Day 5 …Leaving The Lakes..

Today was the longest walk of our holiday (???)so far.. 16.5 miles from Patterdale to the most western lake, Haweswater, and then out of the Lake District to Shap.
We left our digs at Patterdale and turned left up the road..
Ian, our host at the Old Water View was in his garden and called out “where you going guys..it’s the other way”
I explained that I was taking photos of unusual road signs…
It’s at this point that I was going to post a photo of a warning triangle with a silhouette of a red squirrel and the legend “squirrel crossing”.. But…..I discovered that my phone had crashed, losing all my photos other than the final ones of Shap Abbey .!!!! 😥
So, this post is more of a diary for me, covering our last day in the beautiful Lake District.
Today’s walk saw us leave Patterdale and climb steadily South East up to Angle Tarn at around 500m.
Turning to look back there were wonderful views of Ullswater behind us.
The weather was perfect this morning for walking with the sun occasionally breaking through the clouds making moving patterns on the hillsides around us.
We continued to climb steadily eventually reaching The Knott at 739m with Hayswater far below us to the south.
After a further 1k we reached the highest point of our entire walk, Kidsty Pike at 780m.
Kidsty gave us the most fantastic views to the East. There was the final lake of our walk, Haweswater, and beyond we could see the flatter land of the Eden Valley with the ridge of The Pennines running North to South beyond.
We descended now to the lake, stopping just before the shore for our picnic lunch in the sunshine.
Continuing down to the lake we turned north along the shoreline.
This part of of the walk went on for around 5k but it seemed like much more..! Sometimes the path went right down to the shoreline and then it would rise steeply up the hillside. The path was very broken in places and towards the end of this section, as forecast, it began to rain.
The rain was light at first as we began our final section of our walk towards Shap. The path was now fairly flat, across grassland.
It was a pleasure to feel the soft grass under our feet after miles of walking on sharp, broken stones..!
The rain was heavier now and we put our waterproofs on for the final push to Shap Abbey..
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A view of the old ruin…

The final section of our walk took us on to the A6 where we turned South and walked all the way through Shap to the Kings Arms, our hostelry for the night..

Our evening meal was a hearty Glastonbury Lamb for Mrs Hill and a locally made Cumberland Sausage, egg and chips for me.
The food was good value but the entertainment was priceless….
We were sat next to a local family consisting of grandma, daughter and her teenage children.
The daughter got louder and louder as the evening wore on with a voice that sounded like a cross between Janice Battesby and a sheep…
The young girl was stylishly dressed in a black tracksuit highlighted with pink stripes complemented with wellies with a cow motif.
The mother regularly shouted unintelligible commands to her daughter to put certain records on the jukebox.
The time came for the last record of the night …
“Ugh,ugh ugh” bleated the mother.
“Agh,Agh??” replied the daughter…
“UGH,UGH UGH” screamed the mother, now attracting the attention of the whole pub…
“AHH,AHH,!!!” said the daughter..her little cow clad feet tapping excitedly in anticipation of the entertainment to come…
The whole pub was now silently listening and waiting for the mystery record that was to follow..
What could it be ..?
We all heard the sound of the 50 pence falling into the jukebox and then …..
Abba….!
Oh how we all sang into the night..!

Day 4..the shortest day …

Day 4 was taking us from Grasmere to Patterdale. This was a mere 8 mile walk up to Grisedale Tarn and then down the valley the other side to Patterdale.
We enjoyed our breakfast with  host Christine at the West View B&B in Grasmere, particularly the home baked bread..yum!
Christine had told us to pack our sodden boots the previous night with scrunched up newspapers to help to dry them out.
I couldn’t see that it would work but we decided to give it a try.
I used a copy of The Telegraph and Mrs Hill ..?
TES of course ..
Guess what, it actually worked …!

Leaving around 9a.m. we set off, initially walking north for 1km up the Keswick Rd.

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Heading North…

We soon turned  off the road and headed North East towards Seat Sandal.

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Today’s first mountain..

We climbed steadily up the slope, starting at a height of around 100m at the road and rising to 539m at Grisedale Tarn.
Along the way we turned to look back at Grasmere and Helm’s Crag…

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Looking back to Grasmere..

Soon we reached Grisedale Tarn where we had three options for our descent to Patterdale.

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Which path to take..?

