Classic Mountain Walks in the Lake District

These guided classic mountain walks in the Lake District involve up to 1000m of ascent and around 7-8 miles of walking. Walking may include rocky terrain and longer steeper slopes. In general, Classic Mountain Walks will last around 6-7 hours. During these walks your qualified Mountain Leader will ensure you stay on the right paths, highlight points of interest, answer your questions and ensure you have an enjoyable and memorable day.

Guided Walking Costs: one-to-one guided walk £180.  Small Groups: 2 persons £100pp, 3 persons £70pp, 4 persons £55pp

When we confirm your guided mountain walk we will send detailed joining instructions and a recommended equipment list.

Coniston Old Man

Start: 9.30

Finish: 16.00

Location: Coniston

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 6.3miles/10.2km

Height Gain: 800m

1 Wainwright: Coniston Old Man (2633ft).

Coniston Old Man rises above Coniston like the Matterhorn towers over Zermatt. The tourist path climbs directly up this benevolent giant but our route tackles this deeply loved character by a much more interesting approach. Following the ‘Walna Scar Road’ – an ancient pack horse route – we climb an easy gradient to the raised moorland of Banishead, before turning in to the heart of the mountain through the stunning corries of ‘The Cove’ and Goat’s Water. Here the towering buttresses and dark gullies of Dove Crag rise from the black water to provide a dramatic mountain landscape. A short climb brings us to Goat’s Hawse before we continue upwards to the summit of Coniston Old Man with its sweeping views.

‘A vast seascape makes a glorious sweep across the southern horizon, ranging from the Pennines to Black Coomb, and, further west to the Isle of Man. A rare beauty is added to the scene by the silver water of the Kent, Leven and Duddon estuaries.’

Alfred Wainwright

After enjoying the magnificent views we descend via the interesting North East ridge past old abandoned quarries, ruined buildings and beautiful Low Water.

During this walk we will enjoy magnificent mountain architecture, have a glimpse into the mountain’s history and see why Coniston Old Man is an intergral part of the valley’s history. The terrain includes mountain paths, rough stony ground and short steep climbs.

Dow Crag photographed from near Goats Water. The picture was taken during an ascent of Coniston Old Man. A classic mountain walk guided by Mountain Explorer.
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Bowfell and Esk Pike

Start: 9.30

Finish: 17.30

Location: Langdale

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 8.5miles/13.7km

Height Gain: 900m

2 Wainwrights: Bowfell (2960ft) and Esk Pike (2903ft)

From the Langdale Valley we climb steadily up the Band, the mountain’s legendary eastern arm, with its magnificient views of the Langdale Pikes, Crinkle Crags and the noble Bowfell to Three Tarns. At Three Tarns we can soak in the mountain views towards Scafell and Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountains – before a short rocky climb brings us to the summit of Bowfell and more stunning mountain views.

‘The rugged summit provides poor picking for the Bowfell sheep, who draw the line at mosses and lichen and look elsewhere for their mountain greenery, and reserves its best for the reward of walkers who climb the natural rocky stairway to its upper limit, for here, spread before them for their delectation, is a glorious panorama, which, moreover, may be surveyed and appreciated from positions of repose on comfortable flat seats of stone with which the summit is liberally equipped.’

Alfred Wainwright

A gentle descent to Ore Gap followed by a rise to Esk Pike brings us to our second summit before we descend via Angle Tarn and Rossett Ghyll.

During this walk we will enjoy magnificent mountain scenery and beautiful far reaching views. The terrain includes mountain paths, rough stony ground and short steep climbs.

 

Mountain activity holidays and short breaks include mountain photography courses and guided mountain photography walks
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Langdale Pikes

Start: 9.30

Finish: 15.00

Location: Langdale

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 4.2miles/6.7km

Height Gain: 710m

4 Wainwrights: Pavey Ark (2288ft), Harrison Stickle (2403ft), Pike O’ Stickle (2323ft) and Loft Crag (2270ft)

The craggy profile of the Langdale Pikes perhaps make this the most recognisable mountain group in the Lake District. However, despite its rocky appearance, this dramatic scenery is not just the preserve of the climber but also provides a selection of adventurous and stunning walks.

‘Within its boundaries is one particular concentration of mountains, crowded into a small space, that, for popular appeal and scenic attractiveness ranks second to none: The Langdale Pikes.’

Alfred Wainwright

Starting from the New Dungeon Ghyll our route follows the tumbling course of Sour Milk Ghyll to Stickle Tarn, nestled below the plunging cliffs of Pavey Ark. From here we take an exciting journey, with stunning views, over four fabulous summits – Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle, Pike O’ Stickle and Loft Crag.

During this walk we will enjoy magnificent mountain scenery and beautiful far reaching views. Your qualified Mountain Leader will ensure you stay on the right paths, highlight points of interest, answer your questions and ensure you have an enjoyable and memorable day.

