The Eden, Cumbria’s longest, and to many eyes, most beautiful river is about 78 miles in length from where it enters the Solway Firth to the north of Carlisle, to its source below Hugh Seat high on Black Fell Moss near the head of the Mallerstang valley, and runs in a generally south to north direction.
The walk, from sea to source, takes us southwards through the rich red sandstone farmland of the Vale of Eden past many picturesque villages and townships, most of which have strong historical associations. There are several ancient castles and churches gracing the landscape, all of which justify a visit, whilst time spent in exploring the alley-ways, market places, and shops of the country towns visited, will be found to be time very pleasantly spent. Every village and settlement passed through, has its own charm and a wealth of history, and the walk in general is an ornithologists delight.
The walk commences at Rockcliffe on the Solway, following the river upstream past the City of Carlisle, through the sleepy Vale of Eden and the villages of Wetheral, Armathwaite, Kirkoswald, Langwathby, and then the country towns of Appleby and Kirkby Stephen, before entering the wild and ruggedly scenic Mallerstang valley, where the ruined Pendragon castle was once home to Uther Pendragon, King Arthur’s father. From here the countryside changes dramatically to high hills and wild fells, and the walker must be suitably equipped and clothed for the changeable ground and weather conditions likely to be encountered in this area. This walk commences in lush green pastures with easy walking alongside a slow-flowing river, and ends on a windswept fell at 688m. (2200ft.) above sea-level, so it is as well to be prepared, carrying warm and wet-weather clothing as a necessity, as well as sufficient food and drink, since this will not be available in the later stages of the walk, once you have started-out for the day.