Cumbria Way 2019 – Day 8

Day 8 – 20th May 2019 Carlisle to Home

After a very nice breakfast we ordered another taxi to take us to the train station. We arrived early so decided to take a stroll around the city, checking out some of its history from the various blue plaque signs. We also took the opportunity to purchase our lunches for the train journey.

Despite the cool morning temperature, Carlisle was alive with shoppers. We stopped for a coffee at one of the cafés with seating outside and the bonus was that the sun was shining in our direction so it felt warm. After coffee we wandered back towards the station which was busy with travellers. As the next train arrived and departed most of the waiting passengers also disappeared.

After a further ten minutes our train arrived, we boarded the train and were now heading home.

Cumbria Way 2019 – Day 7

Day Seven – 19th May 2019

Caldbeck to Carlisle – 15miles / 24km

This morning we left the annexe and crossed the drive to the main house where ‘Nan’, as our host likes to be called, invited us to sit in the lounge. As we entered the room she asked what we would like for breakfast.

The smell of early morning breakfast cooking is always a good appetiser before eating. As we sat looking out of a huge window across fields, the sky was very grey and overcast. We heard over the radio that the forecast was for showers during the day.

Whilst we were having our cereal David & Iain appeared for their breakfast. Nan brought in our breakfasts, offering more tea; she appeared to be the only one working as we didn’t hear anyone else in the house. We ate quietly, just like the house was quiet except for a radio in the kitchen, with only the occasional comment from each other.

Nan gave us directions back to the village where we would meet the Cumbrian Way path again. We said our goodbyes to our host and the others, then headed back to the annexe. After sorting out what to wear, with the possibility of getting wet, we were soon ready to go.

We set off across the road and a small bridge, as Nan had described. We found the path leading in the direction of Caldbeck village and turned right. We were now walking alongside Whelpo Beck,

which flows through fields and woods. Passing a collection of waterfalls, to our surprise, we came across a derelict building with just its outer walls still standing and the stream roaring beneath it. The Howk Bobbin Mill was in use from 1857 until 1924 and once had the largest (or second largest, depending upon which guide book you read) waterwheel in the country, at 3 feet wide and 42 feet diameter in diameter.We continued along the path for about a mile still following Whelpo Beck, which becomes Cald Beck on the approach to the village.

Caldbeck, named after the river (Cold Beck) on which it stands used to provide the water for the industries in the area in the 17th and 18th centuries – such as woollen mills, bobbin mills, corn mills, a paper mill and a brewery. The village reflects this former industrial activity with many of the old mill buildings still in use today. There is also the local 12th century church with the resting place of the famous local huntsman, John Peel. “D’ ye ken John Peel?”

Our path led us past the ‘Oddfellows Arms’

where we’d dined the previous evening and I remembered walking this part of the route seven years ago. We crossed the river and on turning right, there was the B&B we’d stayed in the last time we here; nothing had changed.

We followed the path signposted ‘Sebergham’ and were now sadly leaving the Lake District National Park. We walked past a new campsite at the edge of the village; it looked new because everything was clean and tidy. The path then led to a small sewage works, luckily there were no smells.

The route went into the woods and we started to climb on a broad path in Parson’s Park.

As we got higher we could see between the tree tops and across the fields to High Pike and Carrack Fells, where we were yesterday.

We continued along the undulating path, climbing the occasional stile to work our way back down to the river from Oakbank Hill. We were heading through Dentside Wood until we arrived at a road where we crossed over Sebergham Bridge and the River Caldew, taking care with the approaching traffic. The route took us alongside a few houses before having to climb through an overgrown area to reach a narrow road leading to St Mary’s Church. We turned left along a wide track heading to Bell Bridge, passing Sebergham Hall.

We entered another field leading to Bell Bridge and were now following the River Caldew again for some two and half miles, crossing small bridges and stiles until we arrived at the three-arched Rose Bridge. We met two ladies and a child strolling along the river and chatted about the area, asking their advice about tea rooms.The only tea room they knew was in Dalston, where we were heading. We said our goodbyes and crossed the road, using stone steps and kissing gates. To our left we could see Rose Castle in the distance.

A bishop had this residence built in 1230; it was destroyed several times over the years and rebuilt. It became known as Rose Castle from 1355 and became the home of successive Bishops of Carlisle. The building suffered enormously during the Civil War and was used by the RAF during WWII. In 2009 it ceased to be the Bishop’s residence.

As we descended more steps and a kissing gate to rejoin the path alongside the river, two lady walkers came by. When we asked where they were heading they said they were walking the Cumbria Way from Carlisle to Ulverston (north to south) but hadn’t long started their walk. We wished them luck and continued on our way. After a while, at an unmarked junction, we carried on for a short distance but then had to double back to the junction and turn left away from the river on to a bridleway walking to Holm Hill, till we eventually crossed the access road for Lime House School.

Still following the path, and going through the different gates, we arrived at a few houses and the busy B5299 road.

We walked downhill to the junction with the Bridge End Inn on a bend and followed the turning to the left, instead of crossing the road and river again. We knew the road led us into Dalston and ran parallel to the river, so we decided it was easier on our tired legs to walk along the pavement to the village.

We eventually arrived in Dalston only to find most places were closed, it was Sunday! We walked on to the local pub to find the café next door was open, luck was on our side. It was a little cool and windy but we sat outside as we were quite warm from the walking. We ordered lunch from the café and as we were waiting patiently, David & Iain arrived with their families.

They were finishing the walk in Dalston and had arranged to be collected as they were travelling back home to Scotland from here. After a brief chat they went inside to eat.

Our meal arrived, and a hearty one it was too! After lunch the two David, Iain and families were leaving and saying goodbye when, from nowhere, the Klemens & Valérie appeared. After much banter, a group photographs

and exchange of email addresses, it was finally time to say farewell again to the two families heading for Scotland. They passed us with hands waving from the car and a cheer before disappearing northwards.