There were two possible high routes…
Left up the valley ridge to Dollywagon Pike and Helvellyn or right to the ridge on the other side of the valley to St.Sunday Crag.
Neither of these were options for today…

So we crossed Grisedale Beck to take the middle path down the valley…

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Mrs Hill walking on water…

After yesterday’s water filled exertions we needed an easy day in preparation for tomorrow’s monster 16 mile walk to Shap so we took the middle path down the valley..!

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Coming gently down the valley…

As we headed towards the bottom of the valley coming in to Patterdale the scenery became a little softer.

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Approaching Patterdale…

There were meadows with cows and sheep grazing…and walkers without rucksacks just out for a stroll…
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Soon we came to the village and our B&B for the night, the Old Water View.

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Tonight’s home from home…

As our host Ian welcomed us to our room he proudly told us that Wainwright himself stayed in this very room regularly between 1938 and the 1990’s..!

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The ghost of Wainwright…

Day 3 in the Big Brother house…

Aka Rosthwaite to Grasmere..
We woke around 7a.m. to the sound of torrential rain.
This was the second night in a row that it had been hammering down and it was going to have a big influence on our day, as we would find out later..

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The view from our window at 7a.m.

As we sat down to enjoy our breakfast our wonderful landlady Rachel informed us “the winds very light today so it won’t blow the clouds away, but it’s very mild so the rain’ll be warm”..well thanks for that we thought…

We ate our breakfast and quickly got ready for today’s adventure..
Setting off around 8:30 we left our lodgings and headed South East.
As we turned the first corner this is what greeted us…
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The valley in the rain..

The first half of our walk was taking us alongside Stonethwaite Beck, up to it’s source atop Greenup Edge at a height of around 600m.
Now, I don’t know about you, but to me the word “Beck” is a variant of “brook”, which conjures up a gentle, babbling stream winding it’s way down the hillside ..
Wrong and wrong again..
The last two nights of heavy rain meant that the main Beck to the summit was in flood and possibly more importantly, all the dozens of minor streams feeding into it from the sides of the valley had turned into raging torrents..!
We had to cross them all on our way to the top…..

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Stonethwaite Beck at the bottom of the valley..

“That’s a bit lively”, I hear you say.!
“Just hang on a minute”, I reply…
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The first stream to cross…

This was the first of many streams that we crossed feeding into the main Beck…
They were all like this and very entertaining..!
Mrs Hill loved it and once your feet were wet it didn’t really matter..!
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A sobering reminder…

The mountains are a great big playground but no-one should ever forget that there’s real danger too..perhaps that’s what we love ..?
R.I.P. young man..
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Wild water…

The further up the valley we climbed the worse the path got.
Water had decided that the easiest way down the mountain was to use the path..!
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Getting good at this now…

At one point where the path went up quite steeply we we actually climbing up a waterfall..!
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Up the waterfall…

At long last we reached the top and had a well deserved rest…
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Feeling on top of the world ( again )…!

The second half of today’s adventure was along the top of the ridge leading to Grasmere.
This was a simple trek of around 3 miles across sodden ground and featuring difficult, broken paths..
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Typical path (yes, that’s a path )

We were soon in sight of Grasmere in the distance and turned downhill, off the ridge..
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Grasmere’s over there, honest..

As we came down the ridge and walked towards the village we saw a wonderful site..punk sheep .!
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Punks, or a bad day at the hairdressers..?

After a short half mile walk through the village following our 12 mile ordeal, all we needed was a trip to the pub and a beer.!
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The Swan at Grasmere…

You can just see Mrs Hill on the corner, desperately waiting to go in..!

Climb every Mountain, ford every Stream…

Now, I know that you’re all desperate for news so I must apologise here and now.. We’re walking in a world without WiFi or mobile signal so it’s not been possible to update my blog.
I’ll keep writing and saving them as “drafts” and one day soon, they’ll all appear together..!
Anyway, todays adventure is all the way from Ennerdale to Rosthwaite.
This should have included some of the highest peaks on our trip, walking along a ridge from Red Pike to High Stile and then on to Haystacks..but more of that later….

