Borrowdale to Skiddaw House – The Cumbria Way

Borrowdale to Skiddaw House – The Cumbria Way – Day 4. 13 miles walking the shores of Derwent Water and then a climb to the highest Youth Hostel in Britain.

Welcome to the fourth installment of my re-cap of this years long distance walk, The Cumbria Way.

Make sure that you’ve checked out the previous days walks first. To catch up!

Ulverston to Coniston – The Cumbria Way – Day 1

Coniston to Great Langdale – The Cumbria Way – Day 2

Great Langdale to Borrowdale – The Cumbria Way – Day 3

Day 4 was to be a long one. With a lucky escape from the rain and lunch in Keswick

Today we started off walking through the remainer of the Borrowdale valley.

We then skirted the shores of Derwent Water before climbing narrow and rocky paths to Skiddaw House, our accomodation for the evening.

Skiddaw House is the highest youth hostel in Britain (472m above sea level) and perhaps one of the most remote too!

Jennifer Lynch and Lynne Lockier standing outside the front door of the Borrowdale Gates Hotel.

Borrowdale to Skiddaw House – The Cumbria Way – Day 4

After our cracking cooked breakfasts (I had kippers – yum!) we left the luxurious Borrowdale Gates Hotel for our 4th day of walking feeling rather stuffed!

A cool, breezy but dry start to our day’s walking was welcoming.

I was really excited for this day’s adventure as I was looking forward to spending our evening up in the mountains away from civilisation at Skiddaw House. 

Make sure you watch my short video at the bottom of this post to see all the stunning scenery we enjoyed!

Looking back on the area of Borrowdale on the Cumbria Way path.

After leaving the hotel we back-tracked a bit to re-join the The Cumbria Way.

Clearly the hotel reception staff were not familiar with the paths surrounding the hotel. 

At check-out we had enquired as to the best way to get back on the path. We were told to go back a mile or so on the road.

It was funny when we actually found ourselves once again standing in front of the hotel having just done a complete circle!

It turned out the path that ran up the hillside opposite the hotel linked directly to the Borrowdale to Skiddaw House section of The Cumbria Way!!

Lynne Lockier and Jennifer Lynch sit in the hands sculpture at Low Brandlehow jetty, Derwentwater.

By mid-morning, walking on the west shore of Derwent Water we paused for a short break in the hands sculpture.

The wooden sculpture of cupped hands commemorates the centenary of the National Trust’s first ever land purchase in the Lake District, 108 acres of the Brandlehow estate.

This sculpture is situated near the High Brandlehow jetty and was commissioned by the National Trust.

Jennifer Lynch at the Alpacaly ever after Lama sanctuary (Walk With Alpacas At The Lingholm Estate).

After leaving Brandlehow Estate we next walked into The Lingholm Estate.

There’s a alpacas and llamas sanctuary alongside the pathway.

The sanctuary and estate are a day out in itself. There’s so much to see and do in the lake district!

Looking back on Keswick and Derwentwater on the Borrowdale to Skiddaw House section of The Cumbria Way.

We stopped in the town of Keswick for liquid refreshments and were lucky enough to be in the pub when it absolutely poured down with rain!

We were only going to have one drink but because we had to wait for the rain to go off we ended up having to have two! Ha ha!

Once dry again outside we found a pastie shop in the high street for a walking lunch and headed off again.

Rejoining The Cumbria Way path and skirting round Latrigg we looked back on Keswick and Derwentwater as we began our ascent of the Skiddaw fells.

Jennifer Lynch in the distance walking at Whit Beck on the Borrowdale to Skiddaw House section of The Cumbria Way.

After having climbed up we then had to go back down!

Here the path descends to cross Whit Beck before going back up again.

It’s a pleasant sheltered ravine though and provides us with some shelter from the occassional light showers of rain. 

Walking on The Cumbria Way with Lonscale Fell to the left.

To be fair up until this point the going has been fairly easy but that all changes once Lonscale Crags are rounded.

The path climbs for 1.6km with Lonscale Fell high up to the left.

Glenderaterra Beck river can be seen down in the valley to the right.

Great Calva hill in the distance on the Borrowdale to Skiddaw House section of The Cumbria Way.

Despite the light showers of rain we were again extremely lucky with the visibility.

There were some amazing views on our jouney of this section of The Cumbria Way from Borrowdale to Skiddaw House!

In the distance the summit of Great Calva towers over the Northern Fells. 

Great Calva stands at the head of a major geological fault running through the centre of the Lake District and apparantly there are also some stunning views from the top. (For another day!)