We now headed towards our final section and last 5.5 miles. We followed Klemens& Valérie who were younger, quicker and most probably fitter than us. We tailed them until they disappeared from view within minutes, but no problem as I remembered the route. The path now was the Caldew Cycleway, a tarmac route for cyclists and pedestrians all the way to Carlisle. Although very easy under foot you have to have your wits about you as many cyclists coming from behind don’t ring their bell. It’s a little scary when one suddenly appears, making you jump aside, sometimes into their path. Maybe it’s not PC or they just can’t be bothered.

Anyway, along the path we trod, passing a large Nestlés factory. The path meanders for just over a mile between the railway line from Carlisle and the River Caldew. As we walked, a small group of cyclists, (in their mid-forties/fifties) came towards us with a friendly nod and hello, passing with care. Later, as we neared Carlisle, the same group appeared and as they passed one seemed a little unsteady. When they were some distance, a lady of one couple riding side by side was leaning towards her partner who seemed to be helping her stay upright. Unfortunately, as they stopped, the lady leaned too far and they both ended up on the floor, probably rather embarrassed as they saw us walking towards them. As we went by them still on the ground, smiling and avoiding eye contact we asked if anyone was injured. Both were okay so we carried on.

We were now closer to Carlisle. The sun began to shine and the temperature was getting warmer than when we’d set out this morning.

Passing under a railway bridge where the River Caldew drifts away to the right for a short while, we came to a factory in Cummersdale. We followed the path leading to a grassy area known as Cummersdale Holmes.

The path now stayed close to the river while the cycleway also left us. We walked towards a fence and new houses, turning right at the fence and following closely alongside the river until we reached the weir.

Ahead we could hear the bustle of the city. The path now was well signposted, passing new houses and old mill conversions, factories and new flood barriers. We crossed another bridge over the River Caldew for the final time and headed up the hill to Castle Way and Carlisle Castle,

our finishing point. Here, at the castle, we had our official photograph

taken by a passerby before heading off to find our last B&B.

Since doing this walk in 2012 when the official end of the Cumbria Way was the castle, a new official finish point is the Tourist Information Centre in the centre of the city. We finished our walk on Sunday at 5 pm; I don’t think we would have reached the TIC in time to sign any visitor’s book to record that we had completed the walk, so our end was still Carlisle Castle.

We set off to find our accommodation which turned out to be a further twenty minutes walk away from the city.

We booked in and the landlady was very helpful. We asked where we could have an Italian meal, our tradition at the end of a walk. Not only did she recommend a place, she also booked us a table and a taxi. What could be more comforting? We headed off to our rooms and met in the pub across the road later for a well-deserved celebratory drink. After this, we went back to the B&B to shower and change our clothes.

The taxi was prompt and we were soon at the restaurant which was quiet with only a few people eating. Our meal was plentiful and very tasty. It was then time to order a return taxi to our lodgings, ready for a good night’s sleep.

Cumbria Way 2019 – Day 6

Day Six – 18th May 2019

Keswick to Caldbeck – 18miles / 29km

This morning we up early and stepping outside on to the main square there was a lot of activity with stall holders setting up for today’s market. The weather was dry but with the forecast for possible showers, or even rain, this was potentially to be our wettest day.

We meandered back into the hotel as the dining room was now open. As we were looking at the menu, David & Iain appeared. We ordered breakfast and were soon tucking in to a hearty meal. We needed to eat well as on today’s walk was the longest section where there’s nowhere to purchase any food or drink. The only possible place to eat is at Skiddaw Youth Hostel (YHA), but this is not always open till later as guests are arriving.

It was still early when we checked out of the hotel but some of the market stalls were near completion and customers were beginning to look around.

We set off to find somewhere to buy a packed lunch and on the way out of Keswick we came upon a bakery which was open. Heading towards the leisure centre (another part of the route that has been changed, the original way was past the pencil museum), there were more and more people about. As we walked around the back of the centre we saw what looked like hundreds of runners all exercising for a race – leg stretching, leg swinging, body twisting; it all seemed a little too energetic for this time in the morning.

We followed the route leading to Briars Rigg and within a hundred metres we came to the sign that led us over the main A66

and a climb that took us the best part of three quarters of an hour due to the steepness of the track. The path continued through Latrigg Woods, still climbing but later became a little gentler. As were climbing there were many places to look back over – Keswick, Derwentwater and the fells of yesterday and at times Bassenthwaite Lake to the north. We went along the path till we reached a road and turning right we were in a car park looking for the sign directing us to Skiddaw, at 3053 feet high. Turning left at the sign we followed a walled section until we reached a junction and ahead was the path leading to the summit of Skiddaw itself. Whilst we stopped to take in the sight of people walking up the mountain, a man carrying a rucksack and a large aerial, came up from behind. He enquired if we were walking the Cumbria Way and we, in turn, asked about his equipment. Apparently he was an amateur radio enthusiast and was heading up to the summit so he could contact friends in other areas of the Lake District. He told us a little more about his hobby – which sounded interesting – before saying our goodbyes. We continued along the path to Lonscale Fells with views to Whinlatter

and the Vale of St John’s, plus Thirlmere and Ambleside in the far distance.

The track swings left into the valley of Glenderaterra Beck and meets a rocky section with steep slopes to the right.

Looking ahead we could now see Great Calva with its conical shape in the distance; from here the path becomes much easier and less stressful, a relief for those who don’t like heights. As we stopped to take photos, looking behind we could see two walkers following. By the time we had finished taking picture they were upon us, it turned out to be Klemens & Valérie.

We had a brief chat before they left us and wished them well as they continued on at a faster pace, soon to become dots on the horizon.

We arrived near Skiddaw House YHA

where we had a refreshment stop. It was amazing to see people walking/cycling being friendly and chatting, whilst others ignore you and treat you as though you’re invisible.

