The rain is set in for the day and there’s a fair amount of low cloud so we make the decision to walk a loop that Dave had done previously. It means a short journey by car to the other side of Derwent Water and parking the cars at Lodore Falls Hotel who have clearly cottoned on to the potential gold mine related to car parking. It’s £10 per day or part thereof but we do have four people in each car so it divides out at a level that waters the eyes a little less.
The first half kilometre is along the road but there is a path of sorts although traffic does seem to be quite busy with some wagons thrown in for good measure. We eventually turn off the road and begin walking a zigzag path into the woods. The trees are just beginning to show their summer clothes and many of them are in bloom but the rain on their leaves has also created a hazardous water feature should you be foolish enough to brush against them. The amount of water that a leaf can store defies logic and a simple brush with a small shrub renders me with a wet stain across my front that implies prostate issues. We have to stop a couple of times on the way up to the wonderfully named ‘Hogs Earth’. At the top, we pause for breath and take in the view of this boggy end of Derwent Water. We can’t see it now for the trees but we know that there are boards across the boggy reed bed that will be end of our loop in about six hors time. It’s a protected area for the birds and reminds me of the wonderful reed bogs we used to have a Yafforth and how permission was got for their drainage. They were the source of many bird spotting and, I’m ashamed to say, egg collecting excursions when we were young over sixty years ago. I have no issues with the wonderful people who have moved there and developed it, just feel slightly robbed that it is now drained.
We start walking again after zipping up against the wind and showery bursts. It’s a bit warm with our waterproofs on but the alternative would render us very wet and, almost immediately, very cold, so we remain zipped up in the knowledge that it’s the right thing.
The rain has stopped again and we enter the next wood and begin the second stage of the climb. The track clings to the river which is running quite quickly due to the rain. We stop to admire the falls and George takes a couple of photos; he’s a modest man who’s photographic skills are immense but comparatively rarely used; however, when he does he tends to nail it with well framed and technically perfect shots and I use them regularly on this site; thanks George Renwick.
We continue on a fairly flat stretch that’s littered with huge boulders clearly left after some immense natural physical action millennia ago and it reminds us of the fact that we humans may be able to do lots of things but nature still rules the roost. The path is windy and rocky so wits are required at each step and guarded glances several yards in front are necessary to ensure a safe trajectory over the rock. The track begins to rise slightly and we emerge from a wood out of breath but looking forwards to a hot beverage at the local cafe as we approach Watendlath
There’s a small hump-back-bridge that takes us into the tiny hamlet where we’re going to get warmed through and take on some local food, always a treat. Some of us have mental images of pies and sticky buns or cake together with a drink and a sit down.
We’re obviously disappointed and Dave is a bit uncomfortable after building us up over the first third of the walk but it’s certainly not his fault and no blame is laid at any door, we just replan. We do, of course, take the piss out of him incessantly and without mercy as Rule 2b is applied, just for the fun of it.
Rule 2b now well applied, we look forward to the cafe that we’re now hoping will be open in Rosthwaite.
The track out of Watendlath is back over the hump-back-bridge then a short distance near the lake followed by some more quite steep ‘up’ and as we approach the top we decide on a pit stop of our own to eat some of the sandwiches carefully prepared for the eventuality of a closed cafe. It’s good forward planning and after twenty minutes, results in a spring in the step and a new enthusiasm for the rest of the climb.
The track across the top is undulating and gently twists but does give some fabulous views across Borrowdale then the drop down seems to last forever and there are times when slippage on the scree and loose stones results in some wildly swinging arms as the victim lurches to left or right and follows it by digging his stick into a crack with a view to maintaining a vertical demeanour… and dignity.
We walk into Rosthwaite which is blessed with two hotels, an extremely well serviced public convenience, a couple of farms and a sewage farm. It’s bigger than the tiny hamlet of Watendlath nestled in the mountains and when you couple it all with a lovely little cafe serving all of the things dreamt of above, well we’re delighted. We’re just in time; however, and within minutes of us taking our seats it fills up like a coach has arrived but service is still good and we’re more than satisfied with the fayre.
We re-emerge into the light and the showers have abated for a while as we negotiate our way along a well defined farm track with trees in full blossom randomly growing along its length. As we approach the River Derwent the trees become an avenue lining the banks of the river and defining its route. We cross on another hump-back-bridge with incredibly slippy cobbles covering its road and the choice is to run down the exit side or grip the wall, sticks are not enough to avoid the slippage.
We enter another wood with dry-stone-wall at the edge which ironically, is wet then we spot a cave or mine, we’re not sure which so we investigate.
It has been a mine but doesn’t appear to be deep and there’s a spoil heap at its side that is evidence of its previous production. The slate is shining in the watery sunshine as we take a break between showers. We’re delighted that the gap between them is lengthening and our coats are spending more time open to let the sweat out and the air in, the level of exertion is less than on the top but is still significant as we make our way across the hillocks and rock steps that follow the river.
We emerge onto a back road but it is tarmac making it so much easier to walk and as we round a bend we’re hit by the most dramatic sight of vivid colour, I’m red green colour blind but even I can appreciate the visual hit that the rhododendron in the garden have on us all. They’re shouting their colours like soccer hooligans after a few beers. They’re YELLOW, ORANGE and RED and even I can see them. What a treat for the final stage of a lovely walk.
After much admiration and many photos we move on and turn right into a field that becomes the marshes then wooden walkways that make it possible for us to travers the bog back to the cars.
This is an excellent walk of about 14km (9 miles) or maybe a little more and it kept us out of the cloud so we could see the countryside and that was the original reason for planning it.
Thanks Dave Rider for leading it.
Enjoy the snaps…G..x
Please feel free to ‘share’ or comment, I love comments…