This is the second time I embarked on a walking trip with a friend and without the help of my husband (see the first one here). The weekend involved getting lost and retrieving our steps pretty regularly. But overall I would rate it a ten out of ten walking holiday!
It’s a public transport + youth hostel wallet-friendly trip. This first post is going to be about how we get to YHA Borrowdale by public transport from Newcastle. In summary, it was train + train + bus + bus. Instead of my usual rambling style of the previous posts about walking in the Lake District, this post is going to focus on the practicality and how you can replicate it if you so desire.
(I just did a quick search. There are nearly 20 posts about walking in the Lake District on my website. I just made a separate tab called “Lake District” under Outdoor – Walking on the top of the page so you can find them all easily in one place.)
Firstly, we took one train from Newcastle to Carlisle (about 90 mins), then one train from Carlisle to Penrith (15 mins).
Penrith is my preferred place to do food shopping because the big Morrisons is just 5 minutes away from the train station. There are also a Booths and an Aldi nearby. You can wait till Keswick, there is a Booths right at Keswick bus station and a Co-Op nearby. But Booths is a bit more expensive and the Co-Op is a bit small.
Get on an X4 / X5 right outside Penrith train station.
The bus journey from Penrith to Keswick is about 45 minutes and about £8 one way. Keswick is always swamped by walkers, cyclists and tourists (also ordinary Christians during Keswick Convention), so I recommend leaving as soon as possible unless you need any gear or supplies you realised you left behind during all the previous sitting around and mind wandering. You can also get the must-try English Lakes ice cream here. My favourite is the rum and raison flavour!
Get 77 / 77A / 78 from Keswick bus station to Borrowdale.
Look for Rosthwaite at the bus stop (it does not list all the stops, only the main ones). There is usually a helpful Stagecoach guy in high-vis jacket selling tickets while you queue. Any questions, just go bother him. He’ll also let the bus driver know you have no idea where to get off, so just ask him or the bus driver to give you a shout when it arrives at Stonethwaite. 78 is one of the three open top double-deckers. Sit on the right hand side of the top level. You’ll have a better view of Derwent Water as the bus drives past and there are fewer attacking trees!
Get off at Stonethwaite.
Well done you made it! You should land at a crossroad of two small roads / paths. Spot the youth hostel sign and follow it till you see the site. That’s the first part of the adventure complete!
There are plenty things to do in the evening around there. I’ll talk about it in the next post.
Tip 1: All bus timetables and bus route maps are available online and a beautiful booklet is available at Penrith train station and on all the buses. Buses are the main way to get around in the Lakes. They are great! Check out the passes if you are going to use them a lot.
Tip 2: Have plenty cash and small change! Buses definitely do not take cards, and bus drivers run out of change often. There are free cash machines at Penrith Morrisons and Keswick Booths.
Tip 3: Take a note of the bus stop timetable: How long does it take to get to Rosthwaite from Keswick? There’s no phone signal soon after the bus leaves Keswick, so set your Google Maps early if you are using it to track locations. Otherwise, timing the journey gives you a rough idea when you approach the destination.
Tip 4: YHA Borrowdale’s check-in time starts from 3pm. Plan accordingly!