7 Activities for an Adventure Break in the Lake District

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7 Activities for an Adventure Break in the Lake District

The Lake District is justly famous for its beautiful scenery and for its historical association with poetry, but it is also one of the UK's foremost areas for outdoor adventure. A number of outfitters, camps, and other businesses offer adventure packages, gear rentals, and tours, or visitors can also explore on their own. Popular options include rock climbing, biking, and paddling.

Climbers can choose among a variety of difficulty levels, from novice to advanced, including many bouldering routes. Bike routes include everything from short, quiet trips to epic journeys, both on road and off. Paddlers can choose from lakes, rivers, or the ocean. With such a wide variety of choices, a newcomer might be able to use an overview of the available options, including lists of some of the best areas for Lakeland adventure recreation and some applicable safety tips. Some tips on how to book lodging and travel for an adventure in the Lake District could help as well.

 Rock Climbing

Rock climbing really includes two different activities: climbing and bouldering. Bouldering routes are shorter and require less safety equipment, but can be just as challenging, athletically and technically, as longer, higher climbing routes. Either type of climbing combines the physical challenge of a sport, the spiritual challenge of confronting the primal fear, and an opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of exposed rock.

 Activity 1: Going Rock Climbing

Lake District's rock climbing is some of the best in England. By some definitions, the best rock is high up in the mountains at Scafell, Pillar, Gimmer, and Dow, but these crags are all vulnerable to bad weather. Safer and more accessible sites are found at Shepherd's, Reecastle, Raven's, and Castle Rock. Each of the Lake District's many valleys has several distinct climbing areas, each of which has its own geology and character. The following table lists popular Lakeland climbing areas, together with a brief description of each.

Climbing Location



Large crags plus some slate quarries

Langdale Valley

Includes mountain crags, lower elevation climbs, and bouldering

Eskdale Valley

Easily accessible granite crags, the more remote and dramatic Esk crag, plus some bouldering

Scafell, in Wasdale

The highest crag in England

Great Gable

Features south-facing routes that dry quickly; includes the famous Napes Needle


The only lake country mountain accessible only by rock climbing


A beautiful valley, has several different climbs, including multi-pitch routes

Borrowdale Valley

Very popular, easy to get to, fast drying climbs

Thirlmere Valley

Popular and sheltered climbing

Swindale Valley

On the eastern side of the Lakes District; usually dry when the central areas are not; includes a variety of difficulty levels

St Bees Head

Challenging sandstone crags and a variety of bouldering routes by the sea

Chapel Head Scar

The largest of a group of limestone crags in the Southern Lake District

Note that this list is not exhaustive and these areas also each contain multiple climbs. Depending on which climbs a climber chooses, Lakeland climbing offers limestone, sandstone, slate, granite, gabbro, and a variety of distinctive volcanic rocks. While some climbs are bolted, most require leaders to place their own protection.

Activity 2: Going Bouldering

The term bouldering generally refers to rock climbing without getting very far above level ground. Bouldering typically does not involve using safety ropes, although many climbers place crash pads at the base of the rock, just in case. The Lake District has a number of great places to go bouldering, featuring a variety of rock types and environments. Climb on sandstone by the sea at St Bees, volcanic rock up in the mountains, or granite near Kentmere or Carrock Fell.

 Rock Climbing Safety

Never climb alone, always wear a helmet and make sure to inspect all safety gear regularly. In case of injury, learn to recognise and properly respond to major injuries such as those to the brain or spine. Be aware that serious injuries do not always have obvious, dramatic symptoms. Never place a hand or foot out of sight as a crevice may contain something venomous. Be cautious about the weather, particularly wind and lightning. Be aware that shallow caves and rock overhangs do not provide shelter from lightning, since electricity can move through some rock types or across the surface of wet rock, and sometimes arcs across gaps in the rock.

Part of safe climbing is not threatening or damaging others, including not threatening vegetation or animals. Do not attach safety lines to plants, as this can damage them. Never clean lichen or other growth off rock, as these are actually complex communities that can take centuries to develop. Learn how to enjoy the rock without damaging anything else that lives there.


Biking also comprises two distinct activities: mountain biking and road biking. The two different sports use different bikes and even different techniques. However, both types of cycling are great ways to explore the countryside, and both share certain safety and logistical concerns.

 Activity 3: Road Biking

The Lake District has some excellent opportunities for road biking, including some challenging high passes. Because of the rural character of the area, most of the roads are both quiet and scenic. Some major roads can get busy at times, however, so riders should exercise caution when planning routes.

 Activity 4: Mountain Biking

Mountain biking in the Lake District can be either about altitude and intensity or about epic adventure. Both Helvellyn and Skiddaw, two of the UK's most exciting peaks, can be summitted by mountain bike. The region has so many long, interconnected bridleways that it is possible to put together routs nearly 200 kilometres long. Remember to ride only along routes where bikes are permitted; land managers have reasons for designating certain areas for specific uses, and riding in areas not maintained for mountain biking can cause serious degradation of the path.