As we were taking our break a lone walker came by. He was from San Francisco, USA and was a pleasant person who was walking the Cumbria Way. He was carrying his Ipad, which had his map on it, and he was also carrying camping equipment, so if he decided to camp he would be fine.

He told us some of his walking history, how he had walked various places in the Rockies and Yosemite Park in all the different seasons. He wasn’t bothered by being on his own, or by low cloud and mist as he had experienced bad weather on several occasions. After his friendly chat he left to find a place for a quiet lunch. Soon after we set off we saw him again next to Salehow Beck taking a break. We bid him a good day and carried on; later he overtook us and we watched him disappear into the distance.

We followed on, crossing various streams and footbridges on a well defined path with Carrick Fell on our right. Two walkers with large rucksacks were heading to the top of the fell and they gave a friendly wave.

We now continued along a good wide path, running parallel to the River Caldew below us till we saw a public bridleway sign for Millers Moss.

Here we stopped for lunch before the climb. At the same time we saw small groups of walkers from Mosedale heading towards the old mine workings and spoil heaps. The route follows Grainsgill Beck upstream, becoming steep and partially boggy in places and the path seem to disappear so you have to tread carefully as there are very few signs. All you can see are worn tracks, which act as markers that have been made by previous walkers.

We reached a boggy area near the top and in the distance was Lingy Hut where we knew we could rest. Finding a path through the bog was tricky until we arrived on the solid track

leading up to Lingy Mountain Rescue Hut at 600m. This is a building with a few minimal essentials inside including candles and decking to sleep on should you need to stay the night. Oh, and a guest book for you to sign.

We went inside for a break

and a look around after our climb up. The bothy looks like it had been replaced as the outside seemed new with steel wire ropes holding it down because it is so exposed.

Leaving the hut secure, we headed off to find High Pike 658m/2158ft, the last and the highest point of the Cumbria Way. Our view was clear, we could see the path leading to the summit. It was now getting colder so we donned our jackets and continued to the top. As we arrived there was a couple sitting on the stone bench.

They seemed lost in their own world, even when we walked past them there was no acknowledgement whatsoever.

Despite the weather being cold and a slight mist in the distance, we had fantastic views. We could look back towards the Lake District, Skiddaw and as far as Yorkshire and the Vale of Eden in one direction with the Solway Firth in the other direction.

On the other side of the trig point were three youngsters taking pictures of their dog. We started to take achievement photos and accepted the offer made by one of the youngsters to take our group picture.

With a brief chat we were soon off down towards Nether Row. The descent was featureless with nothing to aim for by way of direction.

We walked on till we came across a clump of old stone which, apparently, was an old building years ago. We continued on down, then in the distance we could see a well defined and well worn path, which we headed towards. On our way we saw the two walkers going along the path so we aimed for them. We noticed a fenced off area which, according to our guide book, is an old mine shaft, so we avoided it and were now looking for the two walkers ahead; we could see them approaching a farm and a small village.

We eventually came to Clay Bottom Farm and Nether Row but the signs seem to have disappeared, the only guidance we could see were worn down / well trodden tracks. We followed what we thought was a path, but this led us into a field full of cattle. After twenty minutes of walking in long grass, and avoiding the cattle following us, we looked around for any further signs, but there were none, so we back tracked and aimed for nearby houses at the end of the village.

Some children were leaning out, watching us from a bedroom window and as we arrived near their house we asked which was the way to Caldbeck. They didn’t know but said they would send their father out to talk to us. It was a little embarrassing for intrepid explorers like us who have scaled mountains in Wales, trekked in remote areas of Scotland and walked the Camino Way in Spain, yet here we were having to ask directions to a village some two miles away!!!

Dad appeared and told us the sign posts had disappeared over the years; he seemed to be used to helping walkers as his instructions were effortless.

He was very pleasant chap, giving detailed directions of various junctions on the country roads. Now understanding where we were going, we said our goodbyes and thanked everyone.

We had a further two miles to walk, this time along quiet country roads, till we eventually arrived in Caldbeck village. We had been advised by the tour operators to contact the B&B as it was a working farm, some way outside of the village and we would need to be collected.

We phoned the landlady who suggested that, as it was late and restaurants would possibly be busy, we should go to eat first. She recommended the local pub as this was the place used by walkers on the Cumbria Way, then to phone her when we were ready.

Without hesitation, and being drawn by the smell of hops and food, we found the pub. It was busy, but we were able to get a table.

Whilst we were enjoying a refreshing drink, and reading the menu, Klemens went to the bar to pay his bill. Klemens & Valérie were just leaving, so a little banter was called for. Shortly after this David & Iain appeared and in conversation it appears they were the two walkers we followed off the hill. Whilst chatting with them we found they were staying at the same B&B. After a fabulous meal and a pint, we phoned our landlady who very kindly came to take us back to the house/farm where we were shown our rooms in the annexe building. We settled in, showered and had a good night’s sleep.

Cumbria Way 2019 – Day 5

Day Five – 17th May 2019

Rosthwaite to Keswick – 8miles / 13km

This morning we met in the hotel lounge. Outside the weather was clear and sunny, no clouds to be seen. We made our way to the breakfast room which had now opened, were shown to our table and as we were selecting what to eat we saw a lady arriving with her friends. They sounded American from their accents. The one lady was not looking too good, she had a plaster across the bridge of her nose and two dark, sunken eyes plus a few cuts or scratches to her face. I assumed she had been involved in an accident.

The room started to fill with early risers dressed for another day’s walk. We also noticed across the room David & Iain whom we had seen since starting the walk.

After breakfast we left to prepare for our day, wishing David & Iain a good day’s walk. Derek headed to reception to sort his boots with the maintenance staff.

We meet up outside the hotel after handing in room keys.