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Ennerdale Water …( in the rain )

We walked from the village of Ennerdale Bridge down to the shores of the lake in pouring rain.. 😦 
The lake itself is a silver slither of water about 2.5 miles long and around 0.5 miles wide running West to East.
The path on our map was marked to follow the Southern shore of the lake but …in October last year we’d done a complete circumnavigation of the lake and had found that the Southern route was awful.!
Much of the path was littered with boulders and exposed, twisted roots of ancient trees making it impossible to negotiate free from the risk of a twisted ankle ( or worse ).!
We decided to follow the Northern shore…

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Mrs Hill dressed for a Lakeland summer walk…

We followed the shoreline for it’s entire lengh, passing a cloud covered Robin Hood’s Chair on the way… ( he got about didn’t he ! )

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Robin Hood’s Chair…

Oh how we laughed at the folk taking the Southern Route..
Eventually, we left the lake behind and continued walking east alongside the River Liza..
Shortly after passing the Gillerthwaite Youth Hostel we had to make a big decision..turn left up the mountain to Red Pike or carry on  alongside Liza..
Unfortunately, the weather was still so bad that the mountain was covered in cloud so we took the decision to keep walking along the river..

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The Riva Liza….

For those of our readers that have been on a trip to Austria that involved crossing a river…yes it did look like this..!
Shortly after this photo was taken the weather started to brighten up a little and we decided to leave the river behind and head up to the last great peak of the ridge, Haystacks..

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Climbing the mountain ( Haystacks )..

This was a monster…there was as much mountaineering as walking..the wind was blowing a gale  and there were a lot of tantrums and tears ( Mrs Hill was non too happy either )..!
Just before the summit there was a fantastic view of Lake Buttermere with ….another lake…..beyond that..

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Lake Buttermere…..

When we got to top there was a small mountain lake that was just perfect for a little light lunch – cheese and pickle sandwiches lovingly prepared by the masterchef at the Shepherd’s Arms in Ennerdale Bridge….yum yum

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Lunch by the lake..

Descending now, we were heading towards the abandoned Slate Quarry, Dubs..there was just one more obstacle to cross, a ford..!

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Fording the stream….

Now, I have to admit, this was a little bit scary…!
We crossed here and walked up to the Quarry, and then from there down to the Visitor Centre.

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The Road to Rosthwaite…

By now the sun had come out and the legs had reappeared..!
We strode purposefully along the road and bridleways into Rosthwaite, admiring the scenery as we walked.

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Almost there…..

After a total of around 18 miles, we finally came to our wonderful B&B for the evening, the Gillercombe.

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Our bed ( and breakfast ) for the night..

The very first thing that our splendid host did was to tell me off for taking my boots off and leaving them in the porch!
She offered us a cup of tea but we declined, explaining that as it was 6:30 at night and we’d been walking for over 10 hours, what we really needed was the pub.!
She helpfully explained that it was “down the road about 5 minutes”…
Well , every exercise needs a warm down ..soo off we went to the Riverside Bar where we sat by..well the river actually and enjoyed our first meal of the holiday served with chips..!

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The Riverside Terrace..

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Our first chips of the week …

Served with cider and Draught Bud…the perfect end to a perfect day in The Lakes..

Captain’s blog day1..

Well..as our regular followers will know, we should have been at the Jolly Farmer in Kirkby Stephen last night but we ended up at the Black Swan in somewhere with a very long name around 5 miles from where we should have been….( deep breath )..
Now..the wonderful Black Swan didn’t do brekkie before 8 soo..we had to go back to the Jolly.
Now..the minor problem with that is  when you’re following someone ( as I was on the way to the BS ) you don’t actually look where you’re going.
So when it came to going back to the Jolly we didn’t quite know where we were going..!
This actually qualified as our first “lost” before we’d even got to the start..
That has to be some kind of a record ..!
Anyway, after what seemed like a tour of Cumbria, we got to the Jolly, had brekkie and drove to the nearby campsite to be collected for our trip to St Bees..

Bye bye Sheila…

We won’t see Sheila again for 2 weeks but..2 hour’s later we got to St Bees..

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St Bees and the Wainwright walk ..

So, we went down to the beach and did all the traditional things..

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Dipped our feet in the sea….

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Picked up 2 pebbles to take to Robin Hood’s Bay…

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Poked a jellyfish…

Once we’d done that our walk really started ..

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Looking North…

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Goodbye to the sea….

About 5 miles North of St Bees we turned East and Inland..

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A bit of a surprise..

We were a little surprised to find these…just a bit unexpected here .!

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A look to tomorrow…

As we walked East we gradually saw tomorrows challenge unveiled..
They’re looking big and tough..!

