If you are looking for an entry level Lake District walk near Ullswater then you might want to follow the rocky path up to Lanty’s Tarn (a tarn is a little mountain lake or pool, formed in a cirque cut out by a glacier; imagine a pretty, high-altitude duck-pond).
You will need:
Wellies/ hiking boots
Some nice sandwiches
Turn right off the main road in Glenridding and follow the beck (you should be on the same side of the beck as Glenridding’s few shops)
Keep following the beck until the road turns into a dirt path, you’ll pass a few ramshackle buildings and eventually come to a sign-posted fork in the road.
Follow the sign for Lanty’s Tarn which leads you left and up a slight incline and past a final cottage (the last outpost of civilization before the big climb). You pass through a way-marked gate, and move onto a footbridge and through a gate, where the fell-walking begins in earnest.
A craggy path of stones leads you up a steep climb through alders, until you come to a path which starts to zig-zag around areas protected against erosion.
You’ll come to a gate on your right- ignore if for now and carry on left, all will become clear on the way down.
After a final steep push the terrain levels out to reveal a spectacular view of the lake and the surrounding area. If you continue over the crest of the hill you’ll see a gated, secluded area. Pass through the gate and you’re at Lanty’s tarn.
To get down, retrace your steps until you come to the aforementioned gate (you know, the one we ignored). It’s marked with the remains of a signpost, effectively now just to vertical bits of wood. Go through the gate and proceed across the hill, bearing slightly right and downward, you’ll squeeze in between a couple of big rocks and past a unusual looking tree on your right before you catch sight of buildings.
Keep following the trail of little yellow arrows until you come to a bridge. Cross the bridge and you’ll hit asphalt. Follow the road in the direction of the adjacent beck’s flow and you’ll eventually be back on the main Glenridding road.
I can see my house from here...
The walk to Lanty’s Tarn is as good as the reward at the end of your journey. It's challenging enough to feel rewarding but also easy enough that a couple of beginners like us could gambol happily up, leaping around from rock to notable rock like springy-legged children. At any point on the walk you can stop to gather yourself and be greeted with incredible views.
We particularly liked coming across a lone bench amongst the alder trees (touchingly dedicated in memoriam) on which we could stop and refuel and take in a naturally-framed view of Ullswater and our Lake District hotel.
You will feel out of puff and pricked with perspiration by the time you get to the top, but the view from the apex of the walk will really take your breath way. Ullswater looks stunning from this vantage point, and the imposing surrounding hillsides are staggering to city folk like us. When the sun breaks through the cloud and lights up the hillside in a blaze of russet and umber, or picks out the blue waters of the lake against the forbidding darkness of the still-shady surrounding hills it’s really something, and all the more thrilling because you feel like you’ve earned it with the trek.The tree-lined tarn itself is a lovely, unexpectedly serene and secure spot. A few ducks are likely to be your only company as you scarf down your sandwiches on a handily situated big flat rock, and it’s a splendid remoteness and isolation that you feel as you enjoy the bounty of your walk. There is also a nice viewing spot to the right of the tarn where you can take in a full 360 degrees of unobstructed Lakeland beauty.
The way back takes you down at a much gentler incline, so it’s nice and easy on your knees and there’s little chance of momentum becoming your master and sending you hurtling uncontrollably back towards sea level. It’s a pleasant and sedate way to wind down the walk, as you head towards the picturesque farms and cottages of upper Glenridding.
As a final treat, why not stop off at the Travellers Rest pub (you’ll pass it in the final throes of the walk if you’ve followed the directions properly) to replace lost fluids and talk the talk about how you walked the walk.