Introducing Lakes Bottom to Top

Emily Woodhouse Adventure Stories, Big Adventures, Living Adventurously

As regular followers of this blog will know, I often spend a winter week in the Lake District each year. Typically in February, with everything crossed for snow and good conditions. This year will be the same… and a little different.

I’ll be staying up in Braithwaite again, like last year. But, quite how we get there is going to be different. It all started with a conversation that went something like:

“Wouldn’t it be funny if we got dropped off early and walked up to Braithwaite from the bottom of the Lakes?”

“Yeah, that sounds fun.”

“Shall we do it next year?”


And so almost 1 year down the line, here we are.

The Route

Again, in typical Emily fashion, the route has not quite been finalised yet. The idea is to be dropped off – either at Tebay Services, or a motorway junction just before. From there, we’ll make our way onto open land – walking across and then up the Lake District.

The big thing is that our route must include Pillar. It’s the one big mountain in the Lake District that I haven’t been to yet. Since it’s also pretty difficult to get to from Braithwaite (or many other places, without a lot of driving) we need to tick it off on this walk.

The Challenges

Snow – if any arrives – could be a big challenge. Or at least add an extra dimension to the expedition. I have never camped in the snow before. At least, I’ve never pitched up when there was already snow on the ground. I have been the first person to crunch through a new layer in the morning.

In terms of gear, I have all of the equipment for a standard walking expedition (see this kit list). But I’m much more lacking in winter kit. For example, I still don’t own an ice axe – believe it or not! So far I’ve begged and borrowed my way into winter mountaineering. I got a pair of crampons last year, but that’s basically as far as it goes for dedicated winter kit. So far I’ve made do with sunglasses, but I could really do with some snow goggles. Learnt that last year the hard way…

Of course, it might just be slush or rain. But it’s far better to be prepared. We’ll be checking the forecast beforehand.

Some other considerations are:

  • Carrying all the kit over to Braithwaite and still having enough stuff for the rest of the time in the Lakes after the expedition. I’ve learnt from my new year trip that it’s an absolute slog carrying lots of clothes and a laptop.
  • Finding a kind person to drop us off at beginning of walk. There might be a chance to send a small bag up to Braithwaite without me having to carry it…

Why are you doing this?

There is no big story behind this trip. It’s just a case of two people saying “that would be fun” and then actually seeing it through to reality. I encourage you to take these crazy ideas you have seriously. Even if you just entertain the idea for a few minutes – to see how it might happen, instead of immediately dismissing it. That’s how adventure happens.

Aside from this, it would be good to get some expedition experience in winter conditions. That is if the weather will participate. And of course, to get to Pillar. But, you know, the mountain’s not going anywhere.

How can I follow the challenge?

I will keep this adventure page updated with the route and any other developments. Other than that, as always, give me a follow on social media for pictures, snippets etc. I’m @travellinglines everywhere except Twitter, where I’m @travellingline.

Anything else? What have I forgotten? Ask me anything! 

And if anyone can think of a more catchy name than “Bottom to Top” or “End to End” please tell me!!