Binsey: Small Hill, Big Views

Last weekend we both fancied a walk on the easier end of the scale. Sam was still getting over the Spine Challenger, while I had foolishly worn high heels to work for the first time in a year and a half, with the raw heels to prove it. We therefore decided to take a trip over to the Lakes to tick off Binsey, a small fell on the northern fringes of the Lake District, described by Wainwright as ‘a viewpoint of outstanding merit’. Our previous excursions to the slopes of Castle Crag and Sale Fell have proven to us that the best views of the bigger fells can be enjoyed from the summits of their smaller (and easier) counterparts, so we set off full of expectation of an easy morning well rewarded, and we were absolutely right.

Binsey had previously been recommended to me as a walk with great views for minimal effort. It had therefore been bumped up my to do list and we chose the very easy to follow linear route up to the summit from Binsey Lodge (free roadside parking), which we found on the WalkLakes website.

At only 447 metres Binsey is one of the smaller Wainwrights, and the ascent from Binsey Lodge is by far the easiest route to the summit of a Wainwright that we’ve followed to date. The walk is a steady incline up a grassy path, not particularly steep but enough to get your heart pumping, before arriving at the summit in a surprisingly short period of time: it took us about 25 minutes to get from the car to the summit, with plenty of stops to take photos.

The views, both on your way up and on the summit, are spectacular. Save this one for a clear day as all of the enjoyment is from being able to soak in the marvellous Lakeland scenery which surrounds you. On the ascent/descent, the views towards Skiddaw are impressive enough to have convinced us that when we tackle Skiddaw, we will be doing so from the north to get more of these views.

The panoramic views don’t stop there: in the distance the treetops of Whinlatter are visible, or look westwards for views towards Buttermere. From the summit, look over the Solway Firth to clearly see the hills of Dumfries and Galloway.

Navigation was very easy, with the broad grassy path taking you straight to the summit. This was a pleasure in summer but I imagine it could get pretty boggy after wet weather! We got there early and had the fell pretty much to ourselves, but we did start to see a few people arriving on our way back down. As this is such a short hike though I can’t imagine it will ever be massively busy (like Scafell Pike is) as by the time the next lot of people arrive, the previous lot will be finishing up and heading home!

As we still had plenty of time before needing to head home we decided to head to the Craggs Coffee Shop (cash only) a short drive away where there was an excellent choice of cakes! There was plenty of inside seating but as we had the dogs we chose to sit outside in the small garden area so we didn’t have to leave them in the car.

Dog friendly rating: 3/5. This is a short walk and great for popping out on a summer morning before it gets too hot. There’s no water along the way (at least not when we were there, apparently there’s a small stream in winter) so carry extra for your dog or at least have some waiting for them in the car. As with most Lake District walks, there are sheep grazing on the hillside, so dogs should be under close control (preferably on a lead).

The two big pluses for this walk are that there is no road walking and no stiles – the only lifting required is if you want to take a photo of your dog on the trig!

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