Sunday 25 March 2018. It was a frosty blue-sky morning and it would have been criminal not to get out for one final walk on this holiday. I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic. Perhaps losing an hours sleep as the clocks went forward last night had something to do with it.
I made the short drive and parked just outside of Windermere on the busy A591. My 5 mile route with 500ft of ascent took me around the western edge of Windermere town and into the countryside to follow part of the Dales Way. I should have walked farther and climbed School Knott but I just couldn’t be bothered. Overweight and a lack of fitness had taken its toll making me even more lethargic than usual. That said, I’ve walked a total of 38 miles with 6,000ft of ascent during the last 2 weeks.
Windermere – walk route
Saturday 24 March 2018. After a couple of days of poor weather, cold winds & rain, it was good to be able to get out again today. The morning rain soon gave way to more spring-like weather. I had to take off my coat and roll up the sleeves of my pullover to avoid over-heating.
I drove to a spot just above Kendal that I’ve used before as the starting point of another walk. The only disadvantage is that it is at the top of a hill meaning that the first part of the walk was downhill but there was a climb back up at the end. Most of today’s route was new to me and took me through the rolling hills of South Lakeland. There were good views across to the fells in the west where the cloud was still swirling around the tops.
The rains of the last couple of days meant that the surface of the tracks was greasy making it difficult to climb the many ups and downs on my route. The fields were full of new-borne gambling lambs giving much amusement as they bounced their way around. The walk was a little over 6 miles but had a total ascent of almost 800ft.
Cunswick Fell – walk route
Thursday 22 March 2018. I entered full tourist mode today with a visit to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top House at Near Sawrey. This entailed the use of the car ferry across Lake Windermere (£4.40 each way) in order to avoid a longer drive through Ambleside and Hawkshead. My Scottish National Trust membership expires at the end of the month so I thought that I’d take advantage of this by parking at Hill Top, visiting the house and then going for a walk nearby.
Non-NT members are required to pay £12 to visit the house which has just 3 rooms on the ground floor and 4 rooms upstairs. There is no on-site tea room so my visit lasted all of 10 minutes. Hardly value for money although the thousands of Chinese and Japanese visitors must think it worthwhile.
It was a grey overcast day with a chilly strong breeze blowing which made my mind up to give the walk a miss. I did it last year in warm spring sunshine and didn’t want to spoil good memories by freezing today. I can do the walk when staying in Torver during August when it will be a little warmer.
Wednesday 21 March 2018. It got down to -7 last night so it was still pretty chilly when I started my walk from nearby Beetham. I had deserted the Lake District National Park in favour of Arnside & Silverdale AONB and wasn’t disappointed. I was following a route outlined as “Beetham Heritage Walk” which suggested that it would be 7 miles. Whilst I made a couple of minor alterations, I was surprised that it turned out to be only 5 miles with a total ascent of 700ft.
Much of this walk was in woodland and on limestone outcrops which added to the interest. I wasn’t expecting to find large expanses of limestone pavement similar to that found around Malham in the Yorkshire Dales but this came as a very pleasant surprise. The other highlight of the walk was the “Fairy Steps”. As can be seen from the picture these lead down to the foot of a limestone cliff. It looked like a tight squeeze and my route meant that I would be going down them. All a little too difficult for me so I opted for an easier bypass to get to the foot of the steps. Folk-lore has it that if you can climb the steps without touching the sides, then you will see a Fairy. I doubt that I could even get through the narrow gap so I had no chance of seeing the elusive fairy.
More woodland walking followed before I finished by passing through a deer park with a magnificent group of stags.
Beetham – walk route
Tuesday 20 March 2018. Just 8 weeks after my heart attack I returned to finish the walk that almost saw me off. I caught the bus from Ings to Grasmere and started the walk a little later than usual at 11am. Passing the hotel that I stayed at, The Grand at Grasmere, I continued along Red Bank road and through Red Bank Wood to arrive at the end of Loughrigg Terrace. It was here, on my heart attack walk, that I decided that I couldn’t do any more and returned to my hotel. It was the best decision I’ve ever made!
Today, I seemed to be back to normal although making the odd stop to catch my breath due to a lack of fitness. The second picture shows something of the climb that lay ahead of me to get to the top of Loughrigg Fell. It only just tops 1,000ft but felt much higher as it was steps all of the way. No sooner had I reached the trig point than it was time to descend, just as steeply, towards Loughrigg Tarn. It would have been nice to have a level walk back to Ambleside but my route included many more ups and downs before finishing at about 3pm, just in time to catch the 3:19 bus back to Ings.
The walk, which was just 5.5 miles, had a total ascent of 1,428ft. For me, this was a tough walk and just about as much as I can manage at the moment. However, it was reassuring to know that I was able to complete the walk with no ill-effects.
Loughrigg Fell – walk route
Monday 19 March 2018. Although it was a bright sunny morning, the bitter east wind was still blowing strongly so, rather than doing Loughrigg Fell, I decided to stay a little lower by doing another of my favourite Lake District walks.
I drove the short distance to Ings where I parked the car and then caught the bus to the Brockhole Vistor Centre on the shore of Lake Windermere. From here the next mile and a half was all steadily uphill until joining Robin Lane which runs out of Troutbeck towards Ambleside. The views from here are spectacular taking in much of Lake Windermere and the fells right round from Coniston Old Man and Wetherlam, across Crinkle Crags to Bowfell, and Great End.
This is a popular route and despite it being a cold Monday morning there were many walkers with the same idea as me. Passing through Skelghyll Woods the path eventually took me into the centre of Ambleside from where I caught the bus back to Ings. Although the walk was only 4 miles it included a total ascent of over 800ft.
Robin Lane – walk route