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.