Sunday, 20 October 2013

Lake District

Then summer returned, just in time for a long weekend based in Keswick, guiding a group of eleven for Glasgow Life. Actually it was raining as we drove down the M74 but as we crossed the border and headed west towards the north Lakes the sun broke through and stayed with us all weekend. Our 'legstretcher' after the drive was an afternoon walk on the west side of Derwentwater, taking in part of the Allerdale Ramble. We walked south from Hawes End to Grange in the shadow of Catbells and returned along the lakeside path - a warm, tranquil oasis amongst the rugged fells.
The next day we climbed Skiddaw from the hostel in early morning sunshine, taking the path round the steep flank of Latrigg up onto the main path over Jenkin Hill and Little Man towards the summit. As we passed the car park more people started to appear and it was a pretty crowded summit where we stopped for lunch! We descended over Carlside down to Millbeck, still in hot sun. Initially the going was very steep on loose ground, no doubt exascerbated by mountain bike use, and even when scree gave way to grass, the gradient remained a wee bit punishing on some knees.
Sadly there were no welcoming Lakeland hostelries in the vicinity, so it was a stroll back to the hostel and an early dinner.
On Sunday we drove to gorgeous Ullswater to climb Hellvelyn from Glenridding to the east. Group fitness dictated that we avoid  both Swirral and Striding Edge, but we had a great day on the hill, using the pony track for both ascent and descent. Once again, the views opened up for us and the previous day's sore muscles were forgotten.
The beautiful spot of Ashness Bridge on the east side of Derwentwater was our starting point for our final walk before the drive home. We made an enjoyable circuit of Blaeberry Fell and High Seat, high above the lake, in yet more sunshine. Not as boggy as I had been led to believe, and a picturesque descent back to the minibus and home.

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