Ullswater Way & Helvellyn Challenge

Majestic panoramas around Ullswater and Eastern Fells

The Ullswater Way is a newly finished trail route which circumnavigates the shores of Ullswater, the second biggest Lake in England and the Lake District. The circuit itself takes in a 20 mile route through some of the most beautiful and varied environments on offer in Lakeland, whilst always staying in touch with the Lake throughout. This route offers an extra twist on the challenge, by including an ascent of Helvellyn halfway round the route and a high level route to rejoin the Ullswater Way at the next stage.

A steamboat service operates on the Lake year round, and provides us with a number of useful options. Members of your party who wish to complete only sections of the route with you can joint the steamboats at one of 4 locations on the Lake that are conveniently placed at equal distances around the Lake, which means individuals can join or leave at different points. It is also possible for team members to wait out at Glenridding and rest whilst the Helvellyn ascent is completed, as the route can meet up easily for the next stage of the route. Cafes and toilets, are often also available at a number of these crossing points. Together, these options give you the option of a fairly flexible challenge to take account of differences in abilities with team members whilst avoiding breaking up the continuity of the challenge for team members.


A full circuit of the Lake including an ascent of Helvellyn is a demanding route for those who are in very good physical shape, have completed a good deal of physical training prior to the challenge, as it involves ascent of a steep and exposed ridge route onto Helvellyn summit in addition to the challenge of the circuit itself. Completion of the Ullswater Way circuit (Lake only) is still a demanding undertaking, but whilst the route undulates and involves a few sustained ascents, it involves no large mountain climbs.

The challenge can be set up in two ways;

Either as a standard two day challenge as standard where we would expect to complete an ascent of Helvellyn and a section of the circuit on the first day and the continuation of the rest of the Lake circuit on the second. For many clients this would be the more appropriate option.

Or as a one day challenge with a target time of around 16 hours to complete the challenge. It should be emphasised that this is a very demanding challenge with a high mileage and a lot of continuous time on foot, with a steep and challenging mountain ascent halfway. In this way this option is only suitable for those who are in excellent physical shape with a good deal of preparation prior to the challenge, and with at least some prior experience of moving over steep and rocky mountain terrain.

We recommend that in the lead-up to this challenge, participants work on building up their stamina with weekly cardio-vascular exercise of a minimum of 1 hour per day, 5 days per week to build up their calf + quad muscles. We can help you prepare for this event – for  information about our  pre-selection / training day click here.


Arrival day

Check into your accommodation in Pooley Bridge followed by early evening team briefing. Alternatively, we can arrange transfers from Penrith Rail Station.

Second day - Walking

From Pooley Bridge, we ascend to meet the open fell at Roehead cresting the hilltop to meet the ancient Cockpit Stone Circle on Barton fell. From here we get our first extended views of Ullswater if the condtions are clear before descending towards it under the shadow of the steep slopes of Arthurs Pike (532m) to our left. We pass by the deep cut ravine of Swarthbeck Gill before returning to habitation at the remote hamlet and bay of Howtown, where there is a small pub, cafe and steamboat pier. From here we veer round to the left passing around a prominent headland, marking the base of Hallin fell (388m), a shapely sumiit marking the halfway point along the lake on the East shore. We continue along through beautiful and diverse woodland slopes past the hamlet of Sandwick. From here the path undulates further as it weaves over the contours of the slopes to our left and veers round to give a grand view back North along the lake from the beachy cove created in the lee of Silver point. We go round the end of the lake and enter the villages of Patterdale and Glenridding, nestled in the shadow of Helvellyn. For those continuing from here, we join the Helvellyn ascent path to Hole in The Wall from Patterdale, a physical and demanding slog up the flanks of Birkhouse Moor. You are rewarded for your efforts as you cross the stile at the top and the view opens out into the real mountain cirque of Helvellyn in front of you. An ascent over and down the rocky crests of Striding and Swirral Edges offers some of the most airy and memorable ridge scrambling England has to offer, using hands and feet thoughout to climb to reach the plateau and Helvellyn summit at 950m, definitely an experience to remember. From here the route descends to valley floor again and rejoins the Lakeshore route from Greenside mines. We make our way to Aira Force waterfall on the East Side of the Lake and then stay high on the Gowbarrow traverse, which offers spectacularly panoramic views back along the lake and towards Pooley Bridge in good conditions and our last high point before descending with interest through forest and farmland on our return to Pooley Bridge to complete this epic circuit.
Distance 40km, ascent 2087m, Descent 2071m, Target time Standard challenge over two days or v. Strenuous 16 hour challenge, Terrain – rough mountain paths and exposed ridge scrambles.

Key Information

  • Advance booking required, minimum 8 weeks notice
  • Minimum group size 8, or reduced number by prior arrangement
  • Bring your own hiking gear and spare clothing in event of poor weather
  • We have First Aid and emergency equipment and are qualified to use it
  • Meeting point is Penrith or Pooley Bridge
  • We can arrange transfers from Penrith Railway Station if required

Package Includes

  • Two day’s walking with experienced and licensed guides
  • Accommodation for two nights
  • Breakfasts and packed lunches
  • Training guidance information
  • Personal kit list and advisory service
  • Support transportation as required
  • 2-way radio communication – all staff
  • Trekking poles and head torches if required
  • Cotswold Outdoor Voucher – 15% discount
  • Photographic highlights of your event uploaded to Dropbox
  • Local information plus second to none service with passionate staff!

Duration: 1 or 2 Day

Activities: Walking 

Suitable for: Private or corporate teams looking for a charity fundraiser, personal development and/or team building event.

Comments: A tough 40km circuit structured over 2 days and strenuous over a single day including Helvellyn via Striding and Swirral Edges. Participants should have a head for heights and be comfortable operating on loose broken ground and traversing ridges with a degree of exposure. However, it is also possible to avoid the crest and take the less demanding lower level route along the ridges.

Prices from: £225

Call: 017687 75337

Booking Enquiry

Package Prices


From £325 / 2 Day or £250 / 1 Day

Guest House – bed & breakfast + packed lunch
15% off Cotswold voucher
Head torches and Trekking poles included
Price is per person

Enquire now


From £300 / 2 Day or £225 / 1 Day

Hostel – bed & breakfast + packed lunch
15% off Cotswold voucher
Head torches and Trekking poles included
Price is per person

Enquire now


From £350 / 2 Day or £275 / 1 Day

Hotel – bed & breakfast + packed lunch
15% off Cotswold voucher
Head torches and Trekking poles included
Price is per person

Enquire now

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