The Rain Continues

Woke up this morning to many, many more waterfalls cascading down the mountains outside my room window. There was one there when I arrived; there must be a dozen now, due to our rain.

Our leaders just arrived for breakfast and they’ve adjusted our route for the day…just a walk around Buttermere now. Apparently the route we had planned on involves crossing several becks (streams) which now would be flooded and too high to walk across. Fine with me…it’s too wet and windy out there for any degree of comfort.

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The Intrepids

This was the name given our group as we set out this morning in a downpour. We’d come to the Lake District to walk and we all knew that there’d be rain, so of course we’d carry on. We did, however, give ourselves an hour extra in the morning, hoping that things would clear. They did not. On went rain jackets and pants, some wore gaiters as well, and out the door of Hassness Country House we went, directly into sheets of water.

We drove to our trailhead (I’ve not heard that word used here), with those who drove here sharing rides in their vehicles. I arrived here by bus (that day yet to be written of), so I was thankful for a ride. These are narrow and extremely curvy country roads with lots of blind corners….I’m thankful to not be a driver!

I really don’t remember much about the start of our walk. The rain was coming down and we all were adjusting our gear to try to stay dry without getting too hot. I packed away my vest (in the rain) before even beginning as I knew it would be too hot for hiking. I did wear my wool gloves as it was cold and as always, my biking gloves for padding against my hiking poles, but that was kind of silly as the wool gloves were soon soaked and I packed them away in no time.

After some level land walking we began the only real ascent of the day, up a col. For readers who are familiar with “The M” in Bozeman, it was similar to the steep route of that walk, only longer. It felt good to climb, though, as we’re eating very well here and the calories need to be worked off!

Beautiful scenery at the top and I’ll add photos once home again…all in mist, but that added to the scene. Our descent took some focus as we were walking over sheets of shale (I believe, as we were in the Honister Pass/former Honister Shale Mine area) and because they were wet, could be slippery. My post-op knee seems to be content doing what it’s doing, but descending steps is its toughest challenge. All went well though and we arrived at a car park and cafe, but the cafe was closed as not many walkers were likely to be passing by given today’s weather. The rain really came down once we stopped, but we all needed a hot drink from our thermoses and a bite to eat to keep us going. After just a few minutes we all were cooling down so we quickly were on the go again.

Our path now took us just slightly up again and along a feeder stream for quite a way. The birds weren’t seeming to mind the conditions. We heard cuckoos singing and spotted wagtails, great tits and a dipper. After likely a mile along we came to a bridge over the stream and our leader suggested that we carry on for another 15 minutes to reach a lunch spot he had in mind…with tables and seats. Given that by now the ground was soaked, this sounded like a good plan.

So, on we went and at that point I was beginning to feel a bit tired and realized that I hadn’t had any of my electrolyte concoction. We reached the designated spot and it was nice…the “Surprise Lookout,” I think it was called, overlooking Derwent Water, one of the largest LD lakes. I pulled out my drink and had quite a bit of that first, followed by the usual packed lunch of a sandwich, chips and fruit. I could have finished with a dessert bar we’d been given by HCH, but I’d eaten enough of that back at our morning break. Honestly…the calories!

Not unexpectedly, some of us chilled down at lunch so were ready to start again fairly quickly.  Our planned trek was downhill to find a bus stop and then to catch a ride back to where we’d left our cars. Seemed straight forward enough, but of course, the best laid plans…

We came across a fixed-up bothy, hosted by The National Trust. A sign outside read “Muddy boots welcome. Warm fire inside. Tea and coffee.” So inviting, so those of us near the front veered right in 🙂 The fire was wonderful and I managed to feel some warmth. We lingered. Eventually, though, back outside. The NT host had suggested a path we could take instead of walking to the bus stop on the road, so we chose that. The path turned out to be quite tall slate steps, which were a bit of a stretch for my getting-weary knee, but I stepped aside to let the “lungs and legs” pass and then I carried on at my own pace which worked well – much better. We found our bus stop, realized that we’d need to stand around for 45 minutes, so, unbeknownst to me, the group decided to walk along the shore of Derwent Water to a different bus stop, to enjoy the shoreline and put in time waiting on the bus. I was wandering around on my own and missed this decision and when I realized that the group was moving they were almost out of sight. Thankfully, our leader came back to round me up and we walked together to the new bus stop. No more wandering around on my own.

The bus came within minutes and on we went. It was an open air bus at the back end of the second level so a few of us chose to sit up there, not realizing what was coming our way. As the bus passed the tall roadside trees, the rain-soaked branches caught on the sheltered front of the bus and then came back to thwack us with water! It was too unsteady to move and by the time we reached our stop, the four of us at the back were drenched! Fun though, and as my daughter said to me earlier in this vacation…”Mum…live a little!” Certainly did that at the back of the bus.

As we were driving back to HCH we passed a filming crew, filming an episode of “The A Word.” This tv show is apparently about a little boy who tends to wander off and get lost. Today, the mist enshrouded hills of the Lake District must be a perfect setting.

Off to dinner.

 

Getting Our Feet Under Us in the Lake District

It was with some trepidation that I set out this morning. I’m with a group of pretty intense walkers for the most part…some of whom are primarily legs and lungs. And, while we were making our final gear adjustments the rain began. I don’t really mind walking in the rain, but when exertion is added in, even with my Marmot rain jacket, I can get terribly sweat. Who enjoys that?

