1. Spot wild ospreys at Bassenthwaite Lake
Wild ospreys recolonised Bassenthwaite in 2001 and, although there’s no guarantee, they have returned every year since to nest and breed on the lakeshore here.
At the upper viewpoint, high-powered telescopes are provided. On most days during the season (April till August or September) you’ll be able to see these majestic birds fishing and feeding, hovering over the lake, then plunging feet first to catch their prey.
© David Hughes/Shutterstock
2. Test your nerves at the Via Ferrata
The Via Ferrata (“Iron Way”) uses a system pioneered in the Italian Dolomites as a way to get troops and equipment over unforgiving mountain terrain.
By means of a permanently fixed cableway and clip-on harness, you follow the miners’ old route up the exposed face of the mountain, clambering up and along iron rungs, ladders and supports to reach the top of Fleetwith Pike.
The Classic route is exhilarating enough. Die-hard thrill seekers can take things one step further with the Xtreme route, with more vertical climbs and cliff-face ladders.
3. Visit the Castlerigg Stone Circle
One of the Lake District’s most mysterious landmarks, Castlerigg Stone Circle sits atop a sweeping plateau, dwarfed by the encroaching fells. Some 38 hunks of Borrowdale volcanic stone, the largest almost 8ft tall, form a circle 100ft in diameter. The stone circle probably had an astronomical or timekeeping function when it was erected four or five thousand years ago, but no one really knows. Whatever its origins, it’s a magical spot.
© Nigel Eve/Shutterstock
4. Hop aboard the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
You’d have to have a heart of stone not to enjoy the ride on the fabulous Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (known locally as “La’al Ratty”), a narrow-gauge steam trip from the Esk estuary to the foot of the western fells.
It originally opened in 1875 to carry iron ore from the Eskdale mines to the coast at Ravenglass, but now pays its way by transporting gleeful passengers on a seven-mile, forty-minute ride up two of the Lake District’s prettiest valleys.