At last winter has arrived in the Lake District and Northern Pennines! After a very mild start to the winter it is good to see the fells with a covering of snow.
When winter conditions can be found a great way to explore the fells is on a pair of snow shoes. No longer are they the large wooden tennis racket shaped affairs worn by the Native North American people. They are now made from plastic or aircraft grade aluminium and rubber making them easier to use and suitable for use on more technical terrain.
Slip your feet in to the easy bindings and away you go. With some basic instruction you can soon enjoy the freedom they bring over deep soft snow.
The Northern Pennine fells are a wonderful place to snow shoe. These fells are rounded and covered in soft grass and heather making walking in snow shoes perfect. With great views of the Pennines and across to the Lake District National Park this area is a forgotten part of Cumbria. You will certainly see few people as you wander from top to top and along limestone edges.
Much of the area is grouse moorland or nature reserve so it will not be long before you hear and see the grouse, you will find tracks in the snow for these, plus rabbits, mice and other creatures. As well as wildlife there are remains of old mine workings and tramways giving you a glimpse of a bygone age.
Start a trip from the Hartside Cafe on the A686. At just under 2000 ft this roadside car park gives you panoramic views and easy access to the higher fells, not to mention the chance of a cuppa after a good walk. Starting here allows you to enjoy spectacular scenery in a short time so half a day’s walking can be very rewarding.
These fells can be difficult to navigate in poor weather so make sure you have good navigation skills or go on a guided trip. With a guide it is also possible to do a linear walk from Hartside down to Melmerby or Ousby and get a lift back to collect your car making a great full days walk possible.
When conditions allow and the lower slopes of the Pennines are covered then half day walks can be enjoyed through the fields and lower fellside hills.
Snow shoeing is a great activity for all ages and snow shoes can fit feet from children’s size 13 upwards. So why not enjoy a family day out? Eden Outdoor Adventures offers snow shoeing in the North Pennines, Lake District and Scotland, as well as in the French Alps.