Adventures around Ullswater

The view across Ullswater from Place Fell - Nature's Playground

The view across Ullswater from Place Fell – Nature’s Playground

My Top 10 Adventures Around Ullswater, Glenridding and Patterdale

One of the themes emerging from the current discussions around the potential installation of Zip Wires above Glenridding (see is the notion that the valley needs to  offer more options for “adventure” seekers. Utter nonsense in my humble opinion. The Dale already offers a huge range of activities to keep even the most ardent adrenalin junkie happy. So for what it’s worth here are my Top 10 Adventurous Activities around the southern end of Ullswater.

Morgan on Swirral Edge

Morgan on Swirral Edge

1. Walking

The obvious one, and one I’m lucky to be able to indulge in every day of the year. Being the owner of  Morgan, the mad labrador, every walk is an adventure. This area of the Lake District offers all manner of walks to suit all levels of ability, energy and enthusiasm. If you want an adrenalin rush I can recommend heading up the top of Helvellyn after a fresh overnight snow fall – aim to be there as the sun rises over Striding Edge for the best experience. Or you could try an endurance walk like our annual 30 mile, 10,000 feet of ascent Patterdale Parish Boundary Walk – always an adventure especially if you’re navigating along the fell tops in thick mist. I walk around here every day and see a different perspective every time I go out – whether it’s the colours on the fells, the wildlife or the views. Helvellyn, St Sunday Crag, Fairfield, Place Fell, The Dodds – they’re all on the doorstep waiting for you to have an adventure – so get out there and enjoy….

Running along the top of Striding Edge (not me!)

Running along the top of Striding Edge (not me!)

2. Running

Being shaped like an over inflated rugby ball myself I’m not exactly built for trail and fell running. However I can see the appeal and Morgan certainly makes the most of it every day. As above, the fells are there aplenty and the area plays host to a wide range of annual fell running events, including the Ian Hodgson Relay, the Ullswater Trail Running Events, and of course the Helvellyn Triathlon. I find it exciting enough coming down a scree slope at walking/sliding pace, so to run down must be one heck of a thrill….

My son trying a new form of water biking in Brotherswater

My son trying a new form of water biking in Brotherswater

3. Mountain Biking

Another obvious choice – whether it’s on the low level paths around the Dale, road biking up and down the Kirkstone pass, or hauling yourself and your bike on to the top of High Street. I even saw some brave soul struggling up the path towards Helvellyn on a unicycle yesterday – now that’s what I call adventurous….

Climbing up the face of Helvellyn

Climbing up the face of Helvellyn

4. Climbing

Another one not suited to Labradors and their owners in tandem, but one with huge potential in the Dale. Just head up the Grisedale Valley most days in the week and you’ll see intrepid youngsters from Patterdale Hall or the Outward Bound Centre rock climbing and abseiling….

Gyhll Scrambling around Ullswater

Ghyll Scrambling – Photo courtesy of Reach Beyond Adventure

5 – Ghyll Scrambling

Another great activity for youngsters, alongside canyoning, cliff jumping, and many other adventurous activities – all of which are available in the area. There are many great local companies that offer organised experiences guaranteed to offers thrills and spills, all under the experienced and watchful guidance of full trained instructors (including Reach Beyond Adventure and Distant Horizons). Or you can just take Morgan for a walk and watch him have a go all on his own….

Morgan the Sledge Dog

Morgan the Sledge Dog

6 – Skiing

Skiing, snow boarding or (if you’re Morgan) sledging. All great fun and ideal activities when the snow arrives (as it soon will). We are home to the Lake District Ski Club who have a centre up at Greenside Mine and a ski tow on Raise. When the snow’s really good you can ski all the way down to the village – now that’s an adventure….

Morgan sledges without the sledge

Morgan forgets to strap on his skies

Sailing on Ullswater

Sailing on Ullswater

7 – Sailing

Ullswater is often called England’s most beautiful lake and the position of the fells around it also makes for some of the best inland sailing in the country. The lake plays host to many exciting regattas including the annual Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy. There are also some great sailing schools in the area, including the Glenridding Sailing Centre where you can get expert tuition or just hire a dinghy if you’re already a nautical type….

Exploring Ullswater by Kayak and Canoe

Exploring Ullswater by Kayak and Canoe

8 – Kayaking & Canoeing

Another great way to have an adventure on Ullswater – stunning views and plenty of excitement. Canoes and Kayaks can be hired from the Glenridding Sailing Centre and St Patricks Boatyard, and many of the outdoor companies like Reach Beyond and Distant Horizons will provide expert tuition and guided tours. You can also hire boats at St Patricks Boatyard in Patterdale – one of the best days we’ve had was island hopping around the lake in one of their boats….

Family Swimming

Family Swimming

9 – Swimming

Another great adventure in itself. Ullswater is an ideal place and hosts various swimming events through the year, including the Triathlon. Don’t just limit yourself to the obvious. For a bit of added excitement head up to Angle Tarn or Red Tarn – probably not ideal for swimming in the winter (unless your name’s Morgan) but a great way to cool off mid walk in the summer…

Morgan Place Fell

Morgan enjoying the infinity pool atop Place Fell

wildlife around Ullswater

Red Squirrels, Red Deer, Roe Deer and Plenty of Sheep

10. Wildlife Watching

Final one of the top ten – the adventure of heading out on a walk and bumping in to any number of beautiful creatures. Red deer, roe deer, badgers, foxes, all manner of bird life, and if you’re luck enough to see them, red squirrels. Now that’s exciting…



So is that it?

Well no. That’s just my top 10. Everyone will have their own thoughts and favourites and there’s plenty of other things to try, from fishing to archery. So come along and try it out for yourself. Click the link for more Things to do around Ullswater.

What’s all this in aid of?

As I said at the start, one of the arguments being used by some to justify the idea of installing zip wires above Glenridding seems to be that there’s not enough to do there at the moment. Utter rubbish as far as I’m concerned and I hope you agree. If you do then please join the #noziphere campaign by visiting the website at, where you can sign our petition and find other ways to fight the good fight and allow people to continue to enjoy the many adventures available around Ullswater without the need for fairground rides.

Say no-to zipwire in Glenridding

Say no-to zipwire in Glenridding


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2 Responses to Adventures around Ullswater

  1. Love the Lakes says:

    Great blog – love the photos, especially of morgan

  2. GILLIAN BEGGS says:

    ​Brilliant Rob! There is an abundance of things to do here…proof positive.


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