This north Lakeland town might be the busiest outdoor hub in the UK, but quiet ridge walks can still be found. Jeremy Ashcroft suggests three crackers.
Keswick has everything you could want from a base for adventure. It’s the archetypal outdoor capital and is popular all year round. You might think the bustle would make tranquility impossible, but there are still lots of peaceful adventures to be had, and not just in obscure corners. All the adjacent mountains and many lower fells have great options to be explored. Take Skiddaw for example: crowds swarm up and down the main Jenkin Hill bridleway, yet less than a kilometre away, the deep cut path up Slades Gill receives only light footfall. Linking it with Longside Edge with its narrow but walkable crest matches any ridge on the mainland. The nearby northern arm of Helvellyn’s main ridge provides an amazing experience with one big climb followed by an easy ridge. If this isn’t enough, the fells between Borrowdale and Thirlmere give a day’s ridge walk mixed with a boat ride and a tea room visit.
Penrith is the nearest railway
station with a direct bus link to Keswick. Once in Keswick the 555 can be used to get to the start of Dodds walk. For the Armboth Fell walk, the waterbus on Derwent Water is used for the first stage. 0871 200 2233, www.traveline. info, www.cumbria.gov.uk, www.keswick-launch.co.uk
Keswick is crammed with places to eat. Try cow pie at The George, goulash at the Dog and Gun, coffee at the Square Orange and cream tea at Little Chamonix. But the best thing to do is explore and discover your own favourite.
Keswick has all forms of accommodation from camping through to hotels, there is also a centrally situated YHA 0345 371 9746 www.yha.org.uk
For the main shop there’s a Booths supermarket and a Co-op; for medical supplies a Boots. Also a Post Office, a high concentration of outdoor gear shops, newsagents, ATMs and two petrol stations.
Keswick TIC, Moot Hall 0845 901 0845, www.lakedistrict.gov.uk, www.golakes.co.uk
Golden crepuscular rays illuminate Cumbria's rugged landscape.
It's steady as you go, along Longside Edge.