A Cumbria weekend with miles and smiles #BHsocialhike 1

It was time for another BaldHiker Social Hike weekend, #BHsocialhike, and a new weekend of hikes, new friends, old friends, miles and smiles. The venue this time was the upper Eden Valley, Cumbria and 2 contrasting but gorgeous hikes planned in and amongst the wine, food, chat, and laughs.

Some smiling and raring to go at Waitby School

The accommodation was secluded luxury at Waitby School, away from it all, on a hill near Kirkby Stephen. Everyone arrived on the Friday night, a lot of hellos and welcomes, and Saturday morning brought some cool sunshine with some of the group eager to get on the hills

@andywilliamson1 pauses to enjoy the views around

The fine details and views of each walk I will post articles and pictures for separately to give them the justice they deserve. The main idea I have for the BaldHiker Social Hike Weekends is people of all standards to enjoy some fresh air, social walks and take in some countryside. All without the pressure of speed, elitism, feeling they can’t do it. I like others to enjoy hiking and not to make them feel it is a hard slog. People from all backgrounds enjoying some great company together in the great British countryside.

@cindyvriend helps @animal_watch over a water hazard
@xwidep and @jenjenbyrd wandering up

The Saturday was hill day. From the accommodation I could show the guests our destination on a hill over yonder, The Nine Standards of Hartley Fell. A walk of about 11 miles there and back, up from Kirkby Stephen. In height terms it is not a big climb but the views and sights around the path up are absolutely wonderful. No rush, we had all day, and many miles to get to catch up or know each other some more.

A lunch break looking over the Eden Valley
Smiles at the top by The Nine Standards

The weather stayed perfect for us too. Not too hot at all and a winter sun to light the views. Everybody did marvellous and together we reached the top with everybody’s smile intact. Photos, cheers and hugs all round then time to head down and get ready for some different kind of social.


Refreshed back at luxury it wasn’t long before the wine was flowing at all of course. A huge treat was provided by Waitby School. The wonderful smell as we entered the accommodation was from the oven. A very perfect beef bourguignon made from local produce with local vegetables and for afters a very moreish sherry trifle! delicious. Cheers! 😀

Everybody has the chance to talk with each other on the first hike so the social evening becomes a great evening of food, wine, beer, banter and chat in front of the log fire.


The morning of day 2 can naturally bring rough heads and achy legs and feet. Not a day for big climbs but still a great day for miles and smiles. A flatter walk around a treasure of a valley was in order. This time it was Smardale. Out along an old abandoned railway line and back over a small fell.


It rounded off the weekend immensely. A fine leg stretch indeed. Views in all directions without the need to get to mountain tops. Hidden riverside stops and history found along the way.


and the smiles where still on the faces of all.

smiles and miles @dwraywilliamson


The sun was coming down as we got back round to the accommodation. The weekend had felt as it had been used to the full. We had laughed much, seen much and chatted much. I thank all who came along, it was a true joy. I look forward to the next one a lot and will put details up soon on the Social Hike page and that is where I will put details of any future ones in the planning. Maybe I will see you there? P.


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  1. Great pictures as always. Can’t wait to hike the Cumbria Way in spring ’14.

  2. Some great photos there.
    It’s a lovely part of Britain…could do with a winter writers break up there. 🙂

    1. Paul Steele says:

      It is perfect for it Sonya 🙂

  3. Chris - Part Time Vagabond says:

    Gorgeous images! Now I can’t wait to get back to England and actually hike some of those trails!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi Chris, would be great to see you on a future #BHsocialhike 🙂

  4. Looks like so much fun!!! One of these days hubs and I are going to get over there and visit!!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Would be so nice to meet you and hike with you yes 😀

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