Ulverston to Coniston
After a restless night’s sleep of pending excitement, and the biggest breakfast I have ever seen, it was farewell and off to the start of the Cumbria Way. As there were no refreshment stops between Ulverston and Coniston we decided to buy sandwiches, then it was off to the Gill where a very kind passer-by took a group photograph. After the photo session Steve checked we were “O.K. Tickety boo, ready to go?”
We walked on up the beck heading for Old Hall Farm, the weather was fine with some sunshine but the clouds were looming. At the farm we passed some building work in progress, I then noticed cows walking to the farm from another direction; luckily they were going for milking. Here was our first encounter with mud, lots of it.
Well it looked like mud but perhaps it was something else!!!
Margaret decided that since her boots were now muddy she needed a bath.
After a clean up we were off to Higher Lath Farm
and our first ascent of a hill, where we had a brilliant view of
Hoad’s Monument and Morecambe Bay, before crossing more muddy fields and meeting up with more animals. We continued via Stony Crag to St John’s Church and on to Broughton Beck. Here our navigation was distracted by some unusual ornaments on a wall.
We crossed the beck as instructed by Margaret (now nicknamed Magellan after the famous explorer, as she had completed a navigation course). After some time it became apparent we were going in the wrong direction so after checking the map we returned to the ornaments on the wall where an obvious navigational aid had gone unnoticed.
Spot the difference.
Notice the sign in the photo which Magellan had not seen.
This little diversion over, and following the CUMBRIA WAY signs, we were now on our way to Knapperthaw and Gawthwaite and the looming landscape
of the Lake District. Steve noticed that his walking pole felt different and an inspection found that he had broken the end off his pole so as Margaret had a nickname it was only right that he had one, hence Stumpy was christened. At Gawthwaite we stopped for lunch and Steve and Margaret sat on a beautiful grey stone seat built into a wall to eat their sandwiches. In the enclosure behind them was a horse which, curious to see what they were eating, stuck its head over their shoulders so they bid a hasty retreat and found another place to sit.
After lunch we saw our first walkers of the day who were only doing part of the Cumbria Way. They strode on quickly as they were being picked up later before heading back to Barnard Castle. Here at this point the views were fantastic.
We headed off towards Beacon Tarn, climbing steeply and, as the guide book warned, it was boggy, big time; we had to find ways round the mud. At one point Steve (6’ 2” tall with a big stride to match) stepped across a gap but when Margaret (5’ 6” with a smaller stride) tried to follow him, she did not quite make it and got rather wet.
After her recovery, and a final look at Morecambe Bay looking across Beacon tarn,
we walked on towards Stable Harvey Moss and Coniston Lake. On the way we were caught up by the walkers from Barnard Castle who were nearing their finishing point. After a photo shoot
we said our goodbyes and were informed by them it was an easy walk now along the lakeside. Easy?? You must be joking; we had to contend with tree roots, mud and narrow paths on steep inclines, plus becks to cross. Eventually the terrain did improve
but then the rain started about a mile or two from where we were staying. After settling into our accommodation, Lakeland House, a quick clean up and change of clothes it was time for dinner at the nearby Crown Pub, where we enjoyed very tasty fish and chips and a pint or two before settling in for a good night’s sleep ready for the following day.