Being a dad is the greatest adventure on earth. It’s not unlike climbing a mountain. It requires stamina, patience and ingenuity, not to mention a touch of luck to avoid stormy weather. It takes a lot of effort but the rewards for being shattered at the end of each day are huge.
Any dad who loves the outdoors naturally wants his children to share his enthusiasm. Who wouldn’t want a miniature walking buddy pestering them to get outside at every opportunity?!
But getting their first experience of the mountains right is vital and part of that involves choosing the right walk.
So, this Father’s Day, here’s my pick of three walks in the Lake District which will leave your kids hungry for more!
Ideally situated in the middle of the Lake District, Loughrigg Fell is a perfect introduction to the hills. It’s not too high, there are little tarns to discover on the way and plenty of facilities nearby. There’s a cracking view of Lake Windermere disappearing towards the south and you can start your walk from a number of locations.
Best to save this one for a fine day; there are lots of sheep tracks across the fell which can make for some confusing route-finding in mist.
One of my first mountain memories, Catbells is a good choice for little legs. The path zigzags gently upwards along the spine of the range and the views across Derwentwater to one side and the Newlands Valley to the other improve with every step.
There’s some scrambling to do on the way which adds to the excitement (it looks worse than it is) and you can keep the enthusiasm levels up by looking for the little wooden door where Mrs Tiggy-Winkle lives.
Combine this with a boat trip from Keswick and you are on to a winner.
OK this isn’t a mountain but a walk around Buttermere is an excellent low-level introduction for young adventurers. It’s in a beautiful valley, accessed by the Honister Pass, which youngsters will think is a rollercoaster ride.
There’s a good path for the duration of the walk with an exciting tunnel on the eastern shore. Plus there’s some great ice cream to be had at Syke Farm Tea Rooms.