Walking the Edge

If the measure of a great walk is how much better the Guinness tastes at the end, then Striding Edge in England’s Lake District is possibly the greatest walk in the world.

One of the things I love most about the Lake District is that every path, rock, fell and valley has a name to make you think you’re pacing through the cutting room floor of an unpublished Tolkein novel: Crinkle Crags, Starling Dodd, Pike O’Stickle and the Old Man of Coniston. Nothing makes a walk more satisfying to finish than giving it a name like an ogre’s lair.

And Striding Edge is the king of them all—a thin rocky ridge that makes up one of the routes to the top of Helvellyn, which in turn is one of the tallest peaks in the Lakes. Sweeping views in all directions reward the summiter, and a glance back down the Edge from the top is one of the more dramatic sites of any of the Lakes’ great walking routes. Striding Edge should be scrambled up by anyone who thinks England is all rolling hills, village greens, cricket matches and country pubs.

Even better is that in the Lakes, none of that is ever far away: in the case of Helvellyn, you can begin and end your walking day in the peaceful village of Patterdale on Lake Ullswater. The Lakes combine the best of England’s gentle pastoral landscape with the best (indeed the only) of its craggy glacially carved mountain tops, all in a pretty tiny geographical area. When you’re high up in the Fells surrounded by swirling otherwordly mists, no sign of civilization in sight, it’s hard to imagine you’re rarely more than 2-3 hours from the nearest pint.

Jack is a trip planner, and silent advisor to the royal family. To find out more about his homeland, contact him at jack@trufflepig.com.

Sweeping views in all directions reward the summiter, and a glance back down the Edge from the top is one of the more dramatic sites of any of the Lakes' great walking routes.