The Route

Route Synopsis

Section 1 – Rockcliffe to Carlisle

Distance:                   Approx 12 miles (19 km)
Height Gain:             Approx 500 ft (152 m)     
Walking Time:         6 to 7 hours

We begin the walk by trying to get as close to the Eden’s exit into the sea as possible, using a path across the salt marshes of the Solway. We then turn around and walk beside the river for the majority of the rest of the day, using riverside paths, field boundaries and wide meadows, never more than a few feet from the river. Towards the end there is a short section of road walking through Etterby, before we return to the riverbank, all the way into the ancient city of Carlisle.

Section 2 – Carlisle to Armathwaite

Distance:                   Approx 15 miles (24 km) 
Height Gain:             Approx 1200 ft (366 m)   
Walking Time:         7 to 8 hours

We leave Carlisle through the scenic environs of Rickerby Park, using a riverside path on the southern bank of the Eden for a couple of miles. When no more footpaths are available we use quiet country lanes and bridleways to cut across country through the tiny village of Scotby, to Wetheral. From there we return to the riverbank, using tranquil shaded paths through the beautiful Wetheral Woods and Edenbrows Wood to Drybeck, from where a short section of quiet lane and sheep pastures lead us into the village of Armathwaite.

Section 3 – Armathwaite to Langwathby

Distance:                   Approx 11 miles (18 km)
Height Gain:             Approx 1,100 ft (335 m)  
Walking Time:         5 to 6 hours

A satellite view of today’s walk would fill us with anticipation, at the prospect of walking beside the Eden down the beautiful wooded gorge between Armathwaite and Kirkoswald. A closer inspection of the map however, reveals no public footpath access to this stretch of the river. We must be satisfied with the pleasant walk through Coombs Wood and then quiet lanes to Kirkoswald where we meet the river again. In the afternoon we stick close to the Eden, using lush meadows and shady riverside paths, visiting Lacy’s Caves and then along a disused mine access track and a short section of quiet road to reach our overnight stop at Langwathby.

Section 4 – Langwathby to Appleby

Distance:                   Approx 15 miles (24 km) 
Height Gain:             Approx 1000 ft (305 m)   
Walking Time:         6½ to 8 hours

We begin today along the quiet tarmac lane to Culgaith which offers expansive views across to the mountains of the Lake District and the Southern Pennines. We soon pick up the river again though and spend several pleasant hours walking beside it through woods, fields and meadows. A complete absence of any riverside access towards the end of the day forces us across rolling green pastures before picking up a quiet footpath into the heart of Appleby, the old county seat of Westmorland.

Section 5 – Appleby to Kirkby Stephen

Distance:                   Approx 12 miles (19 km) 
Height Gain:             Approx 1,000 ft (305 m)  
Walking Time:         6 to 7 hours

We leave the bustle of Appleby and follow a lovely riverside path for the first couple of miles today. When the footpaths run out we take to a quiet country lane and then use farm tracks and bridleways to rejoin the Eden at Warcop. A short stretch beside the river and we’re forced into the fields again, across pasture land, trying to stay as close to the river as we can. We have to resort to quiet lanes from Little Musgrave, for the final couple of miles into Kirkby Stephen, with tantalising glimpses of the hills on tomorrow’s walk.

Section 6 – Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale Head

Distance:                   Approx 18 miles (29 km) via source     
Height Gain:             Approx 2,800 ft (853 m)  
Walking Time:         9 to 11 hours

Distance:                   Approx 13 miles (21 km) no source     
Height Gain:             Approx 1800 ft (549 m)   
Walking Time:         6½ to 8 hours

We leave Kirkby Stephen following the Eden, past the falls in Stenkrith Park and into the splendour of the Mallerstang Valley. Using hay meadows and old drovers’ tracks, we pass fortified manor houses and old castles, entwined with ancient legends. The river we have followed for 80 miles becomes young before our eyes and we climb, past the falls at Hell Gill up to the source; Eden Springs on Black Moss Fell. Mission complete, we descend again to follow a good path along The High Way and down to our destination at Garsdale Head. Celebratory drinks can be found in the Moorcock Inn, or a train home from nearby Garsdale station.