Derwent Water and the Borrowdale valley are really exciting locations for training and racing. The varied terrain allows for lots of different types of training (and consequently many types of footwear!), and there are events and races almost every weekend. Many of our guests do the very friendly Keswick Parkrun (free timed 5km run at 9am on Saturdays). There is also a Parkrun in Whinlatter Forest, about 7 miles from the hostel, at the top of the Whinlatter Pass.

Fell running

Just run straight out of the hostel, up the waterfall path! The fells behind the hostel, to the east, are quiet and boggy: perfect for a cushioned run with panoramic views of the Helvellyn, Skiddaw, and Borrowdale ranges. Our staff regularly enjoy the circuit between Ashness Bridge, High Seat, and Bleaberry Fell. Please ask if you want any advice: there are so many route options that we can talk about!

Robert Graham, better known as Bob Graham, ran Barrow House as a guest house from 1943 to 1961. You may well have heard of, attempted, supported, or completed the fell-running challenge that commemorates this remarkable man: the Bob Graham Round (BGR). This challenge takes inspiration from the 42 peak circuit that Bob Graham completed in under 24 hours: starting and finishing in Keswick, the BGR really is the local 'circular' from Barrow House! Derwentwater Independent Hostel is a great place to prepare for the BGR, and we look forward to sharing our fell-running heritage with you. There is a memorial cairn to Bob Graham just above the grounds, on the right hand side of the Watendlath Road as you go up towards Ashness Bridge.

Local clubs Keswick AC and Borrowdale Fell Runners organise lots of friendly races throughout the year.

Trail running

Just run straight down the hostel driveway, onto the lake-shore path! Apart from the tarmac section through Portinscale and Keswick, the path stays pretty close to the lake-shore all the way round Derwent Water. This flat circuit is about 9 miles. Sometimes parts of the path are flooded - you can either splash through the water or do some extra miles to Grange in diversion!

The most local woodland trails are in Great Wood. Turn right at the bottom of our driveway (towards Keswick) and run along the road-side path. In less than a mile you will see the entrance to Great Wood on your right.

There are lots of other trails in the area - please ask if you want some advice.  

Click here to find out about the High Terrain Events trail running events. 

Road running

We are lucky to have some great road races which pass by our grounds: the challenging 22 mile Buttermere Round in February, the popular Derwentwater 10 in November, and the Keswick Half Marathon in May.

Unless you are in an organised race, we do not recommend trying to run on the Borrowdale Road for long stretches. However, the nearby Newlands Valley, St John's in the Vale, and the west side of Thirlemere have some quieter country lanes.

The nearest Parkruns are Keswick, Whinlatter, Workington, Maryport, Penrith, and Carlisle.


There are so many events! We have not listed them all here, but we have highlighted some of our staff favourites.

Lorton 10km in March: road race, raising money for Lorton Primary School Quiet country lanes around the village of Lorton, between Buttermere and Cockermouth. 

Keswick Half Marathon in May: organised by Keswick Rugby Football Club. Route: Portinscale - Swinside - Skelgill - Manesty - Grange - Keswick.

Keswick Mountain Festival in June: lots of races, talks, and have-a-go events.

Round Latrigg in August: a very friendly evening trail race, organised by Keswick AC.

Skiddaw in August: 9 mile trail/fell race organised by Keswick AC. From Fitz Park to the Skiddaw Man summit and back (same route out and back).

Penrith Rotary Trail Run: 10km trail race near Penrith, in the grounds of Lowther Castle, raising money for Penrith Rotary.

Derwentwater Independent Hostel
Barrow House
CA12 5UR
Telephone: 017687 77246

Thank you to Geoff Williams, Rebecca Laff, Fiona McCarthy, John and Sam Snyder, and KTA for generously providing inspiring photographs.
Thank you to Lisa Bamford at Stoats and Weasels for designing our website, and to Sam Snyder for building it.
© 2013 Derwentwater Independent Hostel. All rights reserved. Registered charity: 1145368