cafes in the tiny hamlet of Grange before continuing on a green trail along the footing of Catbells and, finally, along Cumbria Way right into Keswick. 9 miles. 500m ascent.
Option B (demanding)
Directly from the top of the pass, you climb the slopes of Dale Head to reach its prominent summit cairn at 753m. Here you are rewarded with an impressive view down into the hidden Newlands Valley, as well as the fells of Buttermere and the Scafell group. After descending to Dalehead Tarn you then climb to High Spy and from here, follow an undulating ridge with spectacular lake views, crossing Maiden Moor and over Catbells, before descending to Derwent Bay where you pick up the Cumbria Way and follow this back to Keswick as for the moderate option. 8.5 miles. 770m ascent.
Moderate: For the keen walker, no visit to Keswick is complete without a circuit of Derwentwater, the Lake District’s third largest lake by area. This is a delightfully varied walk which takes you through mixed woodland, across shingle beaches and (via a series of raised boardwalks) over marshland teeming with wildlife. Along the way there are options to take refreshments, admire sculptures and ancient stones, visit the place where Beatrix Potter spent her childhood Summers, and all with the spectacular backdrop of the Northern fells. It can be walked in 3.5 to 4 hours but best done over a leisurely full day. 9 miles with small ascent.
The mountain that dominates the Keswick skyline is Skiddaw. Ranking as England’s 4th highest peak, Skiddaw is a sprawling fell about which Wainwright wrote “The summit is buttressed magnificently by a circle of lesser heights, the whole forming a splendid and complete example of the structure of mountains”. Due to its relative isolation from other fells it also provides a particularly good viewpoint for the peaks of the North, East and Western Lakes. You can choose from two options.

Option A (moderate/challenging)
The most popular route to Skiddaw's long summit ridge is via the Jenkin Hill Path. Established as a pony route for Victorian tourists when the railway first arrived in Keswick, the path is an excellent route, easy to follow and is suitable for all levels of walkers. There is the option on the ascent or descent to take in the secondary summit of Skiddaw Little Man. 11 miles. 900m ascent.
Option B (very demanding)
A quieter and simply delightful route to Skiddaw’s summit first climbs beside the Glenderaterra Beck to the lonely Skiddaw House. Once a gamekeeper’s cottage and now one of England’s most remote youth hostels, it welcomes wayfarers throughout the year. From the back of the hostel, an old hunting trod ascends Sale How to reach the long summit ridge of Skiddaw. After visiting the summit, you will return along the Jenkin Hill Path back into Keswick. 13 miles.1100m ascent.

Both the above options can be shortened by driving (e.g. taxi) to the car park on Latrigg. For either route, this reduces the day by approximately two and one third miles and the total ascent by 250 metres.

Moderate: For the final days walk, this trail takes you across the tops of Walla and Falcon Crags which together form the skyline top of the bounding eastern ridge above Derwentwater. You will visit the picturesque Ashness Bridge, one of the most photogenic spots in this part of the Lake District, before returning to Keswick on a lesser-known trail below the crags to Great Wood and then via Calfclose Bay and Friars Crag to the famous Theatre-by-the-Lake. 6.75 miles. 490m ascent.

If you need to stay an extra night in Keswick, let us know when you book and we will arrange this for you for an additional charge of £65 per person (based on twin-share).

Option (very demanding)
Keswick is also a suitable base for an ascent of Scafell Pike, England's highest Peak. This option (which is harder than any of the above walks) can be substituted on any of the main walking days with advance notice. There is an extra charge of £40 in total for up to 2 persons for this option to cover the additional transfers, map and route cards required.
8 miles. 3200ft ascent / descent.

The price includes:

  • Accommodation in twin/double rooms (with ensuite or private bathroom) in a guest house, inn or hotel in Keswick
  • All breakfasts
  • Private transfers to the start of the day's walk (where required)
  • A Wandering Aengus information pack containing all necessary maps and route cards, plus 'info sheets' with local information - including locations and opening times of restaurants, cafes, ATMs, supermarkets etc.
  • Our emergency contact number

Not included:

  • Lunches and evening meals (we provide full details of your options)
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses such as drinks etc.

Our Accommodation:

As keen walkers ourselves we appreciate the importance of the place you put your feet up and rest your head in at the end of your day's walk. Your accommodation for this holiday is a comfortable hotel or guest house in the heart of Keswick. Wandering Aengus Treks are based in the Lake District close to Keswick and we know the accommodation options in the town very well. All our accommodation has en-suite bathrooms for twin or double share. Single occupancy of rooms is also available for a supplementary cost.

Meals:

Breakfasts are provided by your accommodation. Keswick has many excellent restaurants and pubs and our extensive notes will help you choose the best place to suit your taste and budget for your evening meal. For lunch your accommodation will be able to prepare a packed lunch for you if ordered the evening before. There are also several sandwich bars in the town and several supermarkets.

The nearest railway station is at Penrith on the main North-West rail link between London and Glasgow. From Penrith there are taxis and a regular bus service to Keswick - a journey of 16 miles.

Here are some 3rd party websites with useful information to help plan your holiday to the Lake District.

The Lake District National Park website is a mine of information and here you can also download a range of maps and leaflets to local attractions.

'Go Lakes' is the official website for Cumbria Tourism and provides up-to-the-minute information on events as well as insight guides to the different areas that make up the Lake District.

The Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) provides weather analysis and forecasts specifically aimed at mountaineers and walkers. Download 3 day forecasts for specific regions including the Lake District.

Cumbria County Council conveniently gathers all Lake District bus timetables onto a single searchable page

Mike Brockhurst's Walking Englishman website is a free walking resource which provides information on numerous walking routes. Here you can find a list of Englands's highest peaks.

Use thetrainline.com to find cheap fares to the Lake District rail access towns of Windermere and Penrith.

Book this Holiday

Lakeland Walker map
The charming and lively town of Keswick is known as the ‘Outdoor Capital of England’ and is the perfect base for exploring the North and Western Lake District. The town is within easy reach of Penrith on the main West Coast rail link between London and Glasgow. On this holiday you can choose from a variety of route options, ranging from moderate walks to challenging hikes, including several of the Wainwright summits accessible from Keswick. We provide route cards and large-scale 'Ordnance Survey' maps to get you on the best walks and make navigation easy, so you can relax and enjoy your exploration of this simply spectacualr corner of England's premier National Park.