Lakes and Mountains - St Bees to Kirkby Stephen
St Bees to Kirkby Stephen in 7 Days Walking Code: CCL8
A west to east traverse of the Lake District taking in most of the major lakes, valleys and mountain ranges of the north Lake District. This is a great route in its own right taking in many of the highlights of the Lake District.
This is our longest itinerary of our Lakes and Mountains routes, with 8 overnight stops in total. With this version, after the long day from Patterdale to Shap you have a nice and easy 7 miles to the village of Orton before your final day to Kirkby Stephen.
|Day 1||Travel to St Bees for your first nights accommodation|
|Day 2||St Bees to Ennerdale||14||23|
|Day 3||Ennerdale to Rosthwaite||15||24|
|Day 4||Rosthwaite to Grasmere||9||14|
|Day 5||Grasmere to Patterdale||9||14|
|Day 6||Patterdale to Shap||16||26|
|Day 7||Shap to Orton||7||11|
|Day 8||Orton to Kirkby Stephen||13||21|
|Day 9||Depart from Kirkby Stephen after breakfast|
St Bees to Grasmere – Into the Heart of the Lake District
The route starts on the shores of the Irish Sea in the village of St Bees. After climbing the impressive sandstone cliffs of the headland, the path turns inland and over agricultural land and foothills to Ennerdale Bridge and the start of the Lake District.
The path continues up Ennerdale beneath Pillar Rock, before climbing up to Brandreth, high in the fells with fantastic views of Great Gable and the Buttermere valley. The route then drops into Borrowdale via Honister. With another day of climbing as the trail heads up the remote Greenup Gill and then down either the valley of Far Easedale or over the Lion and the Lamb, to Grasmere. This is a memorable day with views of Lakeland fells in all directions.
Grasmere to Kirkby Stephen – Eastern Lakes & Upper Eden
From Grasmere there is more climbing – the route lies over the Helvellyn range either over the pass at Grisedale tarn, or for the more adventurous, via the summit of Helvellyn, England’s 3rd highest mountain, before dropping down to Patterdale on the shore of Ullswater. The remotest walking of the tour leads from Ullswater over Kidsty Pike, a tremendous viewpoint of the Lakeland fells then down to Haweswaters and onwards to Shap.
Having left the Lakes, the route between Shap and Kirkby Stephen is undulating rather than mountainous, following limestone scarps and moorland paths. It passes the delightful village of Orton and travels onwards past numerous prehistoric sites to the market town of Kirkby Stephen.
Moderate to Challenging
There are several rocky sections along this route which should be easy enough to tackle for most reasonably fit people. Goat Fell has a sheer drop on one side on the descent and a river crossing via stepping stones, this can be avoided in bad weather or for people with vertigo by taking the low route. The paths along the shore are not always clear but as the route follows the coast it is hard to get lost. As some sections are impassable at high tide it is important to check the tides before setting off. If in doubt use the alternative routes.
Terrain: A coastal path with a mostly rocky shoreline, some road sections (not very busy) and forest tracks. Depending on the tide the route can be sandy or shingly with some boulder fields that are slow going and can be tiring. Consider an itinerary with shorter days than you would normally choose to allow for this.
What’s it like underfoot? A mixture of road, rocky shoreline (which can be slippery after high tide or in wet weather) forest tracks and some constructed paths. A few sections may be muddy after heavy rain.
How Much Up & Down? Mostly flat, apart from the Goat Fell option which involves a climb of 874 meters (there is a get out at 630 meters). The alternative forest route between Lagg and Whiting Bay rises up to 250 meters.
Signposting: There is little signposting on the route.
Navigation: A compass is required if you do the Goat Fell section – the map is sufficient for the coastal paths.
Weather: You may be lucky enough to encounter warm, dry weather over the whole route and enjoy dry paths and tremendous views, but you must be prepared because the weather can change quickly. Good clothing and waterproofs are essential, but don't forget your sunhat, sunblock and shorts!
