The Lake District is undoubtedly famous for its many hiking routes, offering keen adventurous a chance to challenge themselves with the promise of some picturesque views as a reward. Although some of the more difficult routes become inaccessible in winter, there are still plenty of hiking trails you can explore during the colder months of the year.
By no means an easy hike any time of the year, Helvellyn is a challenging but satisfying route to take in winter, and rewards you with some truly stunning views, especially on sunnier days. Tackling Helvellyn via Striding Edge guarantees that you’ll be privy to some picturesque panoramic views of the famous Lake District landscape. The trade-off for the incredible views offered by Helvellyn is that the Striding Edge route an only be attempted on days with good visibility as it’s an exposed mountain range and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly in winter – especially by novices. However, it should pose no danger to experienced hikers in favourable weather, as long as you are sensible in your route and turn back should the weather worsen; it can get especially windy on Striding Edge, and visibility is known to drop quickly on occasion.
Holding the title of England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike is by no means a leisurely stroll but the view it provides easily makes the challenging hike worth the effort. If you’re setting out on a winter hike on Scafell Pike, you’ll want to invest in some crampons and a good quality ice axe as you can expect plenty of snow and ice in the colder months as you head towards the summit. Thanks to the wide number of hiking routes available around the peak, it’s accessible from most of the hotels in the Lake District area, making worthy of an active day out no matter where you’re staying.
With its dramatic outline and impressive 845-metre height, it’s easy to see why keen fellwalker and author Alfred Wainwright dedicated 36 pages to Blencathra in his writing about the Lakeland fells, referring to it as “one of the grandest objects in Lakeland’. For those looking to challenge themselves, you can take the Hall’s Fell Ridge route, which tops out at the highest point of Blencathra. For a more leisurely pace to the top, Blease Fell offers plenty of smooth, grassy paths with no steep drops or edges to manoeuver.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
Coming it an average of 2 hours, a hike up to the Castlerigg Stone Circle is both leisurely and fast, making it the perfect way to spend a winter morning or afternoon. This short hike offers stunning views of the surrounding fells before coming to a natural plateau where you are greeted by one of Britain’s earliest stone circles, dating back some 4000 to 5000 years to the Late Neolithic period. Setting off from Keswick, you can easily hike to the site by first following the railway path to Threlkeld before splitting off onto a minor road which leads to the stone circle. As you drop back down, a brisk hike through some farmland will have you back to your starting point in no time at all.
More of a walk than a hike, Derwentwater offers the ideal route in winter, being accessible even in less-than-ideal weather conditions. At around 10 miles, you can easily spend a day out making your way around the shore of the water moving at your own, leisurely pace. Offer a different yet no less stunning view of the surrounding sights, on days with good visibility you can look forward to seeing Castle Crag rising up in front of Scafell Pike along with views of Catbells.