Today – Scenic Winter Walks to Enjoy This Christmas in Cumbria
It can be difficult to unwind during the lead up to Christmas. From buying gifts to getting the fridge stocked and ready for the big day, the ‘to-do’ list feels never ending! Taking a much-needed break from the festive frenzy can be a blessing, and while you might be tempted to stay indoors and recoup, a winter walk could be the perfect way to re-energize. The whole family can get involved! Simply wrap up in plenty of layers and make the most of the frosty mornings in the stunning Lake District with these scenic walking routes.
The Old Man of Coniston
This 2,634 ft mountain will put your stamina to the test, but the panoramic views are worth it! Start your walk at either the Scout Scar car park or the school in Coniston, and you’ll begin on relatively easy terrain, but this does become more challenging as you get further up. You’ll have an unrivalled birds eye view of the surrounding area, looking down onto the sleepy village of Coniston.
On a perfectly clear day, you’ll also see glimpses in the distant of the Irish Sea and Morcombe Bay. It’s a breath-taking route and depending on the route you take you could be walking for up to six miles, so after you’ve tackled the decent, be sure to stop off for a pint of the local ale or a much-deserved coffee. For dog friendly pubs, Coniston is a hotspot so your furry friends will be catered to.
Haweswater was originally a natural lake, but the incredible beauty spot is now a reservoir valley after a dam was installed following the flood of 1935. This spot is off the beaten track, so you’ll be guaranteed peace and quiet tucked away in the valley of Mardale — you can access Haweswater from a single track road from the village of Bampton near Shap. There’re ruins of what was once a village beneath the water and in drought season they become visible — but in winter, they’re likely to be encased below the icy depths.
If you’re keen to walk around the reservoir then you’ll cover around 10 miles. A good starting point is Mardale Head. Old Roman roads are nestled throughout the area, making it a notably historic spot. The car park towards the south of Mardale Head will fill up quickly, so arriving early is advisable! This is a relatively easy route with a few challenges, but if you do fancy pushing your limits then head towards High Raise and take on the summit.
Dodd Wood and Fell/Skiddaw
Dodd Fell might not be up there with the highest of summits in the Lake District, but at a humble 500m above sea level it is still a lengthy trek at five miles, taking between three-four hours to complete. If you’re looking for a walk that child-friendly, Dodd Fell is a great option (it’s also suitable for multi-terrain prams!).
If you choose to tackle the climb on Christmas Eve then you won’t have to worry about any restless little ones when it comes to putting the presents under the tree — they’ll use up all their energy for the walk! There’s also baby changing facilities in the toilets, with onsite light refreshments too. Dodd is extremely accessible, near Keswick and the close-by M6. Once you reach the top, you’ll be able to look out over Bassenthwaite Lake, with the Helvellyn range, the Derwent fells and Whinlatter Forest all visible depending on your spot.