The Cumbria Way

Ulverston to Carlisle - main route with mountain alternatives

By John Gillham

A guidebook to the 73 mile Cumbria Way, an easy long-distance walk though the heart of the Lake District National Park, from Ulverston in the south to Carlisle in the north, with good transport links to either end. The route is largely low-level but this guide offers alternative mountain days to climb some of the famous fells en route.



official way can be done year-round using B&Bs or Easter to October using campsites. The mountain route is best saved for spring, summer and autumn


Ulverston, Torver, Coniston, Elterwater, Great Langdale, Rosthwaite, Keswick, Bassenthwaite, Caldbeck, Dalston and Carlisle


official Cumbria Way is easy with only two places where the inexperienced walker can go wrong (in mist) - Stake Pass and High Pike. The mountain routes require mountain experience and the knowledge of how to use a map and compass
Must See

Must See

official route visits Coniston, Tarn Hows, Great Langdale, Stake Pass, Derwentwater, Back o' Skiddaw and Caldbeck, while the mountain route adds the Coniston Fells, Glaramara, Skiddaw and Knott
11 Feb 2015
6 Jul 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 0.9cm
  • Overview

    A guidebook to the Cumbria Way, a 73-mile long distance path through the heart of the English Lake District from Ulverston to Carlisle. The route is largely low-level, and accessible to new trekkers, but this guide offers alternative mountain days to climb some of the famous fells en route.

    The guide divides the route into 5 stages of between 12 and 16 miles, but there is plenty of opportunity to plan your itinerary for a more easy-going 7 to 8 days. The Lake District is a walkers paradise, and there is no better way to experience the fells, lakes and woodlands of the Lake District than by trekking through their midst.

    This guidebook also provides useful information for every stage, from accommodation to available facilities en route, as well as an annotated OS map and details on points of interest. The result is a guidebook that enhances a walk on the Cumbria Way, as well as providing the walker with the tools to complete the trek.

  • Contents

    The Cumbria Way
    The mountain way
    Wildlife and plants
    Geology (Ronald Turnbull)
    When to go
    Getting there
    Planning your itinerary
    What to take
    Using GPS
    Using this guide
    The Cumbria Way
    Stage 1 Ulverston to Coniston (or Torver)
    Stage 2 Coniston to Great Langdale
    Stage 2A Torver to Great Langdale – mountain route
    Stage 3 Great Langdale to Keswick
    Stage 3A Great Langdale to Keswick – mountain route
    Stage 4 Keswick to Caldbeck
    Stage 4A Keswick to Caldbeck – mountain route
    Stage 4B Keswick to Caldbeck – foul weather route
    Stage 5 Caldbeck to Carlisle

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Facilities summary table
    Appendix C Accommodation stage by stage
    Appendix D Useful contacts

  • Updates
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    July 2017

    Pages 122 and 123 of Appendix B The distance from Caldbeck to Dalston is marked incorrectly as 1 mile (1.5km ). The correct distance should be 11 mile (17.5km)

    Stage 5

    Bell Bridge, over the river Caldew, collapsed after flooding in December 2015. The Cumbria Way will remain closed at this point for an extended period of time.

    A route diversion can be found on this website

  • Reviews

    The 73-mile Cumbria Way was the invention of local Ramblers groups over 40 years ago, and has been rather melodramatically described as "an arrow through the heart of the Lake District." In this beautifully illustrated new guide, John Gillham takes even more diversions from the already anything but arrow-straight route, which wriggles north through the Lakes from Ulverston to Carlisle. He makes a series of significant mountainous deviations from the original route, taking in the tempting Lakeland giants of Skiddaw, Walla Crag, Glaramara, Swirl How and Coniston Old Man, which should satisfy even the most frustrated peak-bagger. 

    [I couldn't] wish for a more enthusiastic and comprehensive guide to take me there. Highly recommended.

    Roly Smith, Outdoor Focus

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John Gillham

John Gillham has been a professional writer, illustrator and photographer since 1989. His first book was Snowdonia to the Gower: a Coast-to-Coast Walk Across Highest Wales. He also pioneered three other long-distance routes: Lakeland to Lindisfarne, Pennine Ways and the Bowland–Dales Traverse, all of which were published in book form. John's recent books include The Pictorial Guides to the Mountains of Snowdonia Volumes 1–4, Best Day Walks in Snowdonia and the AA Leisure Guide to Wales. John writes for several outdoor publications, and two of his books have won the Outdoor Writers & Photographers Guild Award for Excellence.

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