The terrain includes mountain paths, rough stony ground and short steep climbs.

The Langdale Pikes from the Band. Classic mountain walks in the Lake District. Guided by Mountain Explorer
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Red Screes

Start: 9.30

Finish: 17.00

Location: Ambleside

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 8.5miles/13.7km

Height Gain: 680m

2 Wainwrights: Middle Dodd (2106ft) and Red Screes (2541ft)

Often overlooked in the rush to Fairfield, the graceful Red Screes stands apart from its neighbours. From the summit the panorama is uninterrupted and provides extensive views SW towards Windermere and the Coniston Fells, N over Brothers Water to Ullswater and the fells on either side.

‘The summit is a large grassy plateau, having three principal cairns widely spaced and differing little in altitude. There is no mistaking the highest, a huge mound of stones situated at the extreme corner of the plateau: a dramatic site, for here the ground seems to collapse at one’s feet and plunges steeply down to the winding road far below.’

Alfred Wainwright

From Ambleside we climb steadily up the gentle Scandale valley, past High Sweden Bridge to Scandale Pass. Smallthwaite Band leads to the summit of Middle Dodd. This narrow grassy promenade perched high above the Kirkstone Pass provides a dramatic view over Brothers Water in to Patterdale. From Middle Dodd we follow the N ridge to Red Screes before descending down the long , gentle and scenic S ridge over Snarker Pike back to Ambleside.

During this walk we will enjoy magnificent mountain scenery and beautiful far reaching views. The terrain includes mountain paths and fellside.

 

The view from Red Screes a classice mountain walk in the Lake District. Guided by Mountain Explorer
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Crinkle Crags

Start: 9.30

Finish: 16.30

Location: Langdale

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 7.6miles/12.2km

Height Gain: 760m

2 Wainwrights: Crinkle Crags (2816ft) and Cold Pike (2259ft)

From Langdale we ascend the legendary Band with its view of the Langdale Pikes to the beautifully situated Three Tarns. After soaking in the mountain views we begin our traverse of the dramatic skyline ridge, over Shelter Crags and the five crinkles. Of the ridge Alfred Wainwright said –

‘The ridge is a fell walker’s delight. A constantly changing scene, beautiful and dramatic views, fine situations and an interesting course throughout makes this a walk to remember.’

‘These undulations, seemingly trivial from a distance, are revealed at close range as steep buttresses and gullies above wild declivities, a scene of desolation and rugged grandeur equalled by few others in the district.’

From the last crinkle we continue to the attractive triple summit of Cold Pike before descending via Red Tarn and Brown Howe to the valley.

During this walk we will enjoy magnificent mountain scenery and a complex series of rocky summits. The terrain includes mountain paths, rocky steps, grassy tracks and short easy scrambles.

 

Crinkle Crags and Bowfell a classic mountain walk in the Lake District. Guided by Mountain Explorer
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Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag

Start: 9.30

Finish: 16.30

Location: Grasmere

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 7.6miles/12.7km

Height Gain: 510m

4 Wainwrights: Steel Fell (1811ft), Calf Crag (1762ft), Gibson Knott (1379ft) and Helm Crag (1299ft)

These may not be the highest mountains in the Lake District but this delightful ridge provides a magnificent day’s walking. From Grasmere we ascend Steel Fell which provides a surprising and unusual view down the length of Thirlmere to the Northern Fells. Continuing over Calf Crag we enjoy 3.5 miles of relatively level walking to Helm Crag. The ridge provides fine views over the Greenburn and Far Easedale Valleys until we reach the much loved Helm Crag – which because of its rock formation is known affectionately as the ‘Lion and the Lamb’.

“In scenic values, the summit of many high mountains are a disappointment after the long toil of ascent, yet here, on top of little Helm Crag, a midget of a mountain, is a remarkable array of rocks, upstanding and fallen, of singular interest and fascinating appearance, that yield a quality of reward out of all proportion to the short and simple climb.

Alfred Wainwright

After enjoying Helm Crag’s unforgettable outlook we descend the southern flank of the mountain back to Grasmere.

“The virtues of Helm Crag have not been lauded enough. It gives an exhilarating little climb, a brief essay in real mountaineering, and, in a region where all is beautiful, it makes a notable contribution to the natural charms and attractions of Grasmere”

Alfred Wainwright

During this walk we will enjoy magnificent mountain scenery and a complex series of knolls and summits that require good navigation skills in poor weather. The terrain includes mountain paths, rocky steps, boggy areas and grassy tracks.

 

 

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Note:

The above is only a selection of guided classic mountain walks in the Lake District. If you would like to discuss these classic mountain walks or other possible guided classic mountain walks please contact Mountain Explorer using the links below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Gift Cards

Guided classic mountain walks make memorable gifts. If you book a guided mountain walk as an inspirational gift or for a special occasion you will be provided with a downloadable voucher containing details of the day.