Last walking section of the Borrowdale to Skiddaw House part of The Cumbria Way. With Skiddaw House YHA in the distance.

Finally at the end of our 13 mile hike we saw the welcoming site of Skiddaw House in the distance.

The hostel is just visible in the trees. The trees, which are essentially a windbreak, are the only trees in Skiddaw Forest!

It had brighted up considerably by this point. This meant the late afternoon sunlight was making the hills and fells look even more magnificent.

Skiddaw House YHA The Cumbria Way.

Skiddaw House is the highest Youth Hostel in Britain.

I had been so looking forward to staying here since reading about it when I started planning our Cumbria Way walk last year. I wasn’t disappointed.

It reminded me of my student days when I used to spend most of my weekends away in Scotland staying at remote bunkhouses and hostels to climb the Scottish Munro Mountains.

Inside Skiddaw House kitchen. Table with foods to make up packed lunches on.

Inside (above) Skiddaw House kitchen. Great cooking facilities are available. There is no need to carry any cooking equipment here.

Note the “Hostel Shop” sign. You also don’t need to bring any food as you can get tinned foods, rice and pasta as well as bottles of local ale and great wine too!

We bought tinned chilli and rice as well as puddings to steam for dinner.

Naturally we helped wash this down with some rather good beer and wine. Also from the shop.

Inside Skiddaw House YHA. Sitting area with chairs in front of a range and stove.

Skiddaw House has no mobile phone coverage. So again this meant Lady Lynne and Jen had to do without the internet for another evening!

I loved that, and the fact that you can make polite conversation with the other hostel guests if you choose to do so.

Electricity in the hostel is from solar panels and is used for the lighting. The showers are heated by gas bottles which also supply the gas cookers in the kitchen.

The accomodation is excellent. We had booked our own private room.

We slept well because the bunk beds were so comfortable. 

Or maybe that was the wine…….

If you want to see inside our room and more of the scenery of the walk then make sure you watch the video!

So folks that ends Day 4 of our Cumbria Way Walk, Borrowdale to Skiddaw House.

Be sure to check back soon for Day 5 Skiddaw House to Caldbeck.

Borrowdale to Skiddaw House – The Cumbria Way Video

If you enjoyed reading this then you might also be interested in reading about our other adventures such as our climb of Kilimanjaro last year or our videos of our coast to coast walk of Hadrian’s Wall


  1. Matt - Total Feasts

    I’ve often said to people that if I were moving to the UK again, I’d move to the North instead of the South East. As your little trip shows, the scenery is just gorgeous (and the people are friendlier!)

    • Neil

      Cumbria was a piece of England I’d never really explored before. And we only really touched the surface walking through the Lake District. I really want to go back and see more.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the scenery Matt. Hopefully you’ll be able to get up there one day, if you haven’t been able to do so already?

  2. David @ Spiced

    Once again, the photos are stunning, Neil! I loved reading this recap. I feel like getting lost (which you actually did…although only for a short time) in the Scottish hills is kinda awesome. And speaking of awesome, the remoteness of that hostel is amazing. I kinda like that there’s no internet. It forces you to go back to old ways of having fun…conversations, games and wine! 🙂

    • Neil

      Thanks David. Yes the hostel was my highlight of that day. I mean the scenery was stunning but I loved being in the middle of no-where with no social media. Just nature. And of course wine! 😆

  3. Kankana Saxena

    What a beautiful place, so green and gorgeous. I can only imagine how amazing it must have felt and YAY to no network.

    • Neil

      We were really lucky with the weather Kankana in that we were able to see all that beautiful “greeness”. Otherwise it could have been raining and we wouldn’t have seen anything! Agreed. Yay! to no network!

  4. Kelly | Foodtasia

    Neil, such breathtaking scenery! That’s really my idea of the perfect vacation!

    • Neil

      It was an amazing week away. It’s too long to wait until the next one (next year)!

  5. Jeff the Chef

    Gorgeous! You take such fantstic trips!

    • Neil

      Thanks Jeff. There’s just too much to see and so little to time see it all in!

  6. Katerina

    This sounds like the most amazing walk (but lucky you didn’t rely on the hotel’s directions for too long, it would have been a very different recap, I think!) and the scenery is just stunning. This part of the world is definitely on my “to do” list – thanks so much for sharing, Neil!

    • Neil

      There’s just so much to see and so little time to see it all Katerina. But I would definitely recommend this part of the world for your “to-do” list. Glad you like my post! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2023 Walking Our Way

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