Several Cumbrian businesses and charities are promoting the Drive Less See More campaign this year, encouraging visitors to self catering Lake District cottages to explore what is in the doorstep and leave the car at their accommodation.
Here is a list of our top five ways to see the Lake District and Eden Valley without using your car.
A Ratty walk
Wainwright wrote a small book called Walk’s from Ratty. It was published in the late 70’s and if you can find a copy then make sure you buy it. It features 12 brilliant walks from the different train stations, complete with his usual illustrations. The walks allow you to enjoy a ride on the Ratty and a scenic walk in beautiful Eskdale. One of my favourites is the walk from Irton Road over Muncaster Fell.
Keswick to Grasmere
Keswick to Grasmere I hear you say? Yes it is entirely feasible, using two buses!
There are two ways to go about this walk, depending on your preference and where you are staying.
First check the bus timetable, you need to work backwards from the time of the second bus. Drive your car down to Langstrath and park up for the day. Make sure you have allowed enough time to catch the Borrowdale Rambler back into Keswick and hop on the 555 to Grasmere (both buses arrive and depart in of Booths). Get off in Grasmere village and begin your walk. When you get back to Borrowdale, your car will be waiting for you and you can just set off for home. You can also reverse these steps and park up in Grasmere and take the bus round to Borrowdale. Both are great walks.
To start the walk from Grasmere, leave the village and walk up the Easdale Road. A well trodden path leaves the road towards Easdale Tarn. At the tarn you may need to call on your navigational skills to reach the top of High Raise. The path continues upwards but the plateau above the tarn can be confusing so make sure you take a map and compass.
From the summit of High Raise, descend along Greenup Edge towards the col and the bear left alongside Greenup Gill and into the far reaches of the Borrowdale valley. It is now a case of following the path to Stonethwaite and your car. The Langstrath Inn is a good stop for post walk refreshment but doesn’t open on a Monday. The walk is easily reversed and navigationally easier from Borrowdale to Grasmere.
Honister Rambler to Buttermere
The trouble (if there is such a thing) about living in the Lake District is the sheer abundance of great walks right on my doorstep. The choice can be mind boggling sometimes. Whenever I find myself struggling to make a decision, I usually head to the bus stop to catch the Honister Rambler to Crummock Water.
My undoubted favourite walk from the Honister Rambler is to jump off at Cinderdale Common (ask the driver to drop you off just after the cattle grid) and climb Whiteside. The ridge to Hopegill Head and Grisedale Pike is stunning.
The walk finishes in Braithwaite via Grisedale Pike or Coledale valley. From Braithwaite you can march the last two miles back to Keswick or catch the regular Cockermouth-Keswick bus from the village.
I have walked several interesting routes using the Ullswater Steamers. Sometimes the simple ones are the best, and a modest little walk along the shore is just heavenly. Click here for some great walks from the Ullswater Steamers.
The Steam Railway
The Carlisle to Settle line runs through the Eden Valley and is often referred to as the most scenic line in the country. There are several stations in the Eden Valley making it perfect for hopping off to explore the countryside and villages. Or you could just stay on the train and enjoy the view – the three peaks of Yorkshire, beautiful Eden Valley sandstone and the Lake District fells around Haweswater and Ullswater.