Outside, a couple of the American women who were friends of the injured lady were chatting. Joining in the conversation, they explained to us that they were walking the Coast to Coast path, west to east. Near Ennerdale, they were climbing over a stile when their friend stumbled and fell, hitting her face on the ground which led to her being taken to hospital. Consequently, their plans were now that the injured lady would go by taxi to Grasmere whilst the others walked on over Eagle Crag and the tops to meet up again in Grasmere.

We wished them all a safe journey and hoped their friend would soon be on the mend.Derek’s boots were sorted, everything felt good. Today was going to be a more leisurely walk as we only had eight miles of low level walking following the shoreline of Derwentwater.

As we set off, we met up with the solitary walker we saw yesterday at the top of Stake Pass, whilst we were heading down into Langstrath valley.

We had a brief chat and he told us to look out for a small section of headland jutting out on the side of Derwentwater where it was quiet, not many people knew of it. He told us we could stand on the headland and see the length of Derwentwater with views of Blencathra and Skiddaw in the distance. We thanked him for the advice, we would certainly look out for it.

Now we were off to rejoin the path we were on yesterday.

Passing Yew Tree Farm we crossed over the River Derwent via the stone bridge, then turning right to follow the river towards Keswick.

As we followed the route, it led into a woodland area and below Castle Crag.

I thought to myself that as today was a shorter walk, we could take a detour to follow the path up Castle Crag (a place I’ve never walked), or later on we could walk up Cat Bells as we neared Keswick, but as we were unsure of how long Derek’s boots would last, and bearing in mind the issue with his knee, it wouldn’t be a good idea, so I dismissed the thought.

We continued along the path

with the river back in view, when we came across a campsite. There was no one around, it must have been too early for them, about 10ish.

We arrived at a road junction; the fingerpost was directing us towards Hollows Farm and the Cumbria Way. We walked through the farmyard passing the main house and accommodation buildings for B&B. It was quiet, not much activity and no animals. This felt strange as you would expect to see barking dogs or cattle/sheep on a farm. Across the yard there was a gate which opened on to a path leading up a short incline.

At the top was a small seated monument

which we took advantage of for a short refreshment break whilst admiring the views of the village of Grange below us, and of Derwentwater, High Seat, Ashness Wood, Bleaberry Fell and Walla Grag in the distance. It was incredible.

After our respite we joined the path leading down to Grange and at the roadside we turned left heading towards Keswick. At this time of year the blossom was in full bloom and looked brilliant.

We followed the road for about half a mile until we saw the sign for the Cumbria Way and Manesty Wood. This led us to the very tip of Derwentwater, to an area known as Great Bay; it was in this area we had to look out for the headland we had been told about.

We eventually found it. It was brilliant, with clear skies and stunning views at the water’s edge

looking towards Keswick with the mountains of Blencathra (2847 feet high) and Skiddaw (4th highest in England at 3053 feet high), like sentinels guarding the town.

We did take a few photos as expected but moved on as the wind was picking up and the temperature was dropping. We set off to rejoin the path which now led us to the lake shoreline with an easily identifiable path to follow. As we walked through Manesty Wood more people were appearing, just strolling along and taking it easy, enjoying the day. We soon arrived at High Brandlehow Jetty, one of the landing stages for the steam launches that run circular trips around the lake. As we arrived, there were a few people waiting and a launch was just arriving. We continued along the path in Brandlehow Wood; at times, looking to our left, we could see walkers descending from Catbells in the distance. We proceeded towards Low Brandlehow Jetty with a clear view of Walla Crag on the opposite side of the lake. This landing stage was silent – no one waiting for the launch, no boats, just peace and quiet. Lovely! Carrying on along the path we came across a large wooden cupped hand which, I believe, was produced for the millennium celebrations and is positioned just before the landing stage at Hawse End. A couple of passing walkers agreed to Steve’s request to take a picture of us in the hand.

We continued our walk joining a road for a short distance before seeing the signpost for Cat Bells and Lingholm. We turned right, entering another wooded area towards Lingholm & Portinscale.

Along the path we came upon a large garden in which, to our surprise, were alpacas, so I just had to take a photo as there aren’t many alpacas in Keswick.

Walking through the woods we passed by a boat yard to join a road leading to Portinscale and it wasn’t long before we arrived at a cafe’ that Steve and I visited in 2012 when we first did the Cumbria Way. It has since been extended so is now much larger and could comfortably accommodate a lot of people.

We stopped for lunch and after our Mediterranean Spice Soup with homemade bread and a pot of tea we were now on the last section of today’s walk to Keswick.

We passed the Derwentwater Hotel, then crossed a suspension bridge over the RIver Derwent. We followed a short riverside path between two fields before turning right and seeing the sign pointing to the town. We came out opposite the famous Keswick Pencil Museum and turned right towards the centre to find our hotel for the night.

We had arrived in the market town of Keswick. It received its market charter from Edward 1st in 1276 and there’s been a weekly market here ever since.

In the 16th century graphite was worked locally and the world’s first pencils were produced on a small scale up until the opening of a factory in 1832. A second factory was later started in 1920, and completed in 1950, but it closed in 2007 when production moved to Workington so the Keswick site became a museum.

In December 2015 the museum was severely damaged by flood water when the River Greta broke its banks as a result of Storm Desmond and many artefacts were destroyed. Keswick is popular with tourists, walkers and climbers; in fact anyone who is involved with the outdoors and adventure.

We booked in at our hotel and then had a stroll around the busy town. Unbeknown to us, the famous Mountain Festival was taking place over the weekend, with some fun activities going on in the town square.

We checked out various places to eat and bought post cards to send home, along with finding the start point for the next day. Our bodies were rehydrated before returning to the hotel to shower and rest.

We met in the hotel reception prior to heading off for our evening meal. It was early and the town square was still busy although the stands and equipment were being packed away in preparation for the regular Saturday market the next day.

After a short stroll we found a pleasant, yet busy, hostelry where we could discuss the day’s walk and check out how Derek’s boots had fared up, knowing that tomorrow was to be the longest and toughest walk of the week.

