Coniston to Great Langdale – The Cumbria Way – Day 2. 11 miles of stunning scenery through mainly sheep country. Hiking in the heart of the Lake District National Park.
Welcome to the second part of my write up of this years long distance walk, The Cumbria Way.
Make sure you’ve checked out Ulverston to Coniston – The Cumbria Way – Day 1 first.
Day 2 was a reasonably short and easy day with stunning views. More sheep country than cattle fields and farmyards that was seen on day 1!
The village of Coniston is a beautiful village set in the Lake District National Park.
Originally a farming village it then grew as a centre for mining. Its copper mines dating back to the 17th century.
More recently it was infamous for slate mining. Many abandoned workings can be found in the area.
Now the only remaining mine is Honister. The villages main principal source of income is now tourism.
Here (above) the river Church Beck flows through the center of the village.
Coniston to Great Langdale – The Cumbria Way – Day 2.
We left Lakeland House after a hearty cooked breakfast which made up for the lack of cooked breakfast yesterday!
We passed by The Black Bull Inn and Hotel (above) where we had enjoyed a drink on our arrival the previous day.
Then we headed to some local shops to get some provisions in for today’s walk.
The sky was cloudless and it looked like it was going to be another wonderfully warm day ahead.
Make sure you watch my short video at the bottom of this post to see all the stunning scenery we enjoyed!
We rejoined The Cumbria Way – Coniston to Langdale section just on the outskirts of Coniston.
The scenery all around us was stunning. The birds were singing in the trees and there was just a hint of early morning dew on the grass.
The Cumbrian hillsides were magnificent completely bathed in sunshine.
As we followed the path the last views of the houses of the village gradually faded into the distance.
Looking back we stopped to take in the last glimpses of Coniston Water.
A ribbon lake formed by glaciation, it was also where in 1967 Donald Campbell attempted to exceed 300 miles per hour (483 km/h) in order to retain the world water speed record.
Tragically he lost control of his speed boat, Bluebird at 320 miles per hour and was killed instantly on impact. The remains of the boat were only being finally recoved in 2001.
As mentioned earlier, today was more about walking through sheep countryside.
Walking though these grassy pastures you had to watch where you were stepping.
So even though we could hear the river Yewdale Beck in the trees to the left, rather than investigate we kept to the path so as not to tred in anything unsavoury!
After walking through Guards Wood we had a stunning view looking back across to the Yewdale Fells.
These Fells are accessible from Coniston and feature many walks.
As that area is full of old mine workings a great deal of visible remaining tracks constructed by the miners for their own use are apparantly fascinating to explore.
The Cumbria Way path lead us next to Tarn Hows. Or more locally known as “the tarns”.
This is one of the most popular spots in Lakeland, being completely accessible by car.
A beauty spot not to be missed, in high season it can literally be packed with people. Fortunately today it wasn’t too busy for us to pass through.
Surprisingly the tarn is partly artificial. Three tarns were joined together in the 19th Century, and most of the trees surrounding it are conifers.
But the attraction is its sheer beauty. It’s surrounded by thick woodland, and gives views towards Wetherlam, the Helvellyn range and the Langdale Pikes.
There is also a 1.5 mile path round the tarn that is level and well maintained and suitable for wheelchair users.
The Tarns are looked after and managed by the National Trust.
So after passing through Tarn Hows, we should have taken a fork in the path apparantly signposted “Arnside and Langdale”.
We complely missed that.
So here we are above walking on a road in search of Skelwith Bridge. Where we should have been at this point.
Yes, I had managed to get us lost!
Fortunately thanks to the kindness of an elderly lady in a village we stumbled into and with the help of Google Maps we eventually managed to find our way to Skelwith Bridge.
It was only about a detour of about 5 miles. An hour and half lost.
This meant it today wouldn’t be the shortest day time wise after all!
Still, at Chesters By The River in Skelwith Bridge we did manage to stop for a late lunch.
Enjoying lentil salads and well earned bottles of cold beer!
Continuing on our walk after Skelwith Bridge we had views of the hills overlooking Elterwater.
This particular stretch of the Cumbria Way path from Coniston to Great Langdale like Tarn Hows was also quite busy.
It’s a short but pleasant walk between the villages of Skelwith Bridge and Elterwater.
I think the fact that both villages had a pub in, and it was a lovely day meant a lot of people were taking advantage of this situation.
However, there definitely were not a lot of people like ourselves walking the whole Coniston to Great Langdale section of the Cumbria way that day.
Naturally, at The Britannia Inn in Elterwater, we had to order refreshing beer to quench our thurst on such a warm day.
It would have been rude to have not put some of our cash into the local economy here to help out.
We had debated whether or not to just stop here for an ice cream but I’m afraid that ice creams received no vote and beer won the day. Funny that!
Back on the path, as we left the village of Elterwater we saw the site of the former Elterwater Gunpowder works
The site has now been turned into holiday lets and hotel accomodation.
It was in 1824 that this site was chosen by a group of men to be a gunpowder factory.
This was mainly due to the site being able to harness the water power of an earlier established corn mill.
The factory eventually closed in 1930 and all of the buildings were burned down. This was a requirement by law to remove the danger of any gunpowder residue still remaining.
The site remained largely derelict for 50 years until purchased and converted into a holiday centre.
Along our route daily, there were many interesting sites to investigate.
This one in particular was one of the many caves on found on The Cumbria Way.
Perhaps this one being just after Elterwater had something to do with the Gunpowder Factory? I couldn’t find out any information online about it.
At our next stop, the village of Chapel Stile was another pub!
Wainwrights Inn was part of a larger hotel but still had a beconing outside seating area and large selection of Real Ales not to be missed!
We also picked up some drinks for the evening and food for breakfast there at the village shop.
Well it was time for Jen to have a go on a swing………
The final stretch of the day was the path from Chapel Stile to Great Langdale.
Lots of mountains were to be seen to the left and to the right.
In the distance the Pike O’Stickle peek was looking particularly impressive.
Our accomodation for the night was The Great Langdale Bunkhouse.
After freshening up in the excellent showers we had dinner and drinks next door to the bunkhouse at The New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.
The bunkhouse was good basic accomodation. We had a room to ourselves with bunk beds in.
It wasn’t Lynne and Jen’s favourite accomodation though as we had to share 2 electric sockets to try and charge three phones.
There was also no WiFi in the bankhouse itself, but that was available in the hotel.
Although the room had a kettle, which we knew about beforehand, we also though there might have been some mugs.
We had brought our own tea and coffee but no mugs.
However we managed to improvise and make cups out of our empty plastic breakfast porridge pots!
Where there’s a will there’s a way, you know? 🙂
So folks that ends Day 2 Coniston to Great Langdale.
Be sure to check back soon for Day 3 Great Langdale to Borrowdale.
Coniston to Great Langdale – The Cumbria Way Video
If you enjoyed reading this then you might also be interested in reading about our other adventures such as our hike of The West Highland Way last year or our videos of our coast to coast walk of Hadrian’s Wall.