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A steaming good walk

Posted 25 July 2012
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A steaming good walk
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Many visitors to the Lake District miss out on much of its finest scenery and most interesting attractions by not heading to the west side of the national park, not least in Eskdale.

While the western valleys may take a longer and more circuitous journey to get to when places like Windermere are just a short hop from the motorway, there is a huge amount to see on arrival that will make the journey worth it.

Eskdale is one such valley, as a guided walk organised by national park rangers on August 2nd sets out to demonstrate.

It begins as the national parks meets the coast at Ravenglass, a place famous for its Roman bathhouse and even more so for its steam-powered narrow gauge railway.

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway - nicknamed Ratty - steams inland along a route featuring several stops before finally alighting in the village of Boot, surrounded by high fells.

Several paths start from this area up the two highest mountains in England, with the route from Brotherilkeld Farm up Great Moss being followed by a wild and steep climb between Scafell and Scafell Pike to Mickledore, offering branches off up Scafell via Foxes Tarn or Broad Stand, as well as to the summit of England itself.

However, the walk in question gets as far as Eskdale Green and then heads back to the coast, following valley and woodland over a 5.9 mile route, for which the guide states appropriate footwear is "essential", along with walking gear, so hiking boots and walking trousers should be worn.   

Walkers will be able to enjoy plenty on such a route, which crosses Muncaster Fell. The name Muncaster is also borne by a tarn - albeit an artificial one - and a castle.

The railway can also be used to access many other walks in the area, such as the Burnmoor Corpse Road. Starting near Boot, this crosses the plateau of Burn Moor and the large tarn of that name on its way to Wasdlae Head. This also offers a western route up Scafell.

Those who stay in the eastern half of the Lake District may have little idea what they are missing.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801414610-ADNFCR