Three miles west of Ambleside along the A593, Skelwith Bridge marks the start of Great Langdale, a U-shaped glacial valley overlooked by the prominent rocky summits of the Langdale Pikes, the most popular of the central Lakeland fells. You can get to the pretty village of Elterwater – where there’s a tiny village green overlooked by the excellent Britannia Inn – by bus (17min); the bus then continues on to the Old Dungeon Ghyll hotel at the head of the valley (30min). Three miles from Elterwater, at Stickle Ghyll car park, Harrison Stickle (2414ft), Pike of Stickle (2326ft) and Pavey Ark (2297ft) form a dramatic backdrop, though many walkers go no further than the hour-long climb to Stickle Tarn from Stickle Ghyll. Another car park, a mile further west up the valley road by the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, is the starting point for a series of more hardcore hikes to resonant Lakeland peaks like Crinkle Crags (2816ft) or Bowfell (2960ft).