Lake District Explorer: Tour 1
This route starts in Windermere valley, driving up to the picturesque village of Troutbeck before winding through rugged mountain scenery, up and up to the Kirkstone Pass, an ancient thoroughfare at nearly 1500 feet above sea level.
The road then drops just as dramatically to the Hartsop valley floor then skirts the mirror-like Brothers water. You can walk it’s opposite bank through some of the oldest trees in the county or carry on to its bigger brother, the tranquil Ullswater, stated as the finest of all the lakes by William Wordsworth.
Either glide across the lake on the oldest passenger vessel on the planet or downsize to a canoe or two.
Follow the water's edge to Aira Force, a magical waterfall in idyllic surroundings then on to Castlerigg stone circle, arguably the most dramatically located megalithic monument in the land. Nearby is St Johns-in-the-Vale chapel and holy spring, hugging the edge of a classic U-shaped valley.
A short but steep climb gives panoramic views of the legendary peaks of Blencathra and Hellvelyn, both of which can be climbed from the loop, and your next destination: the Thirlmere valley. Skirting the waters edge, you rise up to pass Dunmeil Raise, said to cover the bones of the last Celtic King of Cumbria, before descending down into the jewel in the Cumbrian crown: Grasmere. There you can visit Wordsworth’s homes of Dove Cottage and Allan Bank.
Although everywhere you go in the Lakes you are surrounded by extreme beauty it’s hard to beat a gentle walk through the Easedale valley. Follow a delightful little river up to a rugged mountain waterfall then onwards and upwards to Easedale Tarn. Then back to the car to your journey's end in Ambleside for some well-earned sustenance.
You might just want to do it all over again!