Through the Viewfinder
And What Alice Found There
Now that the weather is getting (slightly) warmer and evenings are getting longer, it’s the perfect time to start getting out after work for an evening hike. After a long day at the office (or wherever it is you work!) there’s really nothing better than letting off some steam and taking in the gorgeous Lake District views while watching the sun set. And with sunset time getting later by the day there’s even more chance of you being able to catch the golden hour if you happen to be late out of work!
There’s so many good hikes in Cumbria that it’s hard to choose my favourites but I’ve selected what I believe to be 5 of the best walks to do when you’ve only got a few hours free in the evening. Nothing too strenuous + amazing views = excellent post-work walking!
1. Hartsop Dodd
Hartsop Dodd was one of the first after-work hikes I ever did and it was certainly one to remember! With gorgeous views down to Brotherswater and the valley of Patterdale this classic Lakeland fell is surprisingly easy to climb. With impressive 360 views of the taller surrounding peaks there’s something interesting to look at in all directions - watching as the sun painted the valley red is a memory I will never forget! The route is simple, starting from the small car park in Hartsop and following the footpath straight up the side of the fell. Don’t forget to take a picnic so you can sit and enjoy the views from the top!
2. Caudale Moor / Stony Cove Pike
The initial steep and rocky climb up and along Raven’s Edge on this walk should not be enough to put you off – the steepness is over quickly and once up on the grassy fell ridge it’s easy walking in some of the most beautiful and peaceful Lakeland countryside I’ve come across. Hidden away between the mountains the path up to Caudale Moor is usually very quiet, offering a short 2.5 hour round trip where you’ll most likely have the fell to yourself. If you’re bagging Wainwright’s the official top is called Stony Cove Pike with fantastic views of the neighbouring Kentmere Horseshoe and on a clear day you’ll also spot Thornthwaite Beacon! On the way up or down stop off at the Caudale Moor summit cairn too for views further down Kirkstone Pass. There’s also a monument near this cairn in memory of a local father and son which is worth a visit. At the end of your walk pop into the Kirkstone Pass Inn for a pub tea or a pint – the perfect end to any hike!
3. Hartsop Above How
Another walk in the Patterdale area, starting from the car park at Cow Bridge next to Brothers Water. Take the path through the woodland, climbing up the fellside until you’re above the tree line and onto the ridge. Once up on the tops you’re rewarded with amazing views over to Angletarn Pikes, Rest Dodd and Hartsop Dodd – a beautiful sight in the light of the setting sun! If you’re hiking in summertime look out for the cottongrass spreading out along the ridge and the Herdy’s that like to hide amongst it!
4. Alcock Tarn
This walk won’t take you to the top of any mountains (although you could lengthen it to take in a few Wainwrights if you wanted to) but it will offer you one of the best picnic spots in the Lakes! Only a short 1 hour walk from Grasmere village, Alcock Tarn is incredibly peaceful despite the main road lying just below. Tucked away between the peaks it’s a true mountain tarn and if you look at it from the right angle it gives the impression of a natural infinity pool stretching out towards the horizon – bliss! Enjoy a picnic on the quiet shore of the tarn, or if you’re feeling brave take a dip in the chilly waters! You’re likely to be the only ones up here as it’s relatively quiet – this place is one of my all time favourites!
5. Scout Scar
Again, this walk isn’t a mountain hike but it’s such a classic walk I had to include it in my list! If you live in or near to Kendal and haven’t been up Scout Scar then where have you been?! It’s a favourite with locals, especially dog walkers, as it’s such an easy and pleasant walk – perfect for an evening stroll when you don’t want to travel too far from home. Despite being a small hill with not much climbing involved, Scout Scar boasts some stunning views over the Lyth Valley with it’s green, rolling hills and quaint little farmhouses dotted here and there. If you go up to the Mushroom monument you’ll also get the view of the Lakeland fells explained with a handy panoramic diagram so you can work out which other hills you’ve climbed in the area! Head up here and find a seat on the grass to watch the sun set over the valley, or set off a little earlier and walk further along to the official trigpoint, looking out for the local herd of cows that live up on the fell.
6. Loughrigg Fell
Technically this post says these are the top five after work walks but I had to sneak another one in – so my bonus number 6 is Loughrigg Fell! Although I haven’t actually done this walk in the evening (the last time I went up was for sunrise!) it would make an ideal short hike when you’ve only got a spare few hours after work. Starting from Rydal Water and following the footpath along Loughrigg Terrace you’re greeted with a gorgeous view of Grasmere lake before heading up the rocky path to the summit. Once on the top there’s a trigpoint to stop off at for photos, then loads of different paths to try and navigate back down! One of the paths leads down towards Rydal Cave which would make a good loop walk, but many of the other paths lead down into the neighbouring valley towards Loughrigg Tarn. Be careful not to take a wrong turning! If you head back towards Rydal Water be sure to stop off and enjoy the views of this quiet lake before going back to the car and check out the cave if you’re passing by!
With summer just peeking round the corner and better weather on the way (fingers crossed!) I’ll hopefully be able to get out over the next few months and discover some new after work hikes to add to my list.
Where’s you’re favourite place to go in an evening? Share your routes in the comments below!