Diary Day 4 – Into the Storm

The weather’s meant to change today. Cool and cloudy early so we set out straight after brekky and decide to take the ” long route” because it seemed more scenic, and not that much longer. But we get mixed up near Highpark Wood. Track closed beyond Swirls for logging!


Disused water tower, Thirlsmere, just before the rain

Go back down near the water, take another wrong turn at Great How, waste an hour before we get to the dam wall and it starts to rain, of course. We haven’t really gone far. Easy walking along track and road and fairly sheltered at first. Lunch at Armboth, raining heavier now and little protection. My waterproof camera has a dead battery and it’s too wet to get my Sony out, so no photos from now on, you’ll have to take my word for it all.
Through a gate and up a hill, sheep and bracken, pine plantation to our left. Maybe we’re actually in that Rob Roy movie. Not too hard a climb, but rain in our faces, wind swirling the clouds. Notes say head uphill on clear path till you reach a cairn at the top, then straight down. One paragraph. Easy.
After an hour the path disappears. Other walkers coming down so we go where they came from. Meet a broken wall, not in the notes which are disintegrating now from the rain. Press on cold and anxious. Absolutely wet through, except for Vicki who’s packed wet weather clothing. No cairn. Various paths appear and disappear in the mist. Visibility no more than 50 yards. They still use yards in this part of the world.
My sister falls behind.
Very boggy as the slope starts to level out. Wet through and through, boots squelching, face zipped up in my parka but it is no longer waterproof. Eventually we reach the plateau of High Tove, and there is a cairn! And a gate not in notes but clear on the map.
Driving rain and howling wind. Head across the top and start to descend. Track is clearer but ground boggier, if possible. Down into the picturesque hamlet of Watendlath. Along a beautiful valley with a river, bridges, oak woods, then up and over Mossmire Coppice.

Tex in Keswick

Tex at the end of the trek, in rainy Keswick

Again notes don’t make sense, near a pretty stream and waterfall. But we just press on, passing some schoolboys on a hill heaving on a rope in the rain. Wish I could get the camera out. Pictures tell a hundred words don’t they?
We head downhill, glimpse the Derwent Water and figure this very steep path should lead to High Lodore. Legs barely coping with the downwards slope. Eventually Borrowdale Hotel, very swish with a wide driveway and high ceilings. Wet through, we timidly ask for the pay phone to call for a taxi, in hushed tones, to carry us to Keswick. The driver is nice and friendly, but she puts a blanket across the seat since we are so wet! Thus we arrive at Keswick, a lovely town full of greying g tourists and wet walkers. Pubs, restaurants and a dozen outdoor clothing shops. A Moot Hall in the tiny market square, one of the relatively few recognised Saxon remnants in the whole country, once the meeting place of the local Hundred. Too much history, even a pencil museum (remember Cumberland Pencils and Derwents?) so a lovely dinner before the fire in the Kings Arms, chatting with other visitors and drinking Pinot Grigio. A fabulous few days!

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