Rucksack Readers

Rucksack Readers => Cumbria Way, Ulverston to Carlisle => Topic started by: TomAMoore on April 07, 2008, 07:34:16 pm

Title: Cumbria Way vs West Highland Way
Post by: TomAMoore on April 07, 2008, 07:34:16 pm

I am planning a week + long hike this fall or next spring. I am thinking about either doing the Cumbria Way, in England's lakes or the West Highland Way. I have hiked in the Lakes several times, but never in Scotland. I have done long day hikes, but never back to back days (though each year here in the States I do a week-long bike ride of the C&O canal in MD).

Anyway I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions to help me in deciding which trail to do. I have the older West Highland guidebook and video.

Thanks in advance


Title: Re: Cumbria Way vs West Highland Way
Post by: Stottie on April 10, 2008, 10:11:39 am
Hi Tom
The two trails present similar physical challenges but are very different in feel. Here's my take on them.

WHW starts on the outskirts of Glasgow, and when I walked it I felt that each half-day had its own special characteristic as I progressed towards wilder scenery. The opportunity to add an ascent of Ben Nevis from Fort William after the walk is over is an option you might want to take up. The return journey by train from Fort William to Glasgow is also a delight, whether you've tackled the Ben or not.

Whichever direction you walk the CW, you finish with more of a whimper than a bang. (For me, the defining character of a good trail is a noteworthy finish, hence my preferred direction of travel on WHW). I would be inclined to walk the CW from the south, but when I reached Keswick I'd stop and do some day walks on the surrounding hills/mountains, then return by bus/train. My reason for this is that the field paths etc towards Carlisle feel like an anticlimax.

On balance the WHW is the better trail. The CW passes through fine scenery with a seemingly infinite number of route options available to anyone who can use a map or compass, and if the weather is foul there are public transport options.
Over to you!

Title: Re: Cumbria Way vs West Highland Way
Post by: TomAMoore on April 10, 2008, 11:13:40 pm

If I do the CW I planned to stop in Keswick, in fact I might just do Coniston-Keswick and spend rest of time in Lakes. I guess that is one of the positives of the CW, there are options for a shorter trip. That doesn't seem to be the case with the WHW.

Whichever way I do it, I will pay to have someone haul my bags, which is great. Not an option here in the States for long-distance trails. (I did part of the AT backpacking back in the stone age of my youth.)