We were going to be climbing up Great Lingy Hill at 616m high and then on to High Pike, 658m.

From here we walked around Keswick only to find that most of the bars/restaurants were busy due to the festival. We eventually found a place at the top of the town. It was packed, but a gentleman was just leaving as we arrived, so we grabbed the table. Now pre-dinner drinks in hand, it was time to sort the menu; this was easy as they were serving Cumberland Goulash and very tasty it was too.

After our meal we walked over to Derwentwater Lake where the festival was in full swing. At the lake, Steve and Derek walked on to the end of the path to take in the night views looking back to Castle Crag and Rosthwaite. I stayed near the festival, listening to the music and watching someone swimming from the end of the jetty, until ‘the boys’ returned. We then headed back to the hotel for a goodnight’s sleep.

Cumbria Way 2019 – Day 4

Day Four – 16th May 2019

Great Langdale (Dungeon Ghyll) to Rosthwaite – 8.5miles / 14km

After a good night’s sleep, I met Steve and Derek in the hotel lounge as we were early for breakfast. Shortly after the restaurant opened, we made our way in, followed by David & Iain whom we’d met at our first B&B. The room was filling up quickly with guests. After breakfast, and a quick hello to David & Iain, we headed back to our rooms to prepare for a shorter trek today. We were due to go over Stake Pass (height of 478m /1,568 ft), our first mountain peak of the walk.

I met Steve and Derek outside the hotel.

The sun was shining, it was quite cool as it was early and there was very little cloud in the sky. Once we were ready we were off to find the path, which was at the rear of the hotel.

The path led us up a rocky and stony incline. As we arrived at its high point we could see across the fells towards Mickleden, Pike of Blisco and Bow Fell on our left, Rossett Pike in front of us and Loft Crag and Pike o’ Stickle to our right.

We continued along the stony level path

for some time until we arrived at the footbridge;

here was the direction stone with Stake Pass and Esk Hause on it.

After crossing the bridge we turned right at the bottom cairn to start our ascent. The path was well constructed, but steep in some places.

As we climbed there were lots of turning points

where we looked back down the valley at the fantastic views

of where we had walked. The path continued up with more twists and turns until it felt a little easier, which meant we were entering Langdale Comb near the top.

This part was made easier due to stepping stones crossing the beck and avoiding boggy areas.

Still following the path we could hear people behind us and looking round we saw (Klemens & Valérie) we’d met on day one of the walk.

We talked with them for a while

before continuing to the top cairn. When we arrived, sitting there were David & Iain, we’d seen earlier at breakfast, they were taking in the views towards Keswick. We chatted for a short time before walking on as it was getting windy here at the top.

We followed the path around the summit and as we were descending we saw a lone walker coming towards us. In conversation we found out he was on holiday and staying in the village of Rosthwaite, as he had done for the last 15-20 years. His walk was taking him as far as Loft Crag then Pavey Ark over to High Rise and back down to Rosthwaite. As we were about to leave he suggested we should walk on the opposite side (left) of Langstrath Beck as the path was more forgiving. We bid him farewell as he went on his way to the summit of Stake Pass.

We carried on walking until we found a place to shelter out of the wind and take a refreshment break.

In doing so we could admire the views of the Langstrath Valley

with the mountains of Blencathra and Skiddaw in the distance. The vista was magnificent.

Whilst resting, Derek had removed his boots to air his feet – as we all do – when he noticed the heel of one of his boots was breaking away from the rest of the boot. With this in mind we knew we had to take it easy on the descent. As we were resting, David & Iain who we saw at the summit passed us with a little friendly banter, and then two elderly ladies came past on their way up to the summit. In chatting they told us they were just walking as far as Stake Pass and Loft Crag before heading back to Keswick, where they lived. We bid them good-bye and they were soon on their way and out of sight.

Rest over we now had to start our steep descent down the narrow path,

standing aside to let others pass on the way up. We were taking it easy as Derek’s knee was causing him some pain going down and he was probably worried about his boot. After about a good hour of descent, we arrived at the Langstrath Beck and crossing a bridge we found a place to rest up and have lunch.

We sat in a sheltered spot overlooking the beck with our boots off again. Oh what pleasure on such a hot day!

After forty minutes or so we were kitted up and on our way. All the hard work was done; we just had to follow the beck towards Rosthwaite, as suggested by the single walker we’d met earlier on. The path was undulating with small amounts of inclines,

but not with as many boulders as were on the other side of the beck.

We arrived in Rosthwaite village and as we neared the main road we saw that David & Iain who had been at the summit were now in the grounds of the pub. They said they were too early to book in to the hotel so had decided to indulge in some refreshments.

We continued to the main road, crossed over in to a side road where a lady was collecting berries from the hedgerow, Steve asked her for directions to our hotel, she directed us across the fields into the village.

As we arrived in the back lanes we came upon a tea room where we had a pint of tea and a delicious slice of Borrowdale Tea Cake. The owner said we could sit outside under the canopy to cool off if we didn’t want to eat inside and he would bring out our teas. We decided, outside. As we walked around to the canopy there, in the shade, were Klemens & Valérie whom we saw at the top of Stake Pass. It was banter ahoy!

We sat with yet another fantastic landscape in front of us. It was heaven – a pint of tea, Borrowdale Tea Cake

what could be better than this?

Fully refreshed we walked to our hotel (250 yds) and booked in. Now it was time to have a look around and check out the menu as there were no other places to eat. As we sat at a table outside the bar overlooking the River Derwent, there was a person sitting opposite, quietly reading, but within seconds he started asking where we were walking. It turned out he was from California, walking the Coast to Coast and would be meeting up with others later on.

Hearing where he had walked in America was fascinating. On the next table were two other gentlemen who had been listening to our conversations and joined in. They were from Glasgow and had visited the Lake District for the day to do some climbing. They were finishing their drinks before heading home that night.

