Walking The Cumbria Way: Ulverston to Carlisle – main route with mountain alternatives by John Gillham: pocket-sized companion for your year-round walks – book review -

As summer draws to an end and autumn approaches, pull on your sturdy boots and explore the 73-mile Cumbria Way, one of Britain’s prettiest and easiest long-distance walks.

Walking The Cumbria Way by John Gillham
Walking The Cumbria Way by John Gillham

This trail through the heart of the Lake District – taking in beautiful lakes, low mountain tarns and picturesque villages with delightful country pubs and cottages – can be tackled as one walk, in five sections or as alternative mountain days to climb some of the famous fells along the route.

But whichever way you choose to take in the outdoor exercise and memorable scenery, walkers and climbers should not leave home without this brilliant new guide from Cicerone Press to steer you through the exciting uplands and lowlands of the Cumbria Way.

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Cicerone – an enthusiastic publisher based in Kendal specialising in outdoor activities guidebooks –has a range of nearly 400 books for walking, trekking, climbing, mountaineering and cycling, covering the UK, Europe and other regions of the world. The guides are pocket-sized, with crystal-clear OS mapping and directions, and their authors are amongst the leading experts in their areas.

Written by professional writer, illustrator and photographer John Gillham, who lives in Hoddlesden, a small village in the West Pennine Moors, this exciting new walk – from Ulverston in the south to Carlisle in the north – is largely low-level and has good transport links to either end.

The official Cumbria Way can be walked all year round, within a week, using bed and breakfast accommodation, or from Easter to October using campsites, while the mountain route is best saved for spring, summer and autumn.

The official 73-mile walking route takes in Torver, Coniston, Tarn Hows, Elterwater, Great Langdale, Rosthwaite, Keswick, Bassenthwaite, Back o’Skiddaw, Caldbeck, Dalston and Carlisle, and is classed as easy with only two places where the inexperienced walker can go wrong (in mist)… Stake Pass and High Pike.

And although the guide divides the route into five stages of between 12 and 16 miles, there is plenty of opportunity to plan your itinerary over a more easy-going seven to eight days.

The alternative mountain days – which link up with the official route, allowing you to mix and match depending on the weather or your inclination – add the Coniston Fells, Glaramara, Skiddaw and Walla Crag and require mountain experience and the essential knowledge of how to use a map and compass.

Packed with stunning, full-colour photographs of some of the magnificent landscapes to be enjoyed along the Cumbria Way, potted histories of villages and landmarks, advice on what to take with you, useful information for every stage of your walk, from accommodation to available facilities en route, an annotated OS map and details on points of interest, there could be no better pocket-sized companion for your year-round walks!

(Cicerone Press, paperback, £14.95)