Thursday, 12 June 2008
Our web page, giving full details of the actual route, and some additional panoramic images, is here.
The trip was 'blogged' as we went along, with numerous additional images added later.
The entire blog can be viewed here. You will need to click on 'older posts' and go to the bottom of the page to start at the beginning, or you can select individual days from the index below:
Day 1 - Ravenglass to Eskdale - Deepest Summer
Day 2 - Eskdale to Wasdale - A Sca Fell Day
Day 3 - Wasdale to Black Sail - Through the Mist
Day 4 - Black Sail to Buttermere - A Cream Tea Day
Day 5 - Buttermere to Byersteads - A Fine Lakeland Day
Day 6 - Byersteads to Dubwath - Low Level Heaven
Day 7 - Dubwath to Caldbeck - Whoosh!
Day 8 - Caldbeck to Dalston - The Home Run
If you try this route you will realise that it can be varied considerably, depending upon the ambitions of the party.
We would have stayed at Skiddaw House and walked up Skiddaw had Skiddaw House YHA not been full.
I am happy to answer any questions or queries anyone may have.
Sunday, 8 June 2008
Ascent - 160 metres
Time - 5 hours 15 mins including 1 hour 30 mins stops
It turned out to be a quiet night in our bijou room at The Oddfellows Arms, apart from a very vociferous dawn chorus.
Tea was served by Notchy before 7.30, just as we were coming to life for this short final day to Dalston. Wow, tea served in bed at a B&B!
An adequate breakfast fuelled us for our stroll. Today only four of us would be finishing the walk, as Sue and David were travelling to Langdale to continue their holiday. They were not in a hurry. Their bus left at 10 am, but much scratching of heads was going on as to where to catch it. Apparently there is no bus stop in Caldbeck, and there are only buses to Keswick and beyond on Saturday mornings. There are in fact two buses, leaving in opposite directions, so no-one knew where to catch them from.
‘Everyone here has a car’ was the uniform response.
There had been rain overnight and the paths in Parson’s Park (a wood) were slithery. The air was thick with the scent of garlic from lush beds of ramsons.
The Health and Safety men had been checking this wood, and a sign warned of a landslide that maybe will occur within the next millennium, but there is clearly no immediate risk – what a waste of effort!
We entered a field of freshly cropped grass. A Nissan Micra flew through the grass. Joy riders? No, it was just the farmer checking the dampness of the grass and wondering whether it could be gathered today.
At Sebergham someone had made a good stab at demolishing the old bridge over the River Caldew. Much of the parapet had been pushed into the river, but there was no sign of the offending vehicle.
Sebergham Hall was apparently deserted, but well-kept and very private looking.
Our final brew up of the trip was on a grassy bank by the river near Holm House. Sand martins and grey wagtails were active here. A heron patrolled the river nearby, and a buzzard circled threateningly in the distance. Small white flowers – not water lilies - graced the surface of the slow flowing river.
Today our route followed the course of the Cumbria Way – a long distance footpath coursing through the Lake District by taking the least line of resistance (ie not over the tops).
After our brew stop we encountered two chaps who had also been in the pub last night.
‘Are you walking the Cumbria Way?’ asked Sue.
‘Yes, are you?’ one of them replied.
‘No, our route coincides with the Cumbria Way for this last section, but we prefer to go over the tops, so that route is really a bit flat for us.’
‘Oh, perhaps we won’t do the Cumbria Way, then!’ He ended the conversation leaving us puzzled as to what they were actually doing…
By the time we reached Rose Bridge, where the river banks were lined by dame's violet, the shrill cries of oyster catchers were being heard for the first time on this walk. Rose Castle looked impressive on the hillside above us.
A Redspearlands Footpath Group brochure sat lonely in a box fastened to a stile. We read about this local walking group and replaced the brochure before continuing along field paths.
A horse galloped past.
Then we entered the rhododendron strewn grounds of Hawksdale Hall, and passed the smart buildings of Lime House School.
Approaching Bridge End we noticed that we were on a ‘Reivers Off Road’ cycling route. We have encountered these routes a few times over the past couple of days.
The Bridge End Inn was bathed in sunshine and provided an excellent venue for our alfresco lunch, after which an easy path past an old mill (now owned by Cowens) led us to Dalston and the train back to Ravenglass on another sunny afternoon.
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Saturday, 7 June 2008
Ascent - 551 metres
Time - 7 hours including 1 hour 40 mins stops
Whoosh! The talons nearly got it that time.
I hid under a tree.
Whoosh! Gary nearly copped it.
For a good 5 minutes the sustained attack from the angry buzzard continued. It flew straight at us, dive-bombed us, and generally behaved in a most aggressive and antisocial manner.
Occasionally it would rest on a high pole before targeting us by flying straight at one of us (usually me), almost striking a glancing blow before just missing the ground.
Luckily we all survived the attack from the Mad Bird of Orthwaite. Shaken, but not stirred.
We were greeted today by a cloud over Skiddaw that dissolved our plans to scale that hill on our way to Caldbeck. Gary, Sue1 and I had considered this energetic 30km option but given the weather we reverted to plan A.
Setting off from Link House at 9am we encountered our first odd animal behaviour at The Ruddings, where a bemused cockerel looked on quizzically at a grunting sheep.
Then we saw a huge pike lingering near the bridge at Herdwick Croft. Trout in the river looked small in comparison. There had been two pike here yesterday.
A pleasant path beside Bassenthwaite Lake took us to fields that, according to the signs, should be full of bulls. We saw just one today.