After a very interesting and good-humoured conversation we headed back to our rooms to prep for our evening meal. At reception, Derek asked if the hotel could help with his boot issue. The said they would speak to the maintenance person the next day.

We met up in the restaurant/bar and sat down for our meal. Unfortunately, we couldn’t eat it all as there was just too much food. We had a drink to round off the evening before returning to our rooms for a well-deserved sleep.

Cumbria Way 2019 – Day 3

Day Three – 15th May 2019

Coniston to Great Langdale (Dungeon Ghyll) – 10.5miles / 17km

Coniston is famous for the writer & critic John Ruskin, being the back drop for Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons books and for Coniston Water, where Donald Campbell died whilst attempting once more to break his own water speed record in January 1967.

We woke to another sunny morning and the forecast was good. Knowing that today’s walk was a relatively short we didn’t rush our breakfast, which was brilliant. After breakfast it was outside to don our boots and sort the rucksacks.

Once ready we said our goodbyes to our hospitable hosts. Now we needed to purchase our meal deals from the local store and once this was done we were off to find today’s start point.

I could remember from the last time we did this walk that the start point was near Yewdale Beck. Before the beck we turned left at the sign post for Skelwith and Ambleside, walking as far as Coniston Primary School, turning right and over the bridge with a path leading towards a folly in the distance.

This was built in the 19th century as a dog-house but now houses information boards.

We followed the path uphill and before entering a wooded area we could see behind us Coniston Lake in the distance.

The views of the surrounding hills, mountains and countryside were fantastic. The whole area was a mass of violet-purple from all the bluebells around.

Near the top of the climb,

and passing a quaint cottage,

we had views of the Langdale Pikes in the distance ahead.

We eventually met a narrow one way road and started yet another ascent to Tarn Hows, which is managed by the National Trust.

As we arrived at the car park we made our way to a viewing point overlooking the tarn. Fantastic!

At this point, in conversation it appeared that Derek’s knee was fine on the ascents but becoming painful on the descent.

After a few photographs

we walked down to the shore line to rejoin the CW path and continued around the shore to the next fingerpost and to follow the sign for Skelwith. The path was varied with loose fine gravel, larger stones, puddles and well worn boulders which would be tricky to walk on if wet. We arrived now at the A593 roadside at Oxen Fell.

Here we crossed the road, turning immediately right to follow the stone wall. At the end we turned left on to a quiet unmarked road, before taking the alternative route on the right through the woods which, we thought, would be easier for Derek’s knee. The path was undulating with some steep sections which led to rejoining the original path before crossing through open farm land.

As we were passing a farm, there, sitting outside the front of the house was a gentleman selling ice creams and he asked us if we wanted buy an ice cream. We said, “No thanks, but do you sell pots of tea?” After a short discussion he invited us into his garden where he would bring us a very welcoming pot of tea; he also allowed us to eat our lunch. So here we were sitting in the garden having a bite to eat, a pot of tea and with fabulous views of Loughrigg Fell in the distance.

After lunch

and a tidy up we were on our way to Skelwith Force, following the path again down to the river and the waterfall. We walked along the track to cross the river via a foot bridge

before heading towards Elterwater along a well constructed path with lots of day trippers about.

At Elterwater Bridge

we had a refreshment stop as it was now getting hot and sat on the stone wall separating us from the river, under the shade of trees.

Rest over, we crossed a bridge over Great Langdale Beck then turned right to follow a cul-de-sac uphill, flanked by large boulders from the nearby slate quarries. After 10 minutes or so walking along the road, avoiding the heavy vehicles coming towards us, we dropped down to the river following the path to the road and passing the local pub, Wainwrights Inn, on the edge of the village of Chapel Stile. We were heading towards Thrang Garth and walking along a narrow path with stone walls either side. We crossed another bridge over Great Langdale Beck, turning immediately right and passing Baysbrown Campsite on the left.

We followed the path parallel with the beck until we reached a remote cottage, probably a B&B, turned right behind the cottage, climbing a little on a rugged path to the high point of the path; in the distance we could see our next overnight stay.

From the high point we carefully walked down the large stone man-made steps to reach a barn. Then, following the path, it was over the beck for the last time today before crossing the road to our hotel (New Dungeon Ghyll).

We booked in and took our luggage to the rooms before having to rehydrate after yet another tiring walk in the heat of the day – most unusual for the Lake District. Our thirst quenched, we then sorted the evening meal menus and locations for food.

(View from my room)

There was only the hotel, with its restaurant and a small bar serving economic meals, or the adjacent Climbers Bar. We decided on the smaller bar. Once the decision was made it was back to the rooms for showers and a little R&R.

We met later in the hotel lounge and had a short stroll around the area. The evening was cooler now so we wandered in to the hotel bar to order food and an aperitif or two. After our meal we retired for the evening.

Cumbria Way 2019 – Day 2

Day Two – 14th May 2019

Ulverston to Coniston – 16miles / 27km

Breakfast time was early, by choice, as we had 16 miles to walk. The weather was brilliant, dry and sunny, no rain forecast. We met two fellow Cumbria Way walkers (we later discovered were David & Iain from Scotland) who were even earlier than us. There was very little conversation, as you would expect the first time of meeting.

Whilst we were eating, the other two walkers finished and as they were leaving the room we bid them farewell, saying we’d hope to see them en route.

After breakfast, and leaving the luggage in the hall, it was outside to don our boots.

Our host came to say goodbye and then we were on our way to the start point, The Gill.

In town we headed off to find our lunchtime meal deal in the local store before making our way to the starting point. At The Gill is the ‘Cumbria Waymarker’, a metal spire that encloses a display of the route’s geology.

At the waymarker, we needed someone to take the traditional group photo for the start of the walk. Luckily for us, but unluckily for the lady passing, she was asked if she would take our group photo.

This she did, asking if we were walking the Cumbria Way. When we said yes, she looked surprised and smiled.

