The 26 Lake, Meres and Waters is a ultra distance challenge which is co-ordinated by the Achille Ratti Climbing Club.  The route involves visiting all the 26 Lake, Meres and Waters (excluding Kentmere Reservoir), as shown on the 1958 (revised 1960) edition of the one inch Ordnance Survey Map of the English Lake District.  The distance of the challenge is approximately 100 miles with approximately 20000 feet of ascent.


The 26 Lake, Meres and Waters that must be visited are: 

Loweswater.               Crummock Water.       Buttermere.                 Ennerdale Water.

Wast Water.                Devoke Water.            Goat’s Water.              Low Water.    

Levers Water.              Coniston Water.          Esthwaite Water.        Elter Water.    

Grasmere.                    Rydal Water.              Windermere.               Skeggles Water.

Haweswater.                Small Water.              Blea Water.                 Hayeswater.   

Brothers Water.           Ullswater.                   Thirlmere.                    Derwent Water.

Bassenthwaite Lake.   Over Water.


The challenge was first completed by Achillle Ratti member Leo Pollard in 1981.  Information about the history of the challenge and successful completions to date is given in the archive section of this website.   


Guide and rules for future attempts

  • The direction of travel (i.e. Loweswater to Over Water or Over Water to Loweswater) can be chosen by the runner.
  • Please inform Rob Green by emailing giving the date of the attempt, start time and direction of travel.
  • For safety purposes all stages of the challenge must be supported, with the supporters acting as witnesses of the attempt.
  • There is no set route for the challenge – the only rule being that each Lake, Mere and Water must be visited (this does not apply for Overwater which is only accessible from the car park at the north end of the water, via the National Trust gate and path).
  • The route taken by Dave Makin and Andy Pooler during their successful attempt in 2012 is shown on the maps below and a copy of their schedule is here.
  • Winter attempt – In line with other long distance fell running challenges, any attempt at the 26 Lake, Meres and Waters that takes place between 1st December (start date) and the last day of February (finish date) will be classed as a winter attempt of the challenge and will be recorded as such.  This rule was introduced to the challenge in December 2020.  The first winter completion of the challenge was by Nathaneal Jon-Ingram which took place over 30th November and 1st December 2019, before this rule was introduced.   
  • A record sheet must be completed.  If you complete the course we ask that you send a record sheet and written report to Rob Green within one month for ratification.  You will then be allocated a number and added to the list of successful attempts.  
  • A commemorative certificate will be issued to all those who complete the challenge.


Map 1  Loweswater to Ennerdale

Map 2  Ennerdale to Boot

Map 3  Boot to Seathwaite

Map 4  Seathwaite to Esthwaite

Map 5  Esthwaite to Ambleside

Map 6  Ambleside to Skeggles

Map 7  Skeggles to Patterdale

Map 8  Patterdale to Bassentwaite

Map 9  Bassenthwaite to Overwater