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Dent’s Hill….
This is the Queen of Ireland on top of a sacred English hill.
Behind her to the right is Scotland. ( Dumfries and Galloway ) 80 degrees left is the Isle of Man and just beyond in the distance is Belfast..we could see them all ..!

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A sign from God….
Shortly after, we came down Dent Hill.
We then walked along Nannycatchbeck Brook ( ok no she won’t!) where we saw this..these were to be our lodgings for the night at Ennerdale Bridge…
Let’s hope that the food’s better than the signwriting..!

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A little later…

Medallions of pork in a mustard sauce and Sea Trout with prawns, both served with steamed vegetables and sauted potatoes with rosemary and garlic…all waged down with cider and a cheeky Chilean Sauvignon Blanc…..yum yum…

To the Middle….

Well, the day has finally arrived.
Today is the culmination of months of training, planning and preparation but…
The weather’s changed..we’re going North, up mountains..what equipment to take ?
Do we take hats and gloves, wet weather gear or summer lightweights?
There’s only one solution..take it all ..!

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Sheila, loaded for a big adventure..

The M6 was horrendous..a planned 3.5 hour trip took 5.5..wall to wall traffic but, we finally arrived at Kirkby Stephen around 5:30.
The plan was to book into The Jolly Farmer B&B, leave Sheila for 2 weeks and then take a minibus to St Bees.

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The Jolly Farmer…..

As we walked in we met the owner, a lady called Carol ( I think ).
She had a strange look on her face…..
It soon became apparent that there was a problem – we didn’t have a booking..well we did but Carol had forgotten it!
We sat in the lounge and listened while she phoned an ever increasing number of establishments in the local area trying to find us accommodation.
After what seemed like an eternity we heard her say “that’s great, thanks!” and we knew that we had a bed for the night!
Carol came back into the lounge to tell us the good news and told us that our new accommodation was in Ravenstonedale which was just “5 minutes down the road “. ” I’ll take you there” , said Carol.
We got back into Sheila and followed Carol for miles heading back towards the M6.
What kind of place were we going to that was at the bottom of Carol’s telephone list, we wondered.?
We soon found out..

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The Black Swan…..

Carol was so apologetic.
The Black Swan is an AA four star rated hotel and was AA pub of the year in 2012/13.
She paid for our room, gave us a £25 meal voucher and organised a (free ) packed lunch for tomorrow!

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Our shared starters..marinated olives, humous and pitta bread…

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Our main courses..tagliatelle with pancetta and chicken with puy lentils…

All in all that’s probably a result..!
So, tomorrow morning means an early start, a trip to The Jolly Farmer for breakfast and a minibus trip to St Bees..

It’s almost time…..

So, the Coast to Coast adventure is almost here….
Thursday’s going to be all about last minute shopping and packing – Mrs Hill seems to think that I need some extra socks but I’m not sure …I’ve already got a spare pair..
On Friday we drive up to Kirkby Stephen for our overnight stay at the Jolly Farmers Guest House.
We then say goodbye to Sheila for an early drive over to St Bees on the Irish Sea coast for the start of our big adventure.

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The start of it all….

Yesterday evening, I took the opportunity to have a closer look at the information pack that Mrs Hill had so thoughtfully organised.
I paid particular attention to the maps…
They were quite enlightening…

Most of the walks that we’ve done over the years have been planned by either websites or walking magazines and always come with a set of instructions and a map, usually including photo’s of crucial points in the walk.
E.g. ” walk 500 metres to this gate in the photo and turn right”.
Almost all of our walks are on recognised paths or bridleways.
We’ve also recently backed up our printed instructions with a GPS device and a compass.!
Given all of these aids you’d think it would be quite hard to get lost wouldn’t you ?
Wrong, very wrong..!
We’ve got lost finding our way out of the car park…(come to think of it, we’ve actually got lost getting in to the car park..)

Having studied the maps for a few minutes the following became absolutely clear…
THERE IS NO COAST TO COAST PATH

The maps provided are split up into sections matching our daily itinerary.
So, for instance Day 1 shows St Bees (A) on the left hand side of the page and Ennerdale Bridge ( B, the first overnight stop ) on the right.
How you get from A to B is entirely up to you .!
Given our difficulty with car parks the possible ways of getting lost are almost endless !
Mrs Hill suggested a sweep on when the first argument would happen but I don’t think there’s any point betting beyond the first morning….
I’m now more glad than ever that we did a little bit of shopping a couple of weeks ago..

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Vital equipment for a happy holiday…