Explore the Lake District with Steve Watts MBE

We’re proud to partner with local expert Steve Watts MBE, to offer you a bespoke guiding experience in the Lake District.

If it is your first time visiting the Lakes and you’re wondering where to start, Steve offers an introduction to the Lakes guided walk and talk, during the day you’ll visit hidden gems from waterfalls to caves along with the most stunning of views. For the more experienced walker Steve has a number of routes for you to explore. With over 40 years experience of running and walking over the fells Steve will ensure you get the most out of your stay.

As our Langdale Chase walking guide we caught up with Steve to learn about his passion for getting people into the great outdoors.

Steve & Sally his old running partner and retired Trailhound

So Steve, what brought you to the Lake District?

Having left the Grenadier Guards in 1978 whilst on a visit to the doctors I picked up an old Times magazine which featured a story about Joss Naylor, a fell running legend & Lakeland sheep farmer, who had ran over 72 peaks over 100 miles and 38,000 feet of climbing, all within 24 Hours! I asked an artist friend if he could paint a watercolour of the picture featured in the magazine, then wrote to Joss to see if he would sign the picture for me. Joss invited me and Christina, my wife, to his remote Bowderdale farm in the Wasdale valley. On arriving at Joss’s farm we were greeted by his wife Mary who informed us Joss was out on’t fell with his dogs bringing sheep down to lower pasture and shouldn’t be long!

Within minutes Joss appeared – ‘thee must be Steve!’. Having chatted and signed the picture it was time to leave but not before Joss gave us some words of advice ‘Steve you need to stop thee smoking, lose some weight, and get on’t fell’, Joss’s words of encouragement and inspiration were to change our lives forever!

Back to Manchester and me and Christina bought our first pair of trainers and a couple of tracksuits, at first it was one step forward and ten back! I packed in the cigarettes and joined Rochdale Harriers, the club had a strong fell running group, one in particular Tom Sykes, who took me under his wing, a seasoned fell runner and orienteer. Tom asked me to support him on his attempt to summit 50 Lakeland peaks at 50 years of age within 24 Hours, which would also incorporate the Bob Graham Round of 42 peaks, Tom went on to successfully complete his challenge, sadly I succumbed to cramp climbing Steel Fell after approximately eight hours of running and had to abort. I completed the run in 1984 becoming Bob Graham Round member 311, a day amongst friends, family and fells I will never forget.

Sunrise over Lakeland fells from Fairfield, Steve Watts

It was a hugely emotional moment when at the Bob Graham Round Dinner Joss Naylor, the Clubs President, began presenting the BGR Certificates to the new members, when he read my name I went to the stage but before he gave me the certificate I said to Joss I had something for him first. It just so happened to be a framed picture of our first meeting at his farm, I thanked him for his advice when we first met – that I needed to ‘stop thee smoking, lose some weight and get on’t fell’ – ‘bloody hell lad its not thee is it!’

The family were now hooked on the stunning beauty Lakeland has to offer, every day is different, and what I enjoy more than anything is trying to inspire the next generation of Lakeland lovers for they are the future custodians.

Through running I have been able to raise millions for children’s charities, the first major event being Children Running For Children which helped to raise £1 million pounds to provide Children throughout the North West with it’s very own CT-Scanner.

How would you introduce The Lakes to our guests?

What I like to do is showcase why people came here in the first place, the sheer beauty, the heritage.

I offer a totally bespoke experience for families couples or individuals to Langdale Chase, the most popular walk is the ‘Introduction to the Lakes’ which offers everything starting and finishing at the reception, we visit Rydal Hall with its stunning grounds and hidden waterfalls, we then make our way to Grasmere the ‘loveliest spot that man hath found’, maybe a taste of the famous Gingerbread, before embarking on a walk through Deerbolts Wood on to Loughrigg Terrace for one of the best views in Lakeland, for the more ambitious we take a walk up heavens stairway to the summit of Loughrigg for a panorama that will take your breath away. To finish we return via Rydal Water & Rydal Caves.

Grasmere from Loughrigg Terrace, Steve Watts

For those seeking more of a challenge then there are many routes I can offer. We’ll have a chat before hand to find out fitness levels and what people are wanting form their day.

How to book a day out with Steve.

Get in touch with our reception when making your booking and we’ll see if Steve is available for your chosen dates. We will then put you in touch with Steve to organise your unforgettable day of discovery in the Lake District.