Your guide is Mark Richards, one of the most famous Cumbrian walking guide authors and former friend of the late, great Alfred Wainwright
Mark Richards - outdoor writer, linescape artist and podcast presenter - learned his craft under the wing of the great Lakeland walking guides author Alfred Wainwright, after they became friends in the early 1970s.
He is living proof that walking and hiking is great exercise for physical and mental health at all ages, for Mark has enjoyed the great outdoors all his life.
Mark adapted AW's handscribing style and has launched Fellranger guides to all the Lakeland fells. He’s appeared alongside Julia Bradbury in her Wainwright Walks TV series, has released DVDs and most recently has moved into the world of podcasts, including one based on Wreay Woods nature reserve next to Scalesceugh Hall.
Of course, we named some of our villas after Wainwright, so it seemed only right that Mark should introduce us to some of the many wonderful walks in the area which are suitable for people in later years...
George Bernard Shaw wrote “We don’t stop playing when we get older, we get older when we stop playing”. Therein lies a great maxim and a call to explore the wonderful open space beyond the comfort of our cosy homes.
Fresh air and rejuvenation beckons and it does not require us to climb great mountains or journey to exotic resorts of renowned beauty a’throng with tourists.
No, on the doorstep of everyone there are places of peace and invigoration, of surprise views and spellbinding nature.
Here in north Cumbria we are blessed beyond words, we have quiet river valleys and gentle hills and paths that like green veins of wonder lead us to discover completely new aspects of a land we only otherwise know from motor roads.
Things not only look different, but we feel different when off the beaten track.
The local villages to Scalesceugh are all gifted with secret sides.
I adore the wander down the Petteril through Wreay Woods to Newbiggin Bridge.
Indeed, I created a Countrystride podcast about the area recently with Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s youth liaison officer Jamie Normington (please listen here).
It was sheer magic so near to the Hall, and the M6 for that matter, but a world away in every way. It was like stepping into a forgotten native forest, entertained by water birds and ancient woodland life.
One can also stroll up to the tiny village of Wreay itself, visit the remarkable church and its grounds and the Plough Inn, a great place for a light lunch.
Easy walks in Cumbrian villages
This pattern can be replicated in many local villages. Talkin is a classic, a seven-day-a-week open pub at the centre of little village. a stone’s throw from the Pennine fells of Geltsdale and an enchanting lake with its own café, the mile-round path a regular stroll for all ages.
Castle Carrock similarly has its pub and direct access to Geltsdale; from Jockey Shield you can gently pass down to Hynam Bridge and do the fabulous two-mile loop and even climb the little scarp-top of Talkin Fell, with its handsome parade of eye-catching currick cairns from where you look down on Talkin Tarn and north into Scotland.
A whole gallery of exciting hills in view from Skiddaw to Criffel and The Cheviot and the Whin Sill scarp of Hadrian’s Wall and near at hand the great Pennine mass of Cold Fell and Tarnmonath.
Explore Ullswater on foot and by ferry
Should you wish to sample the stunning beauty of Lakeland itself then there is no doubt that you should set foot on the Ullswater Way, a 20-mile circuit of the most gracious of Cumbria’s exquisite symphony of lakes.
The walk has only the most modest of gradients throughout its course, and can be taken in short stages using the steamer between four jetties – buy the official guide on sale locally, written by yours truly!
Walk the Lake District Fells
Should you relish climbing any one of the amazing gallery of fine fells in northern Lakeland, or anywhere in the National Park for that matter, they feature in my eight-volume Walking the Lake District Fells – All the Fells, All the Routes series, published by Cicerone.
This series is in the throws of a major refit with the Patterdale and Mardale volumes set for release in early March 2020. Langdale and Wasdale came out autumn 2019. Keswick North and Buttermere come out this coming October 2020, while the final pair, Coniston and Borrowdale, burst on the scene in March 2021.
Hadrian's Wall and the Cumbrian Coast
But there is far more to Cumbria than the fells, there is a coast and a linear monument from the classical age, namely Hadrian’s Wall.
You can use my Cicerone guide to trace its course from Bowness-on-Solway to Carlisle, marching on eastwards easily through a gentle pastoral landscape, coming upon a the most remarkable exhibition of the major frontier stonework at Birdoswald Roman fort.
We’ll bring you more form Mark soon, but for now, read more about his life, walks, guides, podcasts and stunning linescape drawings at