A brew stop (see header photo) near Kestrel Lodge was most satisfying, with splendid views and perfect weather, except that Skiddaw was still in cloud. The supply of chocolate caramel shortbread (CCS) that Sue1 had been carrying all week and releasing to everyone in small daily portions was finally exhausted here.
After daubing ourselves with sun tan cream we continued through a wood and on along the Cumbria Way's overgrown footpaths strewn with cuckoo flower, at one stage battling with woolly gorse seemingly impregnated with wrens.
Apart from the angry buzzard there was much bird life around Orthwaite, with goldfinches and a pied flycatcher (I think) vying with guinea fowl for our attention near a lovely pink house.
Further on, past beds of forgetmenots, a small mouse was lunching intently on a squashed worm. It was quite oblivious to our presence (Sue1's short video is here) and seemed quite happy to be picked up!
I don't think it'll survive for long!
A disorientated huddle of mountain bikers lurked at Longlands, waiting for their leader who had the map.
He was last.
Eventually the bikers filed past, at just above walking pace.
We continued to a lunch spot where a path branched off to 'Great Sca Fell 2¼'. So which Sca Fell had we been earlier in the week? 'Lesser Sca Fell'?
The views were good - no need to ascend!
Quiet lanes were bordered by fields, some bright green, others sparkling with yellow beds of buttercups.
These led past pretty habitations such as Fellside (above), then down through a lovely, if slightly overgrown, green lane (not the Cumbria Way) to today's destination, Caldbeck.
In the lane we had passed a fledgling great tit and some huge specimens of bracket fungus, and the path was bordered by a mass of flowers dominated by pink purslane and herb robert.
The bracket fungus may be Polyporaceae (perhaps someone out there can tell me more precisely)
By 4pm we were installed with tea and cakes at The Old Smithy Tearoom.
Then we hobbled across the road to the Oddfellows Arms.
All went well until our shower (luckily not of the exploding variety installed at Dalegarth) leaked into the room below, and the walls and floors seem very thin, so shall we sleep?
Meanwhile we have enjoyed a good meal and a pleasant evening. For most of it we had the pleasure of the company of Sue1's 'aunt' (second cousin?), Rachel, who lives nearby. Rachel was looking very well, and in fine form.
Here's today's route.Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange - and apologies for the delay - this was written on Friday, and I spent all of Saturday trying to transmit it. The GPRS simply didn't work and I got the following message when trying to access the internet. "There is insufficient network coverage to process your request. Please try again later." The message didn't appear to relate to signal strength. I finally resolved the problem by taking the battery out for 10 seconds and replacing it! Ho hum!
Friday, 6 June 2008
Ascent - 304 metres
Time - 7 hours including 2 hours 10 mins stops
So the t-shirt and shorts weather came as a mild surprise to us all.
Outside The Old Homestead, with Martin, Due1, Gary, Andrew (Notchy), Sue2 and David,
not forgetting Zen (below)
After photos outside the fine old building we set off to Cockermouth past signs to remind us of the establishments we had visited, then by a pleasant path beside the River Cocker.
Sue1 and Gary enhanced their sheeps wool collections, whilst the rest of us gawped at the medley of animals, including donkeys and peacocks, at Simonscales Mill.
Entering Cockermouth over a bridge lined with metallic roses, we soon found a café and sat for the best part of an hour watching the mundane activities of the residents of this pleasant market town.
Certain members of our group who couldn't cope well with the lack of newspapers over the past few days managed briefly to remedy this problem before realising that there wasn't really any news.
Exiting Cockermouth with lunch provisions replenished we soon found ourselves on the faint path that was represented on the map as the 'Allerdale Ramble'. Three of us did, anyway, as Notchy's sore feet dictated an even shorter, easier day, and Sue2 and David lingered in the town to look around a Wordsworth museum.
We enjoyed lovely views back to Cockermouth and yesterday's route as we stumbled on past pheasants and barley, and over ornate castellated stiles to a short section beside the main road.
Looking back towards Cockermouth from the ornate stile featured above
Park Hill proved an excellent venue for lunch (pictured in the header, and below).
A buzzard was being mobbed by crows.
Down at Redmain we found hedges full of birds, red hot pokers, and a garden with lots of flowers including alliums to die for.
Bee keepers fumbled with their hives.
Leafy lanes and lush meadows with myriads of wild flowers took us through Isel and past a huge pink castellated mansion.
BugleThe state of this signpost was a fair reflection of the state of the field paths. At Long Close Farm many tractors were engaged in processing freshly cut grass from Pepperholme Bank. Loads were arriving every few seconds, and a huge mountain of grass was being worked on as if it was sand or soil. This sweet scented grass was no doubt eventually destined to become noxious silage.
'Beware of Bull' signs as we approached Bassenthwaite Lake at the end of the day littered the fields we passed through. There was not a bull to be seen. Perhaps the farmers hereabouts just want to discourage walkers from the rarely used (but surprisingly well indicated) paths. The Lake District authorities have been busy installing new gates and signs around here.
Finally, via another nice woodland path past The Ruddings, we reached Link House B+B, and Keith's friendly welcome. Notchy had been here for an hour; S+D arrived at 7, more than two hours later.
We dodged a few showers this afternoon, and the weather looked a little ominous, so Keith's generous offer of a lift to The Wheatsheaf, a half hour walk away, was gratefully accepted. We all piled into his Discovery and enjoyed the pub's sumptuous bar meals. The price was reasonable (£50 for the 6 of us) and the portion sizes huge.
A mix up over payment had them chasing down the road after us. Whoops!!
Here's today's route.
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