Walking Lakeland's Lakes and Tarns

In May this year Kendal resident David Collinson plans to walk a novel route around the Lake District to raise money for Sheffield Hallam Hospital and Cumbrian mountain rescue teams.

David Collinson above Kendal, 148 kb
David Collinson above Kendal

The 52-year-old solicitor, who works in the magistrates court service in Cumbria, aims to visit 65 stretches of water in a 12-day circuit of the National Park. His route includes all the major lakes in the district, along with many high tarns and several rivers, plus 35 Wainwright summits and eight famous passes.

'My starting point at Kendal Town Hall is symbolic, as this is where Wainwright worked as town clerk' explains David.

From here he'll aim first for Haweswater. Major lakes on the circuit will then include, in order: Hayeswater, Brotherswater, Ullswater, Thirlmere, Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite Lake, Loweswater, Crummock Water, Buttermere, Ennerdale Water, Wastwater, Coniston, Esthwaite Water, Elterwater, Grasmere, Rydal Water and finally Windermere en route back to Kendal. The planned route is roughly 180 miles long, with about 35,000 feet of ascent.

David has been a keen walker since a school trip up Harrison Stickle in 1973; he has climbed all 214 Wainwrights at least twice, and completed challenges such as the Yorkshire Three Peaks and the Bob Graham Round.

'Hitherto I have always walked the high fells' he says 'But for this walk I wanted to do something a bit different so this time I'll mainly be looking up to the fells rather than looking down from them. To me it will be refreshingly new, a different way to get around the National Park. Perhaps my route is unique?'

Ullswater from St.Sunday Crag, 109 kb
Ullswater from St.Sunday Crag
© Dan Bailey

In 2009 David was diagnosed with a benign tumour in his head. This affected his face, and surgery at Sheffield Hallam was required.

'I want to raise money for the hospital that did this to show my sincere gratitude, and to share any amount I raise with the local Mountain Rescue Teams here in Cumbria too. Both do a magnificent job' he says.

In preparation David is walking stretches of the route, and in the next few weeks hopes to fly around his planned circuit in a light aircraft. Local accommodation providers will be helping him out with beds along the way, and sponsorship from friends, local businesses and professional bodies has already raised over £4,000.

'BBC Radio Cumbria will be following my progress. So no pressure then!' he jokes. 'I would like to raise at least £5,000 in total, but I appreciate that times are hard and people have been very generous already.'

Wastwater, 79 kb
© Dan Bailey

'My tumour could have seriously damaged me, or perhaps worse. I am grateful and thankful that it now seems to be receding. Last year I stood on Steeple looking down towards Ennerdale and just took it all in. I am very lucky in that I live and work in a fabulous part of the world and I appreciate it all.'

    To make a donation David Collinson can be contacted by email

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