As I walked up to the viewpoint on the northern section of the Ullswater Way I’d never seen anything like it. The 10 mile lake spread out right across my view, sweeping east to west with its southernmost section slipping out of sight and tempting me to keep walking. The lake’s backdrop of inviting endless mountain tops was a combination that I’d not yet seen, despite having walked over 500 miles to that spot from John O’Groats.
This was back in the spring of 2017 and it was my first visit to the Lake District. After continuing on and successful walking to Land’s End, 993 miles in all, I realised I’d fallen for the Lakes. It was my favourite place to walk through in all of Britain and I was captivated. Any downtime from then on I’d find myself drawn back to the National Park to explore the endless hills, lakes and woodland walks.
I’m lucky enough to now call the Lakes home and to celebrate the Lake District National Park’s 70th birthday this month, I want to share with you my favourite spot for anyone looking to make their first visit to the Park.
Loughrigg Fell and the surrounding lakes
From the numerous lakes to the 214 Wainwright peaks, there are of course a myriad of options to explore, in what is not just a National Park but also a World Heritage Site. For me, there’s something low key and grounding about Loughrigg Fell. At just 335 meters high, it’s about a third of the height of Scafell Pike, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Sometimes all you need is an easy day out in the fells with stunning views and a cake stop to warm up at afterwards!
Nestled just beyond Windermere and Ambleside, the towns that most people are drawn to, Loughrigg Fell sits to the north west of Ambleside offering views over not just one, but five (ish) bodies of water: Windermere, Rydal, Grasmere, Loughrigg tarn, and if you squint on a good day you can see Coniston too!
To get to the fell, get the train to Windermere and catch the bus to Grasmere. From here follow the edge of Grasmere lake and then head straight up the fell following the path. It’s a relatively easy walk up with lovely views back over Grasmere the whole way up. Once on top you can explore the top of the fell via various routes and come down on any side. To the east you can head down to Rydal caves, a great opportunity for the kids to hop across the stepping stones, or go down to the lake itself and dive in for a swim. I’ve been known to dip here after work in winter (with a wetsuit!) and it’s a lovely calm spot which is easily accessible.
Make your way back to Grasmere along the lake shore to indulge in a cake stop at Mathilde’s cafe (with vegan options) or head to the traditional Grasmere Gingerbread shop for a treat who’s recipe goes back to 1854.
For more of my favourite fells, swim spots and paddleboarding adventures in the Lakes, check out my Instagram @FionaLQuinn.