Sunday, 17 July 2011

Wasdale Head - Ravenglass : 8 July 11

Soup and trains were on my mind as we walked away from Wasdale Head, taking what I would call the easier route – to the east of Burnmoor Tarn and then down Miterdale to Eskdale Green.

Kirkstone Fell (centre) Great Gable (right)

The last time that I was in this area the King George IV Inn at Eskdale Green was closed when I arrived - up-for-sale, so the soup I had been walking toward never materialised. And I just never got around to a ride along the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway – The La'al Ratty. Happily though, today both those accounts were settled.

At the pub, Soup of the Day came with a bun and a smile. And The Ratty is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone's face. It makes for a graceful entry into Ravenglass too – the end of our journey.

Buttermere - Wastdale Head : 7 July 11

There was much to appreciate along today's route but the highlight for me was revisiting Black Sail Hut. It brought back memories of last year’s Coast to Coast Walk and in particular my Day 2.

Black Sail Hut (centre left)- viewed from below Haystacks

It had rained all the way from Ennerdale Bridge that day in August last year and by the time I arrived at Black Sail Hut I was soaked to the skin. Today’s was better weather so we and the Coast to Coasters resting and arriving there at lunchtime were in a much better state than I had been. Although, it being the Coast to Coasters’ Day 2 also, some were .. err.. edgy? Inner battles and second thoughts perhaps, about what they had let themselves in for. Hee hee.

Climbing up to Black Sail Pass was hard work for me but with Buttermere behind me, spirit was rising as well as the body. The brief halts to catch my breath enabled me to track the Coast to Coasters in the valley below heading toward Black Sail Hut and those nearer Loft Beck making their way up (puffing) to Honistor Pass. Double Hee hee.

Loft Beck - viewed from bridleway to Black Sail Pass

We arrived Wastdale Head in fine weather to be greeted by the cheerful, helpful staff of The Wastdale Head Inn, Jennings Cumberland Ale, Cumberland Sausage, mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Buttermere Bridge Hotel Wallahs should take a hike - to this valley. Treat the Thursday night/Friday morning crew here properly, and learn.

Keswick - Buttermere : 6 July 11

“Is it far to the flatlands?” the young girl asked. Then adding, whilst waving a damp, crumpled map, “We’re lost.” She was leading a ten-strong group of her peers down the footpath below Causey Pike (OS Grid NY 217202). It sounded more like a veiled plea to “beam us out of here” than a statement of fact. Conditions weren’t pleasant at that time, they were tired teenagers, their jangly rucksacks were weighing them down, mobile phones and ipods were but distant memories; they were, in a word - miserable. “Not far.” I said.”And you’re on the right track.” I couldn’t believe there was anything, other than immediate access to a Star Trek Transporter, that would lift their spirits so I wished them good luck, safe in the knowledge that in years to come most of them would smile as they looked back at the great time they’d had in the Lake District. It happens.

Catbells - viewed from below Causey Pike

We, meanwhile, continued up, over and down to Buttermere.

Buttermere, the lake and surrounding area is beautiful. Buttermere, the place, was disappointing. The Bridge Hotel and The Fish Inn get the thumbs down – hospitality is not a word in the vocabulary of those that I encountered who work there. The village campsite didn’t meet expectations either so we gave it a miss. In the event it would probably have been better than the Dale Garth campsite, halfway down the lake, which was even less accommodating, and certainly not as welcoming as you might expect after visiting their website.

It seems such a shame to me that those who have the opportunity to provide hospitality, food and shelter can do so in such a pathetic way and yet the public still pay up. Shame on me then for using the facilities such as they were. We should have walked on and wild camped. I should have heeded Bryn’s advice and “Let it go over my head” as well. Instead, I metamorphosed temporarily into Mr Grumpy. It happens.

Looking toward Haystacks from Buttermere

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Gawthwaite - Keswick : 3-5 July 11

It's not that we were dawdling on our way to Coniston that we were overtaken by so many others, it was because the 'others', over a thousand of them, were running The Lakeland Trails Marathon.

Number One Nephew, Gary, taxied us to Gawthwaite on Sunday morning where we set off along The Cumbria Way which we shared with the marathon runners from Beacon Tarn. For them it was the final leg to the race start/finish at Coniston. A seriously tough run on such a hot day yet most looked impressively (disconcertingly) fresher than us.

We've made our way to Keswick since then where, rejuvenated by what this lovely town has to offer, (which includes Cumbrian Fillet of Rump Steak, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, carrots and peppercon sauce) we reach a turning point. The very hot dry weather has reverted to cooller, wetter conditions, and we change direction to generally southwest to Ravenglass. Next stop Buttermere.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Parkinson's Law

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" according to Parkinson's Law. Mr Parkinson was thinking of those AT work rather than those retired when formulating his idea but it seems to me that the adage applies equally to such folk (me) as well. Since returning from Dartmoor last weekend, updating this blog is one of the many things still waiting to be ticked off my Jobs to Do List.

And now I find myself packed and ready to set off again so the update must wait.

I meet up with Number One Son (that's Bryn the first born son - to reassure Number Two Son, Glyn: it's an "age" not a "beauty" numbering system) in Cumbria this evening. Tomorrow, Sunday, we head for the hills. Tarn Hows is the first stop if we make it beyond the pubs at Coniston.

The break from blogging whilst on Dartmoor last week was a bit of a relief - certainly from the frustrations of Blogspot which wasn't working properly; not allowing me full access nor the facilty to leave return comments. Eventually I will have more to say about Dartmoor. It's an area that has captivated me because of it's wide open spaces where, from many places, and with an eye on the weather, you can wander in almost any direction at will. Fantastic. Freedom.

Freedom of access to the blogosphere from my mobile phone when in the Lake District has been restricted in the past so I have no firm, determined plan to blog this coming week. I'll just have to see how accomodating the network is, so no promises. Think of it as an extended break from my wittering.

PS. Thanks to those who commented on my last outing. As I said, Blogspot was giving me hassle.

J: A need for your photographic talents on Dartmoor to portray panoramic views that depict a sense of space and scale. When I get around to my update I will upload an image of Great Links Tor where the 30-40 foot stacks of granite could be mistaken for pebbles.