For this ‘My outdoors’ Q&A, we’re heading to the dramatic peaks and lakes of Cumbria. Of all the regions we’ve featured so far, this one is probably the most synonymous with outdoor adventure. However there is also a gentler side to the Cumbrian landscape, as Andrea Runkee from Go Lakes explains…
So tell us a bit about yourself
I have worked on the Adventure Capital project for Cumbria Tourism for the last three and half years, the project promotes outdoors and adventure in Cumbria. I have always worked in the outdoors trade since leaving agricultural college – way back when.
What’s Cumbria’s best kept secret, away from the tourist hubs?
I live in the Eden Valley , which is a place that time almost forgot. There are very few visitors when compared to the lakes, but is it beautiful, with the River Eden flowing down the valley flanked by the lakes hills on one side and the Pennines on the other. Great area for cyclists too.
What’s your favorite way of exploring the Lakeland countryside?
On foot, either mine or on horses – equally at home on either.
I’m on a tight budget, any tips of accommodation?
Camping – I have always camped, mainly because I like the independence of it and there are so many ways to camp from roughing it in basic sites to glamping it up. Check out the Adventure Capital site for listings.
No visit to the Lake District would be complete without getting on the water. What’s the best way to explore?
I enjoy Canadian canoeing (open boat, single bladed paddle), mainly because the dog can come too and I think seeing things at water level is totally different and you can really appreciate how big and deep the lakes are and how high the mountains are. It is easy to do on Windermere, Coniston, Ullswater and Derwent, where canoes and kayaks can be hired with tuition.
Where’s your favourite spot for eating al fresco?
I like Long Meg Stone Circle, ready made table tops and the view of the Pennines is amazing. Or the top of Loughrigg for a great view of Ambleside and Windermere.
What if I want to take things up a gear and try something more extreme?
I think I have tried it all, bouldering and climbing (much younger days), via ferrata with my local WI (the ladies who came along were amazing and everyone completed the classic route), canoeing, open water swimming, mountain and road biking are just some of the great things to do, but don’t forget things like kite surfing and kite buggying at Barrow and sea kayaking off the coast, horse riding on the beaches. Just be sure to use the instructors to be safe and get the most from your adventures.
So where can I find out more about planning an outdoorsy weekend in Cumbria?