After all the posing for our photographs we thanked the lady for her time. We set off on our way, passing the plaque which marks the start,

then followed the beck up to the junction where we started to climb up a bit of a steep slope to the end of a walled junction. We squeezed through a narrow gap in the wall and were soon walking across fields to Old Hall Farm.

This time we walked through the farmyard to pick up the original route; when we did this in 2012 we were directed to follow an alternative route because there was construction work going on.

The farmer was walking a small herd of cattle through the yard with the aid of his dog. We stood aside and, as they passed, we could see the sign directing us across a field and up the hill to the next fingerpost and stile.

Over the stile we went, still climbing and walking towards a small wooded area next to Boretree house with fabulous gardens. We continued walking up through the fields,

following the signs, till we reached Higher Lath Farm. At this point, before climbing over the walled stile, we looked back towards Ulverston where we had fantastic views of Morecambe Bay and Hoad Monument which looks like a lighthouse, but it isn’t one!

We walked down a winding road and near the bottom of the hill we saw David & Iain we’d met earlier at breakfast, studying their map.

They informed us that the original route has been diverted across more fields, away from the houses at Newbiggin. After a brief chat we all set off across the field, when a farmer on his quad bike came over to show us the way and to tell us how, and why, the route had been changed. He then left us to follow his directions, only to find there was no way out of it, other than climb over a wall where there was a big drop into the next field. David & Iain decided to go the farmer had directed us but, after checking the map, we could see that if we headed down the field we were in, we could climb over a lower wall and proceed along the road

going towards St John’s Church, Osmotherley. As we walked along we could see the other two crossing the fields in the distance.

We continued along the road till we saw the signpost and waymarker pointing the direction we needed. We left the road and were crossing the fields when we were rejoined by our David & Iain. We headed towards the church, chatting about the route problems and finding out about each other, whilst avoiding the curious cows that were now following us.

When we arrived at the church,

we stopped for a refreshing drink; David & Iain continued on their way.

After twenty or so minutes we were crossing more fields, this time on an easily identified path towards Broughton Beck. At Broughton Steve and I remembered this was where we’d seen ornaments on a wall showing us the way.

As we were opening a farm gate two more walkers appeared. Steve spoke to them; they were from Switzerland, (who we also discovered were Klemens & Valérie) they were walking the Cumbria Way. The week prior they had completed the Dales Way.

As we walked on, it was obvious they were much faster than us. They had youth on their side and were disappearing as we walked. We followed on towards Nettleslack crossing more fields until we eventually arrived at a road where we found another route change. After a while looking around, Steve found the path leading to Keldray and from here on the views were fabulous.

As we arrived at Gawthwaite we met the local friendly postman who directed us which way to go.

After a brief stop for more refreshments, we continued along the path and as we were taking more photos of the scenery another couple caught us up. We found out they were from Carlisle and had decided, that as they were new to that area and had heard about the Cumbria Way, they should walk it so they were now on their way back home.

Shortly after this we found a good spot, on a very quiet lane, where we could sit down in the shade of some trees for lunch, plus give our feet and boots an airing.

After lunch we were soon on our way, heading for Kiln Bank and Tottlebank before the climb to Beacon Tarn, a remote area. As we arrived at the tarn,

we didn’t see any one else in front or behind us. We now had to follow the path around the tarn; it was quite boggy in places and would have been horrible if we’d ended up with our boots covered in mud.

The track now safely navigated,

we followed the beck down to Stable Harvey Moss and on to the road. Unfortunately, we took an alternative route which brought us out a little further away

from our crossing point to Coniston Lake. Once we realised the error it was soon corrected and were now joining the lake path towards Coniston.

When you’ve walked from Ulverston, feeling tired and exhausted, you now find you have five miles of undulating, tree-routed,

stone-rock paths to contend with! It did get better as we approached an outdoor centre as it became a gravelled path. Once we reached the 16th century Coniston Hall Campsite we could see the village up ahead.

We eventually neared our destination; hot, dehydrated, tired and unaware we were late to arrive at our B&B, Orchard Cottage. We just had to stop for refreshments and it was here we again saw the Klemens & Valérie who hadn’t long arrived either.

Following a little banter, I checked our details for the B&B; we should have contacted them if we were going to arrive after 5:30pm. It was 6:30pm so I phoned and rushed off to meet our hosts who fully understood, but were concerned as they had a local parish meeting to attend. After showing me around, I went back to the refreshment area to collect Steve & Derek and take them to our accommodation.

As we were leaving to find somewhere to eat, our hosts were just leaving to go to a village meeting. A brief introduction took place and then our hosts recommended various places to eat. We had already been in one of their recommendations earlier and it was very pleasant so we revisited our starting point in Coniston – namely, the Black Bull Inn & Hotel, a good walkers’ pub.

The meal was most satisfying and with the help of a little rehydration it was off to settle down for a well deserved sleep.

Cumbria Way 2019 – Day 1

Home to Ulverston

Monday morning of the 13th, it was the usual worries. Do I have enough wet weather clothes? Did I pack my toothbrush? Have I got all the travel documents? Have I left accommodation details with the wife? All these questions were running through my head when suddenly I looked outside to see the pre-arranged taxi had arrived to take me to Steve’s house to meet up with him & Derek and take us to the railway station in Wolverhampton.
As I arrived at Steve’s they were both waiting at the end of the drive, luggage at the ready, and we were soon on our way to catch the 10:30 train to Manchester.

Once we had arrived at the station, Steve (Head of Logistics) suggested we should get lunch for the journey to Ulverston so Derek (Head of Kitty) and I were designated to find meal deals at the nearby store. This we did successfully whilst Steve guarded our luggage.

Back at the station Derek went off to purchase newspapers. Within minutes of his return we were standing on the platform, watching the train pull in on time. We boarded and it was not too long before we were at Manchester Piccadilly Station where we had to change trains. Our connection to Ulverston was due in 45minutes so we had time to wander around, but first we had to find which platform we needed.

