Dales Way – Day 7

Burneside (Kendal) to Bowness-on-Windermere – 9 miles

After breakfast Mrs Brindley took us back to where we finished yesterday. We said our goodbyes and she was gone. We picked up the DW easily and were off across fields, heading to Burneside. At this point the weather was being kind to us, warm and sunny. We did a little road walking before following the way across fields. The trail later became closed due to flood damage of a bridge and an alternative route, shown on an official closure sign, was difficult to see so we looked around for the paths of previous walkers. As we were reading the sign, a lady came over to tell us why the bridge was closed and pointed out structural damage that had occurred. She told us she owned the bridge and had closed it for safety reasons, but did direct us to a road bridge which was open to walkers but closed to traffic,

again due to flood damage. We followed the directions to the road bridge and safely walked across and along the narrow road, passing Burneside Hall on our left. The path itself does go through the village but diverts around a small industrial park down towards the River Kent. As we neared the river we had lovely views ahead

and the village of Bowston where we crossed the old road bridge and then had a short walk through the village (the river now on our right), heading towards Cowan Head. We chatted to an elderly gentleman walking his dog. He told us a little about the area and how it had changed over his time living there. As we left him to his walk we continued along the river until we arrived at a modern three storey apartment building

alongside the weir, with fantastic views of the fells. We stood in awe, taking in the landscape and thinking what a lovely place to live, when the elderly gentleman re-appeared. He told us how the ground floor apartments had been devastated in the floods and, worst of all, the apartments had underground parking arrangements; this must have been horrendous for the owners. As we were leaving, the gentleman told us to look out for the foot bridge

that had been washed away in the floods, we should see it as we passed through to Staverley. Now taking a more leisurely walk, following the River Kent and soaking up the sun’s rays, we eventually arrived at Staverley near the level crossing. Going along the road in to the village, we came across a community bench and decided to stop for lunch and cool down the feet. The area was quiet even though we could see the main road leading to Windermere and its traffic.

After lunch we were soon ready for the final leg of the Dales Way. We crossed under the railway line

and passed a few remote cottages until we arrived at the road bridge taking us over the A591

to Windermere and, as we crossed, the noise was deafening. We now had a few hills to walk up but looking back was a bonus as the views were brilliant. At the top we began to see in the distance all the rolling hills

and fells of the Lake District. The problem with going up hills is that you have to go down again before ascending the next one. We were now heading for Brackenthwaite Farm, at the bottom of the valley. We could see the road leading away from the farm as we looked up to the top of the hill, the way we were walking. It is the longest drawn out hill of the Dales Way but when at the top the views are spectacular.

At the summit I told Steve that there was a cafe’ very near so we could stop for a refreshing pot of tea at Hagg End. We navigated across fields, becks and stiles only to find it had shut with no sign of ever opening again, so it was onwards across the fell. The route was now a little difficult as there were less signs around but luckily we soon got back on the track heading to Matson Ground and Windermere. As we left the hillside we just had to follow the road a short way before seeing the sign to Bowness. Stepping off the road, down the pathway, we were now heading downhill to Bowness, when we had our first sighting of Lake Windermere

and the distant fells of the Langdales and Fairfield. As we arrived at the finish sign we asked a passer-by if he would take our photo,

which he did. After a short rest it was down a steep hill into Bowness and the Royal Oak for that celebratory drink.

As we arrived there were some of the walkers we had met on the way; everyone congratulated each other over a well deserved pint. We then left to find our accommodation just up the road from the steamer piers and the pub. As we arrived our host talked to us about the evening meal and recommended an Italian restaurant which he very kindly phoned to reserve a table for us. We were then shown to our respective rooms to freshen up, not before phoning home to announce we had finished the Dales Way and were safe. After about an hour or so we were ready for a bite to eat, so we set off to the restaurant, taking a slight detour to the nearest pub for an aperitif to liven up the taste buds. The restaurant was busy, the service was good and the meal complemented the evening. Now fed and watered, we set off back to our accommodation and as we passed the steamer piers on the shore line you could see the refection of the moon on the lake – what a treat for the end of the day.

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