 Bike Safety

Always wear a helmet when on a bike. A helmet cannot prevent all types of possible injuries, but it does protect against some of the most serious injuries. Avoid riding alone, especially on longer trips or in isolated areas. Learn how to provide basic first aid in the event of an accident and especially learn to recognise and respond to symptoms of head injury, spinal injury, and internal bleeding, any of which can kill if not treated properly. Remember that it is possible for the spine to be broken without the injured person being aware of the problem, especially if he or she is distracted by other injuries or an injured companion. Remember to bring adequate water. An extensive first aid kit is usually not necessary but bring the basics and learn how to improvise.

For mountain biking specifically, be careful to always maintain control of the bike; flying downhill out of control is fun, but sooner or later someone is going to get hurt. On new trails, ride cautiously. Save anything daring for familiar territory. Do not be ashamed to walk sections where safety is in doubt.


A great way to explore any landscape is by water. The Lake District includes lakes, rivers, and even ocean access. Water adventure includes rowing and sailing, but paddling is especially popular.

 Activity 5: Paddling on Lakes

As the name implies, the Lake District certainly has its fair share of beautiful lakes, though most are referred to as waters, tarns, or meres. Paddlers and other recreational boaters should get both an up-to-date weather report and a copy of the user agreements and bylaws applicable to the particular lake before setting out. Be particularly cautious about wind, which can not only whip up dangerous waves but also blow small craft across the water. Weather can change very quickly. Avoid jetties and piers where commercial vehicles come and go, to minimise the chance of accidents.

 Activity 6: Paddling on Rivers and Streams

Rivers and streams in the Lake District include some challenging white water, though there are quieter sections as well. The important thing to remember, aside from safety and fun, is that most of these waterways are subject to access agreements that allow paddlers to enjoy the water but do not allow unlimited access. In some places landing for whatever reason may be prohibited. Before going out on the water, make sure to find out what the applicable access agreement is and where exactly it is OK to enter and leave the water. Following the rules and being good guests is the only way to make sure paddlers continue to have access in the future.

 Activity 7: Ocean Paddling

Ocean paddling, like lake paddling, is mostly a matter of respecting the wind. Because ocean waves are usually more powerful than lake waves, it can be difficult to get back in a boat if it turns over. For this and other reasons, do not go out to sea alone. The Coast Guard recommends a minimum of three boats in a group for safety. There is also the tide cycle to consider, which can dramatically change both currents and landing opportunities. Be aware that while access to the sea is open, access to the land is not. Some areas of the coast restrict landings.

 Safety on the Water

Safety on the water begins with wearing a life jacket, even for people who are excellent swimmers. If a paddler is injured during the accident that turns the boat over, swimming effectively may not be an option. Almost as important is dressing for the cold. Water in the Lake District is chilly even in the summer. Water pulls heat out of the body much faster than air does and the symptoms of hypothermia include both impaired judgement and loss of physical coordination. Depending on the water temperature at the time, a paddler swimming unexpectedly could become unable to self-rescue within a matter of minutes. Dress for immersion, just in case. Also, use the right type of boat.

Kayaks and canoes are made in a wide variety of specialised styles, and bringing a lake boat or a play boat on serious white water, or any equivalent mix-up, could be very dangerous. Respect any wildlife encountered, and do not approach, harass, or feed them. Finally, learn how to paddle; underestimating the power of the water or wind, or overestimating one's strength or skill can ruin an otherwise wonderful day and force other people to endanger themselves by launching a rescue attempt.

 How to Buy Lodging and Travel Services Through eBay

eBay can help with holiday planning because it lists plane, train, and bus tickets, hotel rooms and related services. Finding these services is fairly simple. A few suggestions on how eBay works may help.

 How to Find Lodging and Other Services Through eBay

To search for holiday-related services, simply type a short phrase such as 'short breaks Lake District' or ' car hire' into the search box. If a large number of results come up, then use the menu options to narrow down the field. Which services are listed changes from time to time, but eBay is still a great way to find good deals.

 How to Buy Travel-Related Services Through eBay with Confidence

Depending on how a service is listed, it may or may not be clear to buyers whether the service is really appropriate to the buyer's needs. In these cases, use the contact link on the seller's profile page to ask any questions. The profile page also shows the seller's feedback score.


The Lake District is one of the UK's most beloved places for all sorts of recreation, but especially outdoor adventure. This one area combines some of the best road cycling, mountain biking, rock climbing, and water sport in the country. Newcomers to outdoor adventure or people looking to expanding their activities from one sort to another can start by getting an overview of what is available in this area.

Get a good idea of what places are particularly good for rock climbing or bouldering, what safety and legal concerns apply to different types of paddling, and what types of cycling are available in the Lake District. With these leads in place, it is easier to decide which activities to pursue where and what more information to get. Once a basic plan has been developed, it is time to sort out logistics, such as where to stay and how to get there. Fortunately, eBay can help by listing hotel packages and related services.

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