The Cumbria Way – 2019
On the 20th May 2019 I set off from my home to Ulverston, a market town in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria.
Ulverston is the official start of the Cumbria Way. In 5 days I will have walked the circa 75 miles to Carlisle. The only challenge that I set myself (apart from taking 5 days) was that I wanted to carry everything on my back. No B&B’s and no Sherpa companies carrying my bags.
This was purely because not only do I LOVE wild camping, but I wanted the freedom to end the days where and when I liked.
The rough plan was taken from many hours research online and the decision to walk the normal South to North (more about that later).
- Ulverston to Coniston
- Conistone to Dungeons Ghyll
- Dungeons Ghyll to Keswick
- Keswick to Caldbeck
- Caldbeck to Carlisle
The first leg takes you quickly through fields and farm yards before reaching my first check point of Beacon Tarn. At this point you can see the Lake District opening up in front you.
Reaching the lake shore of Coniston is stunning (I am going to refrain from saying this word as 90% of this walk is stunning).
Plenty places to stay in Coniston. I choose the campsite approximately half a mile outside of the town centre.
Onwards to Dungeons Ghyll. A short (10 miler) and I’d smashed this by 12 o’clock. I had a choice. I could either stay all day in the pub (tempting) or crack on into day 3. This is why I chose to backpack.
Unfortunately, I’d been beaten to it by a group of campers. Not wanting to camp next to them, I moved further up to one of the best pitches I’d had.
Onto Keswick which is a lovely touristy town. I stayed at a cracking small Caravan & Camping site. Highly recommended. A good chance to do some laundry and stock up.
I left Keswick early and headed for Caldbeck. Slightly sad that I was leaving the lakes behind but not after I’d visited Lingy Hut in the Lake District’s Northern Fells, just below the summit of Great Lingy hill.
Caldbeck is a small village with a great pub (Oddfellows). I camped at ‘Caldbeck Camping’ – a small piece of land run by a lovely friendly family. £5 for the night and right on the Cumbria Way path.
The next stage is a bit of a slog if I am honest. Legs are now tired and there is a lot of tarmac to cover. The route into Carlisle is uneventful but the urge to reach the finish makes it hard going. There is no official finish however my guide book said the monument in the town centre.
The Cumbrian Way is badly signposted in lots of areas. I highly advise a route map (my guidebook included all the sections) but also download OSMaps app for your phone.
I cannot praise this app enough. Subscribe to the premium service – its worth every penny.
Just for overkill I also had a GPS (Etrex 20x). This was great.
The route – I’ve read various arguments for walking North to South. The last section to Carlisle isn’t great and hence the suggestion to get that out of the way first. The sun will also be in your face.
However. I walked in blazing sunshine for all 5 days and it was never a problem.
The walk from Carlisle to Caldbeck is pounding tarmac for alot of the route and your legs will already be knackered. The next stage is hard to Keswick so you’ll end up very tired after a day and a half.
My vote is for South to North and just get your head down for the final few hours to get into Carlisle.
I used equipment from: