Top Tips for Fell Walking in the Lakes

14 September 2020

There’s nothing better than an amble through the Lake District or a luxury holiday cottage in the Lake District. Whether you’re taking a light stroll around the Aira Force Waterfall or tackling the behemoth that is Scafell Pike, the Lake District is full of fantastic walks for people of all abilities and skill level.

But regardless of what kind of walk you’re doing; you need to make sure you’re prepared. So, here are our top tips for fell walking in the Lakes.

Plan Your Route

Fortunately, you don’t need to be an expert navigator to find a great walk in the Lakes. There are maps, apps and guidebooks, both physical and online, to help you pick the right kind of Lake District walk. You will be able to find hikes for beginners, walks for experts and walks with fantastic views, all with estimated times of completion so you can accurately plan your trip.

So before you set off, spend some time with a map and pick out the right kind of route for you and your group. Some walks will intersect each other, and you may be able to adjust your walk if you find it’s taking too long or you're getting through it too quickly. Have a contingency plan ready if you need to change your walk on the day.

Check the Weather

Check the weather forecast before you set off for your walk. Conditions can change throughout the day, and you may not get the weather you expected. You should avoid steep and exposed ground if there are storms or high winds forecast. Heavy rainfall can make rivers impassable and cause the rocky ground to become dangerously slippery. So always be prepared to turn back if the weather takes a turn.

Young woman with backpack enjoying rainy weather

Know How to Navigate

Some basic knowledge of navigation is essential when hiking in the hills. You should have a map and compass with you as a GPS might not always work out in the wilderness. But thanks to your map reading skills, you’ll still know where you’re going even if your phone runs out of battery or can’t get a signal.

What to Wear

How you dress for your walk is very important. The weather on the flat ground is not necessarily an accurate picture of what temperatures and winds will be like up mountains and hills, so you need to dress for all aspects of the walk.

Make sure you layer up in warm clothing or take extra layers with you if the weather is hot. A waterproof jacket and trousers are essential for when the weather turns. While shorts can feel like the ideal choice in hot weather, long trousers will better protect your legs.

On your feet, make sure you have good walking boots that provide adequate ankle support. This will be essential for protecting your ankle from twisting when climbing and causing injury.

What to Bring

As well as your extra layers, a map and compass, other things are essential to bring on a walking trip around the Lakes. A torch and spare batteries are a good idea in case you get stuck and it goes dark. A whistle is a good idea to help alert others to your presence if you need assistance.

Take plenty of water and food with you for the day to provide you with the energy you need for the walk. A mobile phone with a full charge is essential to use to call someone in an emergency situation. Many people visit the Lake District with their dog, but not all fell walks are suitable for all four legged friends. If you are staying in one of our dog friendly holiday cottages in the Lake District, make sure the routes you are planning to take are suitable. 

Identify Hazards

There are a few hazards that can occur while walking in the Lakes that you should be aware of. Firstly, it’s a good idea to understand what kind of terrain you will be dealing with. In the Lakes, there are plenty of steep and sharp ridges, including deep and long lakes. So be prepared for rugged mountain terrain and dress appropriately for this kind of walk. Also, make sure that everyone in your party is comfortable with the level of difficulty you will be encountering and is physically capable of handling it, so you don’t run into trouble.

Avoid drinking from natural water sources as this is not advisable, so take enough bottled water with you to drink. Wild swimming is a popular activity in the Lakes, but beware that the lakes and rivers can be very cold, even in the summer months. So make sure you have towels and a change of clothes so you can get dry and warm after your swim.

Keep an eye out for livestock and be aware of what kind of animals you might encounter and avoid approaching any – especially adders, Britain’s only poisonous snake. Ticks are also likely in the vegetation around the Lakes; they can cause Lyme disease. Make sure you thoroughly check your entire body for ticks at the end of a Lake District walk.

Know What to Do in an Emergency

Accidents happen; a member of your party might take a tumble, or you could get so lost that you have no idea how to get back. In these situations, you should call Mountain Rescue, where they will ask you for your location. Give them the names of your party and outline any injuries. Then stay where you are until you are contacted, and a team sent out to meet you.

But the most important thing about a Lake District walk is to have fun. The Lakes is full of fantastic routes where you can see some truly stunning views of the Fells. Just make sure you stay safe and plan ahead, so you know what to expect. If you’re planning a getaway to the Lake District, take a look at our luxury holiday cottages in the Lake District. We offer five-star cottages which can provide you with a tranquil stay in the Lakes, and luxury group accommodation perfect for catching up with friends, contact us today to find out more.

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