Seathwaite Tarn
Seathwaite Tarn

I’m not a summit bagger.

Sure, I like the sense of achievement that comes from getting to the trig point at the top of a hill/mountain.

Ok, I admit that I have a summit ritual (once around the trig point, or cairn, in an anti-clockwise direction).

Yes, I hate accepting defeat and retreating off a climb before I reach the top.

But none of those things are the reason why I walk/climb.

I’ve never been one to collect a tick list.  All the Wainwrights in the Lake District.  The Scottish Munros.  The 3 Peaks (Yorkshire or National).  I understand why they’re appealing and occasionally I have considered creating one for myself.  However, I have friends who, when faced with the choice of doing a quick there and back to bag another tick, would have no hesitation in going for it – and it’s just something I’ve never been that bothered about.

We all walk and climb for a multitude of reasons, none of which are right or wrong.

Whilst a summit tick feels great, it’s never ever the reason why I’m in the hills.  For me, being in the hills, up high, is enough.  I love to see down into the valley below.  I love to look across at the ridges and summits of other mountains in the distance.  I love to experience the incredible majesty of nature.  I love to find the peace that for me comes when I’m in the mountains.

A circular walk from the Duddon Valley brought all this together for me.

The col between Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag
Between Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag

I always think of Duddon as being the quiet side of the Lake District, a little bit on the edge of everything.  However, it’s still easy to get up high from here – taking in Seathwaite Tarn, with options to bag the summits of Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag, then wander up high for a while before dropping back down Walna Scar road and return into the Duddon Valley once more.

Looking across the Lake District
Looking across the Lake District

On a clear day at the summit of Dow Crag, you can get a view right across the Lake District.


The difference between the Duddon and Coniston sides of this walk were noticeable.  The whole of the Duddon side of the walk was quiet, empty and peaceful.  The Coniston side was busy and the paths a well worn scar on the hillside.

Walking from the Duddon Valley gave me a perfect mountain day, taking in everything I love but without the crowds.

So, if like me you enjoy a little peace and quiet in the hills, check out what the Duddon Valley has to offer.

Just don’t tell everyone.


One thought on “Why I head to the hills

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