With three guidebooks on walking in the Lake District to his name, including his latest release Winter Walks in the Lake District, it’s safe to say Stephen Goodwin is an authority when it comes to finding the most beautiful, rewarding and intriguing routes in the national park. He was kind enough to share with us the details of some of the gems he’s discovered over the course of his wanderings.
Will Renwick: Do you have a personal favourite out of the routes in your new book?
Stephen Goodwin: No single favourite. I take the days as they come. If I want a relatively short easy day then perhaps the hike over High Rigg, with just a hard frost on its undulating hillocks, its tiny tarns all frozen over and the surrounding higher peaks mantled in snow. That can be a beautiful outing. If my mood is for something wilder then I’ll probably head for one of the ridge routes out of Grisedale or a climb up Nethermost Gully, a chance to engage ice axes and crampons.
How long did you spend planning and researching the walks – what went into it all?
In a sense the answer is decades because the book is an accumulation of knowledge gained over so many winters of hikes and climbs in the Lakes – long before I was thinking of writing guidebooks. Checking over all the routes with a deliberate intention of including them in a guide has taken about three years.
“The reward is the sheer exhilaration of meeting that challenge and finding yourself on top of a mountain so transformed by winter…”
Which route in your guide has the best viewpoint along the way?
Well all of the routes have great views, they’re bound for the fell tops after all. Even the easiest route in the book, up Latrigg behind Keswick, has a superb panorama – south across the town, along the length of Derwentwater to the jaws of Borrowdale and the central fells, while at your back rises Skiddaw and its lofty neighbours. Fabulous! And it’s only taken a hour or so to hike up there.