The platform was very busy with lunch time travellers. It partially cleared when a train came in and large crowds got on. Within 5 minutes our train arrived. We squeezed on board, were able to stow our luggage and luckily found seats.

Now we were on our way but the downside was that it was a local train, so it stopped at every station. We eventually arrived in Ulverston around 2:45 pm on a bright sunny day.

My information from Macs Adventure was that our first night’s accommodation was just outside the town. A pick-up service from the station would be provided if necessary so, before leaving Manchester, I had arranged for us to be met and transported to the B&B.

All went smoothly and after meeting our hosts we were shown to our rooms to settle in. Our landlady was most helpful and advised us of places to eat in the town, a 10 minute easy walk, and how to get there. Shortly afterwards we were off to explore Ulverston and find The Gill, the start point of tomorrow’s walk to Coniston.

The weather was warm and the sun shone. As we were walking past the local primary school we could see behind us the monument on Hoad Hill near where we were staying. This monument is a replica of the Eddystone Lighthouse built in1850, restored 2010. It celebrates the career of Sir John Barrow who was born in Ulveston in 1764 and later moved to London to become secretary to the Admiralty from 1804 to 1845.

Ulverston is an interesting historic town. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086 and its market charter was granted by King Edward 1 in 1280. The opening of its canal in1796 brought prosperity to the town; many warehouses opened and its population doubled.

Another famous person born in Ulveston was Arthur Stanley Jefferson (1890-1965) otherwise known as Stan Laurel. He and his partner Oliver Hardy became well known for their slapstick comedy and featured in many black and white films. Their statues can be found outside the Coronation Hall .

We wandered around the town checking out where to eat later on. We visited the local indoor market, which was quiet, found a place for a refreshing cup of tea and had a chat with a local. After this we meandered around some more, trying to decide where to eat. Eventually we chose a place and booked a table before returning to the B&B at a very leisurely pace, conserving energy for the following day.

Early evening saw us back in the town, with the sun still shining. We enjoyed a very nice meal and a pint at The Rose & Crown pub. I can recommend it.

2019 – Cumbria Way

Introduction

Sometime in early January 2019, Steve and I were having a discussion of where our next walk should be.  Although the Camino Way in 2018 was memorable, scenically we felt a little disappointed.

The Spanish towns were interesting, other walkers / pilgrims from around the world were also interesting and the camaraderie between us all was special, but there were just too many people. It’s one of those goals that every walker must achieve in their life time and we could tick it off on our bucket list of walks.

  We both agreed that we wanted to see superb dramatic scenery, give ourselves a challenge and just hope the weather would be kind to us, so we opted for the Cumbria Way. 

We did this walk in 2012, some seven years ago, as you can see from the list of walking journals.    Steve discussed the idea with Derek, his brother; we all checked our commitments and agreed on the month of May.   I then made the arrangements with Macs Adventure, our regular tour company. Once booked it was down to some serious training. Well that was the plan!

Training

With months ahead of us to train it seemed we had plenty of time. Derek would be left to his own devices as he lives down south. Steve and I on the other hand could work together: it was not to be.

We were both busy enjoying life and placating our spouses by doing domestic duties around the house etc.  I would be off in our motorhome for days at a time.

Steve then came up with the idea that as our wives had put up with us doing these annual walks it was about time we showed our appreciation.

After exploring the internet he was able to arrange an excellent short break at Llandrindod Wells, Wales.  This comprised of a two nights stay in a luxury hotel, including six course dinners, champagne on arrival, spa, swimming pool, and sauna/steam room. No wonder he is Head of Logistics. Here we were able to do some walking in the area of 5 or 6 miles each day.

At home Steve would head to the gym for his usual cardiovascular workouts and we both played golf during the week, but not enough serious walks were being done. We did manage to walk along the local canals towards Kidderminster on the warmest day for April, and then we did a circular walk around the Long Mynd in Shropshire followed by two 10 to 15 mile walks in and around Clent Hills. 

Derek had been doing more training than us. He had completed a few 14 mile walks but had developed a blister on his foot in an awkward position. Doctor’s advice was to rest as much as he could, but Derek needed to train.  After recuperating a while, the blister was still there and was causing him some concern. However, with sensible advice and care, he decided to try short walks, which was fine; the blister didn’t bother him too much. Then, to Derek’s surprise, it was giving him pain whilst not walking, so it was back to the doctor, who prescribed more rest.

Eventually things did improve in the foot department, but now an issue with his knee was developing. Time was getting ever closer to the start of the Cumbria Way.  After seeking further medical advice and consideration as to what was required- bandages, blister pads, ibuprofen – Derek was able to come up with a plan. If he felt it was too much, he would move on to our next B&B by bus and he had a set of bus timetables at the ready.  Phew!!!

Route

Ulverston to Carlisle

  • Day 1     13/05/19    Home to Ulverston
  • Day 2     14/05/19    Ulverston to Coniston 16miles / 26km
  • Day 3     15/05/19    Coniston to  Great Langdale 10.5miles / 17km
  • Day 4     16/05/19    Great Langdale to Rosthwaite 8.5miles /14km
  • Day 5     17/05/19    Rosthwaite to Keswick 8miles / 13km
  • Day 6     18/05/19    Keswick to Caldbeck 18miles / 29km
  • Day 7     19/05/19    Caldbeck to Carlisle 15miles / 24km
  • Day 8     20/05/19    Carlisle to home

Camino Way – Day 12

Travel back to UK

Next day we had a fairly early start as we were travelling to the airport by public transport. During the journey we could see more tired-looking walkers with scallop shells on their rucksacks making their way into Santiago.

“Good luck fellow pilgrims.”

What an experience!

At the airport we boarded the plane eventually and after a two and a half hours flight we landed at Gatwick, where we said our farewells to Derek before heading off to catch the train back home to the West Midlands.