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Ambleside, the starting point for Stage 2, is a lively and compact town, nestled between mountains and lake in an almost Alpine-like setting. Its strategic location led the Romans to build a fort by the lake at Waterhead, but it was the Norse-Irish farmers who really saw the potential here and founded a settlement in the 10th century.
- Cicerones Tour of the Lake District
- Windermere - Ambleside (Tour of the Lake District)
- Rosthwaite to Grasmere
- Grasmere to Patterdale
- Patterdale - Windermere
- Ambleside - Elterwater
- Elterwater to Coniston
- Coniston to Eskdale
- Eskdale to Wasdale
- Wasdale to Black Sail (Tour of the Lake District)
- Black Sail -Buttermere (Tour of the Lake District)
- Buttermere to Keswick
- Keswick to Rosthwaite (Tour of the Lake District)
Ambleside - Elterwater
2 - 3 hours
A second wave of prosperity began in the medieval period. For several centuries afterwards the town's fortunes thrived, based on the wool trade. At its peak Ambleside had up to eighteen mills in operation, producing flour, cloth and bobbins (the latter for the Lancashire cotton industry).
The tourist industry took a little while to reach Ambleside - the inaccessibility of the central lakes area prior to the arrival of the turnpike road in 1761 would have required a determined traveller on a packhorse to get to the town. But since the mid-18th century Ambleside has been wedded to tourism - and has never looked back.
On leaving the town, the route goes over Loughrigg Fell and into the heart of the Lake District on easy-to-follow trails, with spectacular views. Throughout this stage you are surrounded by fells and water. Fells with evocative names such as Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam and Pike o'Stickle form the backdrop to this stage, whilst in the foreground water is very much the theme. You'll see Windermere lake from Loughrigg, pass the lily-covered Loughrigg tarn, continue on to the frothy waters of Skelwith, and finish by the tranquil waters of Elterwater, journey's end for the day.