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Reach the Peaks from your Front Door

The fitness benefits of a puff-inducing mountain walk is are  without doubt. The gear is pretty great too. But, there’s the other benefits as well. These walks take focus, there’s varied terrain and adrenaline-pumping ridges, not to mention making sure you’re on the right route. Rightly so, the sense of achievement and escapism that only a summit walk can give is truly wonderful. And this spiritual boost is easier to achieve than you may think. Here we bring you our favourite peaks in the heart of the Lake District right from your front door.

 

Helvellyn

Our first peak from your doorstep is a mighty and mystical one. The 950m tall Helvellyn holds several titles; England’s third highest peak and home to the most exhilarating ridge walk in the Lakes being two of them. Lying north of Ambleside, between the lakes of Thirlmere and Ullswater, Helvellyn is more accessible than the taller counterparts, and so it is unsurprising that Helvellyn also holds the title of ‘Britain’s Favourite Walk’.

Helvellyn’s close proximity to Ullswater, the second largest lake in the region, makes this peak all the more coveted, with walkers often starting with a steam cruise to the pier at Glenridding. It is from this village where the most popular ascent begins, taking in the famous long ridges of Striding Edge and Squirrels Ridge. With the summit of Helvellyn visible up ahead when on Striding Edge and crags falling breathtakingly down to Red Tarn, this summit is an exhilarating experience like no-other.

In clear conditions, from the flat plateau summit, we are rewarded with views across most of the Lake District, including Coniston Old Man, the Langdale Pikes, Great Gable, Blencathra and the tall peaks of Scafell Pike and Skiddaw. Returning down via Squirrels Edge, there’s little time for conversation but the thought of a rewarding refreshment at The Travellers Rest or famous Glenridding Hotel before returning to Ambleside over Kirkstone Pass is encouragement enough.

Skiddaw

Lying on the northernmost part of the main artery passing through the heart of the Lake District, the A591, the Skiddaw range is easily accessible from the likes of Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere. Skiddaw is the second highest peak in England and unusually lies in an isolated position, in a truly commanding spot in the North Lakes.

Skiddaw’s great height (931 meters) and being set apart from neighbouring peaks gives uninterrupted views of the rest of the Lake District throughout this summit walk. This is a true peak right on your doorstep as Skiddaw’s summit can be seen from the town of Keswick below and there are not other smaller peaks to climb to get to the top. Less craggy and perhaps dramatic than others, but the wide paths of the popular Jenkin Hill route make for an extremely easy and accessible route up one of the highest mountains in England, where the views are arguably the best in the Lakes. 

Peaks from the doorstep of cottages in Keswick and the North Lakes.

Bowfell

This pyramid shaped fell lies west of Ambleside in the Central Fells, in the very heart of the Lake District. The ‘king’ of the Langdale valley, Bowfell rises to 902m and is the most easily accessible peak in the famous Scafell Range - England’s tallest. All of the Lake District’s major mountain ranges can be seen from the superb vantage point on the summit of Bowfell, making it one of the most popular walks for drinking up Lake District scenery. Bowfell’s unique shape, easily recognisable from miles around, not only connects walkers with the horseshoe of the Southern Fells, but to the east Bowfell connects with the Central Fells via Rossett Crag, widening this peak’s appeal further.

As well as the generous views to the best peaks in the Lake District, a walk up Bowfell also takes in some of the Lake District’s famous landmarks, including Three Tarns, The Bad, Crinkle Crags and Angle Tarn.

Peaks from the doorstep of cottages in the Langdale valleys.

Great Gable

This 899m high peak also lies in the very heart of the Lake District peaks, but being separated out from the Scafell range by Wastwater valley, Great Gable gives the best view of England’s tallest peak, Scafell Pike, making it a coveted spot. 

Great Gable is literally surrounded by some of the wildest and most famous scenery in the Lake District and offers several routes to the summit, giving her the well-deserved title as a Lake District classic. Getting to Great Gable from Ambleside, you experience one of the most thrilling roads in the Lake District, Wrynose Pass. This leads to Wastwater valley and the less than 1 ½ mile ascent from here certainly gets the lungs going but makes standing on one of the tallest and most central peaks in the Lake District very accessible. Another popular route to Great Gable’s famous view of the Scafell range is from Borrowdale via Keswick.

Peaks from the doorstep of cottages in Keswick and the North Lakes.

Coniston Old Man

Coniston Old Man dominates the village of Coniston and although it is less than 2 miles from the village centre, the Old Man offers 803 meters of climbing. Coniston itself is a stone's throw from central locations, such as Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere and the Old Man is ideal for newcomers. 

The popular circular route up Coniston Old Man brings walkers back along Coniston Water - the perfect mix of mountain walking and a lakeshore stroll. Coniston Old Man’s rich industrial history and easy path, talking walkers in a leisurely zig-zag fashion to the Old Man's summit, gives this peak stacks of appeal. Groups can comfortably walk together at a talking pace, with the copper mine and slate quarry remains providing lots of places to rest, making for a very sociable peak that is reassuring close to a pint of Bluebird Bitter!

Peaks from the doorstep of cottages in Hawkshead and Coniston.

Langdale Pikes

This series of three rocky peaks (pikes) in the Langdale valley is the most iconic skyline in the Lake District. The Langdale valley runs west out of Ambleside and splits into two, Great Langdale and Little Langdale. Great Langdale is where the eyes are drawn skyward and it is here that the Langdale pikes of Harrison Stickle, Pike of Stickle and Loft Crag lie. It is their close proximity to one another and also the summit’s close proximity to the valley floor (less than a mile) that makes the Langdale Pikes so thrilling.
With 772 meters of climbing, the Langdale Pikes offer a walking experience where the walk is just as satisfying as the view. This walk can start from a bus in Ambleside and almost immediately from beginning the hike up Stickle Ghyll, a hands-on approach is needed. The Langdale Pikes are packed with iconic Lakeland features, like ghylls, tarns and boulders and their convenience means they can be enjoyed in whatever size walks you like, from bite-sized chunks to a day-long trek.

Peaks from the doorstep of cottages in the Langdale valleys.

Discover our cottages with walks from the door in the heart of the Lake District

For us here at Heart of the Lakes, reaching the peaks of the Lake District is the perfect way to recconect with mountains. And if you're wanting to explore all of the 7 wonders of the Lake District, and find out how you can recconect with Water, Communities, Literacy and whole lot more, then click here to read more >>>  7 Wonders of the Lake District.