|Accommodation||Overnight Bed and Breakfast accommodation in selected hotels, farmhouses, village inns, guest houses and family B&Bs.Full English or Continental breakfast.|
|Guidebook||A detailed guidebook with route information, maps, photos and background information.|
|Information of Services Along the Route||A comprehensive Service Info sheet, including services such as cash points, banks, post offices, village shops, inns, cafes and taxis.|
|Maps||A Harvey Map (1:40000) covering the whole route.|
|Personal Itinerary||A personal itinerary setting out each overnight stop, including large scale maps of each accommodation, to ensure you find it easily.|
|Emergency Telephone Support||If you get in to difficulties during your holiday, we are always available to help, even out of office hours.|
|15% discount at Cotswold Outdoors||We will issue you with a 15% Discount Card valid at all Cotswold Outdoor stores, and online, for the whole year on confirmation of your booking.|
|Luggage Transport||We will transfer your luggage between each overnight stop – if you leave your luggage at the accommodation when you set off in the morning, it will be moved on to your next B&B. You only need to carry a small day sack with the clothes and provisions you require during the day’s walk.|
| Packed Lunches
||Provided for each day’s walking and recommended on this holiday as there will not always be a handy shop or cafe on the route.|
|Off Road Parking||If you are travelling by car we can usually arrange off road parking for the duration of your trip. (There may be a small charge for this).|
|Arrangement of return transport||We can also arrange your transfer back to your car, (or advise you when public transport is a better option)!|
What’s not Included
|Evening Meals||Your evening meal isn’t included in the package, but we include full details and recommendations for each evening meal in your itinerary. You will normally be within walking distance of a pub and/or restaurant, or where there is good food available at the accommodation, we’ll book that for you. Allow about £20.00 per night.|
|Transport to the Start & Away from the Finish||Have a look at the “Travel Info” tab above for suggestions. If you’re still struggling, get in touch and we’ll help you sort it out.|
|Travel Insurance||Even if you are based in the UK travel insurance is worth having.|
One of the great features of our Coast to Coast path holidays is the quality of the accommodation, including small country house hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfasts and farm house accommodation. In selecting the accommodation we look for helpful, friendly hosts with good quality, characterful accommodation close to the trail. We always try to arrange en suite accommodation, i.e. rooms with their own bathrooms, for each night of your stay. However, in some of the more remote locations accommodation is limited and occasionally we may have to book rooms with shared bathrooms for one or two nights of your holiday (especially if the booking is made at short notice) but we will always let you know if this is likely to be the case.
Single Rooms We are happy to book single rooms on this walk but cannot normally book more than 2 for any one group. Single room bookings include a supplement.
Here are a few examples of the accommodation we use along the Coast to Coast Path.
The Langstrath Country Inn
The Langstrath County Hotel is set in the Lakeland village of Stonethwaite. It is a small, local and family-run haven for walkers and lovers of the countryside. It was built around 1590 as a miners cottage and is now a quality hotel offering comfortable bedrooms and excellent service. The restaurant serves quality Lakeland dishes using the finest local ingredients.
Visit their website at: www.thelangstrath.com
The Old Croft House
This is a bed and breakfast full of character. A wonderful old building in the centre of Kirkby Stephen with individually designed, quirky bedrooms that are a treat to stay in. Nick and Rachel take very good care of their guests, welcoming with home made cakes and open fires.
Visit their website at: www.oldcrofthouse.co.uk
The Wainstones Hotel
With the atmosphere of a Yorkshire Country Inn The Wainstones Hotel is known for its attentive staff and excellent food. An 18th century building in a very picturesque location, this hotel is popular with walkers on the Coast to Coast path who can relax in the bar or treat themselves to a delicious meal in the restaurant.
Visit their website at: www.wainstoneshotel.co.uk
General travel information on the Coast to Coast area will be in your holiday pack including train and bus timetables where available.
Detailed instructions on getting to your first night’s accommodation by car, or on foot from the nearest train or bus station, will also be included in the holiday pack on individual accommodation maps.
If you require secure car parking whilst walking this route, please contact us for detailed information – we can arrange car parking either at the start or end locations.
By Air: Your nearest international airports are Manchester (MAN) and Newcastle (NCL) you can then take a train to St Bees (approx 3.5 hours).
By Public Transport: There is a train station in St Bees Village (SBS). Most train journeys will pass through Carlisle (CAR) where you will need to change for St Bees. If travelling on a Sunday take the train to Whitehaven. It is then a short journey by taxi to St Bees (costing approx. £5).
By Road: St Bees is on the Cumbrian coast approximately an hour’s drive from junction 40 on the M6. From the M6 you follow the A66 then the A595.
Returning from Kirkby Stephen:
The train station is 1.5 miles from the town centre – a list of taxi numbers are included in your holiday pack. Kirkby Stephen is on the northern rail line with connections to most UK cities.
Grasmere is a charming village right in the heart of the Lake District National Park and a great location to spend a well earned rest day. It was once the home of the famous poet William Wordsworth and today you can visit two of his former homes - Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. In the centre of Grasmere is St. Oswald’s Church, which contains the Wordsworth family graves. The village itself has narrow bustling streets with cafes, shops and pubs. The frequent local bus service connects Grasmere with Keswick and Ambleside if you want to explore further into the Lakes.
Patterdale offers spectacular scenery in a peaceful location. This tiny village in the heart of the English Lake District will give you a well earned rest before heading onwards on your walking route. Boat trips can be taken on the Ullswater Steamers to Pooley Bridge, with several opportunities to disembark and explore the lakeshore attractions along the way.
Kirkby Stephen is a traditional market town of historic buildings, cobbled yards, quaint corners and interesting shops. It is situated in a landscape of pastoral rural scenery with wild uplands. Being remote from large towns and population centres, Kirkby Stephen has developed a strong and self-sufficient identity and a vibrant sense of community.