With record numbers of visitors set to head to the Lake District this year, a team of seasoned walkers who guide groups across the landscape are dusting off their walking boots ready for the first guided walk of the year this weekend.
People take to the hundreds of routes around the Lake District year-after-year, exploring mountains, fells, tarns, caves and lakes, but not all are confident enough to navigate their way through unknown territory.
In a bid to make the landscape accessible to visitors and encourage those with varying levels of experience to explore the Lake District, the National Park Authority recruits a group of expert volunteers to lead guided walks each year.
Beth Kennedy, Volunteer Team Leader at Lake District National Park said: “A guided walk gives visitors the opportunity to be led through the Lakes by a real expert with years of experience hiking across these hills. They can leave their map and compass at home and relax knowing they’re in safe hands!
“Locals also enjoy exploring the Lake District in this way as it’s a really sociable way to get outdoors. It doesn’t matter what level of walking experience you have, there are routes for all abilities.”
The Lake District, which boasts peaks topping 900 metres, lakes stretching for miles, 13 valleys and more than 200 fell tops, attracts more than 18 million visitors each year.
A new schedule of walks for 2018 will set-off this Sunday with a guided route of ‘Hills, Gills and Falls’ in Coniston, and multiple routes per month will follow until the end of October. Guided tours even include hikes to the summit of world-famous peaks Scafell Pike and Helvellyn, which was this year voted Britain’s favourite walk.
Beth Kennedy added: “We have a fantastic, dedicated and experienced team of volunteers who are extremely passionate about the Lake District. They guide more than 2,500 walkers each year and they couldn’t be more excited to pull on their walking boots and kick-start a new season.”
Lake District National Park volunteer walk leader, Tricia Brown, said: “Our guided walks are categorised by ‘easy’, ‘moderate’ and ‘hard’ to be suitable for a range of ages and levels of experience; from people looking for a gentle amble to those seeking an adventurous hike. You could find yourself exploring ancient caves, staring up at wild waterfalls, exploring historical houses or of course looking onto the beautiful lakes.”
Prices to join a guided walk vary from free to £10 and all proceeds are put straight back in to protecting the Lake District National Park. To see the full schedule and book your place visit: www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/the-blog/blog-posts/slipped-up-planning-your-route
Photo shows a guided walk group exploring Legburthwaite in the Lake District last summer.