• Coniston: Tarn Hows and Yew Tree Tarn

    A loop walk taking in two lakes, with nice views of Coniston Water too.

    Set off from Coniston and follow the Cumbria way uphill. A fork in the path leads you up into the woods, still climbing uphill, with good views back over Coniston water once you emerge.

    Snake back and forth up the hillside and then follow the ridge along. We leave footpaths and follow a single-track road up through the ferns to the National Trust car park at Tarn Hows. Get coffee. It’s good.

    Tarn Hows has an accessible loop path, so its easy walking for a while. Loop around very nearly the whole lake. Stop to say hello to the ducks.

    Just before completing the loop, turn off and follow the water downhill (Tom Gill). There’s some good waterfalls here.

    Just before hitting the road, turn and walk parallel to it. Soon there’s a crossing, follow through and emerge by Yew Tree tarn. We follow alongside it for nearly its whole length before turning to walk uphill. Skirt the edges of the woodland, looking up at the imposing Long Crag above.

    From here it’s all fairly easy. Nice wide path that meanders through the valley, eventually being joined by the Cumbria way. We follow it up and over the hill, meeting the place we forked off from it at the start and then dropping down into Coniston.

    Time for a beer.


    We were staying in Coniston so no need, but there’s a public car park in the middle too.


    14k. Quite a lot of ascent but never too much in one go. Terrain was mostly very easy.

  • Skelwith Bridge and Elterwater

    This is a lovely lake district loop walk that takes in a good bit of variety.

    We start off riverside, walking through a close canopy of trees, making our way slowly up a hill. Eventually this gives us a good view of Skelwith Force waterfall.

    Coming out of the woods, the walk cuts along the edges of hillsides, drops down to cross the valley and then works its way up to Little Langdale. There’s a nice looking pub here (The Three Shires Inn) but it was a bit early in the walk for us to stop.

    We cross over into the next valley and drop down into Elterwater. Here we do stop. The Britannia serves up cool, pale beer on a hot day. And scampi fries.

    From here it’s a simple, gentle stroll along Great Langdale Beck, passing Elter Water lake and then on to Skelwith bridge.


    Skelwith Bridge. All the off-road parking was for customers of the various places to stay, but we had no problem parking on the side of the road.


    10k over some hilly ground but never particularly steep or challenging.

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  • Malton to Westow

    A nice round trip from the middle of Malton down to Westow and back. The first good stretch follows the course of the river Derwent Southwards. We’ve had some miserably wet weather and then some very cold weather afterwards. It’s a good thing we did - if the lakes of mud weren’t frozen this might have been really difficult.

    Eventually we part from the river and cross a couple of fields to go past St Mary’s, which is a fascinating little church in the absolute middle of nowhere. It’s sadly kept locked, but we had a look at the graveyard, which had stones dating back to the 18th century.

    We stopped for a pint in the Blacksmith’s Arms in Westow (Ossett Blonde). It looks a nice pub, but was more restaurant focussed than we were going for.

    The walk back was fairly straightforward - we climbed up the hill and just took a fairly straight line back to Malton. It crosses a farm or two, some fields of (very excitable!) horses and through the middle of a golf course.


    Not sure! We stayed in Malton so didn’t need to park


    It’s a good long way, with a lot of it along a muddy riverbank.

  • Stanley Ferry - Normanton loop

    A large part of this walk is very nice. But an equally large part is not. We start on the canal and potter North along it for a good way. It’s nice. When we leave the canal though, it starts to get less lovely. I’ve nothing against Altofts, but the little alleyways we squeeze down are a bit grimy.

    When we finally get out of the town and into the fields, things don’t improve. There are tall metal fences hemming the path in on both sides. It skirts some quarry works, ducks under a pylon and spits us out onto a road that is covered in rubbish. There are no buildings for a good distance in any direction, but half the world has emptied their bins here. It’s grim.

    The path next to the railway line is flooded so we take a longer route, into Normantofts. Apparently Queen Victoria stayed here once on a trip to the North. But its mining heyday is long in the past.

    We loop back into some woods - where we once met a silent man carrying an axe - and carry on to the edges of the nature reserve. From here, things look up. There are some pretty trees, a high bridge over the river and then we rejoin the canal.


    Public car park by the Stanley Ferry pub.


    Easy. Mostly flat.

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