However, my fears were soon laid to rest as this turned out to be an adjustment day…a day to recover from traveling and to adjust to walking in the Lakes terrain, meaning that we stayed low (about 275m of ascent). And, the rain stopped! We did have distance, at just over 12 miles.

We started at the front door of our accommodations, Hassness Country House, and I was prepared for this this time, unlike in Wales! We walked alongside the east shore of Lake Buttermere, up a low ridge, along Crummock Water to a pub, church and graveyard at the end of this lake where we had lunch. We then headed to the remote Mosedale valley and returned along the west shores of these lakes. All of this is sheep country. Only the last mile seemed tiring as it was through rocky bog land, meaning we really had to pay attention to where we were stepping when we were our most tired. However, all went well and we returned to Hassness, where I learned it’s custom to have tea and cake following a walk…that tasted wonderful! It gave us just enough energy to wash away the fatigue of the day and then sit down for supper, where we dined on beet root, goat cheese and basil leaf salad followed with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes, cabbage and an orange root crop I don’t remember the name of and then chocolate torte and toasted almond cream. I’m not sure I worked hard enough to have burned off that many calories!

Following tea in the lounge we had a fun quiz..the questions were well outside my range of knowledge with only a couple of exceptions. Maybe I should offer to make up a Canadian or American quiz!

Reades of this blog will realize that I’ve not written about two days of this journey. This will be corrected and photos will be added. I hope to complete the writing over the next couple of days, however, the photos will likely have to wait until I’m home again….just takes tooooo long to add them.

Tomorrow is supposed to bring rain – such a contrast to our lovely clear day today, but it may clear off in time for a good start.The walk will be about the same length, but with a little more altitude gain. Looking forward to it.

 

My Friend, Liz

My friend Liz, from our West Highland Way walk of a few years ago and her sister, Marg, met me at the Stroud train station and we recognized each other instantly! What fun to see Liz again! I think we picked up right where we left off all those years ago.

She and Marg live in the village of Uley so that’s where we headed right away, for lunch and to get ourselves together for an afternoon walk. We walked up the Uley Bury first. This was the site of an ancient Roman fort, nothing of which remains today except what appears to be the old chariot track around the outside of the site.

imageThe views of the scenery below were exquisite…

With the River Severn in the background.

Following this we went down and then, of course, up again, reaching Cam……I’ll add the proper name in a bit. Lovely scenery her which we thoroughly enjoyed before heading back to town, where the town mascot, a gorilla, was pleased to greet us from atop a stone wall filled with self-seeded wildflowers…

…sorry…photos to come later…

Then it was back to Liz’s for good conversation over a delicious dinner. Time with a good friend, a nice walk,mood food…a great day!

 

A day of Recovery

Exhaustion hit yesterday afternoon and I could only manage to crawl back to the flat and crash for the afternoon.

The day began well with walking to the Sir John Soane Museum, suggested in Cardiff by Nick. If I remember the facts correctly, he was an architect in the 19th C, a professor, and a great collector of art. He travelled on one buying trip to Europe, but otherwise bought at auctions in and around London. He put together an large, eclectic collection, all in his home where he would invite his students to study and draw from among his collection.

He and his wife had two sons; one died early and the other was more of a rebel. Soane decided to leave his home and collection and money to maintain it and keep it open to the public to the city versus leaving it to his troublesome son and that’s how it remains today…just as he left it. It’s a good chance to see inside a household functioning in old London…old stoves, beautiful antique furniture, some dishes and to admire the collection. A nice off-the-regular-sight-seeing stop.

From there, I was on the march to find salt tablets. Since I have no access to the Internet without wifi, I wrote out the directions provided by Google Maps before leaving.

…drat…I though the wifi where I am would let me add photos, but not so at the moment. I’ll try again another time. Sorry for just my blabbering on now taking over…

It was about a three-mile walk, should be do-able with such specific directions. In fact, it was quite easy with the only times I was in doubt being on the longer distances, when I was one block short each time. There were a few wrong turns, but nothing not easily corrected. This was an interesting block….all part of Google Map’s route…

 

Three miles later, there, just where it was supposed to be was the shop that online had assured me had what I was looking for. But, no…not so. Neither did the running store next door or the hiking shop down the street. By then, I could have used one 🙂

Time to find lunch. I was in the Spittlefield Market area and lots of food trucks were around, but I wanted a nice table to sit at so I chose a Greek restaurant. Delicious!

 

After this much-needed lunch break I hoisted myself up and through the streets to the Liverpool Station and took the tube back to the flat. Within minutes I was sound asleep and stayed that way until moments before Sara came back from work. After debriefing each other about our day (her’s was much more action-packed than mine), we walked a couple of blocks to a corner restaurant for a light supper. Then, within minutes…more sleep for me 🙂

I’m happy to report that all that sleeping seems to have done its work. With Sara’s help I managed the taxi to Paddington Station, sorting out things there, buying lunch and getting myself on the right train, now nearing Stroud. Time to pack up the ol’ iPad and be ready to meet my friend, Liz, my walking buddy from our West Highlands Way walk with Ramblers Holidays from a few years ago. Looking forward a to nice visit and some walking in the Cotswolds.