April 20, 2016
We had checked out of the Buttermere hostel this morning and spent the day hiking from Honister Pass to Great Gable, and now we were heading onwards to the Ambleside YHA. Normally this would be a straightforward drive, but one of last winter’s storms had washed out the Keswick-Ambleside road and it still hadn’t been repaired. So we had to take a circuitous route over narrow roads, and we finally arrived at the hostel at about 6 pm.
The hostel was a very large newly-refurbished building and it was very busy. Paul and Neil were in separate dorms on the first floor, but Rosemary asked about the possibility of a lower bunk, so the girl at the desk opened up a new dorm room on the third floor, and so Rosemary was the sole occupant of that room. We met downstairs for dinner at 7:30 pm, by which time Rosemary’s car-sickness had gone away. The restaurant overlooked the lake and the view was very pleasant as we ate our dinner (a really tasty beef lasagna for all of us because the chicken and ham pie was sold out).
April 21, 2016
We met downstairs for breakfast at 8 am, having the usual egg, bacon, hash browns, and beans. (The sausage wasn’t that good so we didn’t have that.) We had thought of hiking in the Langdale Pikes area, but since the weather looked set fine for the whole day, we decided to hike the Fairfield Horseshoe instead. We had tried it a couple of years ago when we hiked the Cumbria Way, but had turned back because of rain and clouds.
So we parked near Rydal Mount, after some circling about while looking for the car park. The first part of the walk took us by one of Wordsworth’s homes and then headed steeply uphill on a cobbled lane. Soon we were climbing up Nab Scar, gaining height quickly up the ridge. The views were good despite the brown haze in the distance, and we could see the Hexham power plant. With binoculars Paul thought he could make out the towers at Blackpool.
It seemed quite warm as we ground our way up from Nab Scar to Heron Pike, then to Great Rigg, then to the top of Fairfield. Surprisingly there were a lot of skylarks singing—they must only just have returned from Africa or wherever they spend the winter. The top of Fairfield is very flat, with several windbreaks to sit behind, so it was very pleasant eating our lunch there.
To descend back to Rydal we took the other arm of the Horseshoe. It was a bit confusing because from the top of Fairfield there are trails leading downward in several directions. Our route down was long and in some places steep; we passed by Hart Crag, Dove Crag, High Pike, and Low Pike, adding up to six new Wainwrights for the day. At the bottom we passed through a new micro-hydro project before finally reaching the car park.
It had been a long day and all of us were happy to get back to the hostel for much-needed hot showers. At dinner they were out of the chicken and ham pie again, so Paul and Rosemary had the lasagna again and Neil had fish and chips. We discussed the idea of the GR10 (along the Pyrenees in France) as a possible future walk, as Christine had been talking about it. But it’s 900 km long with not many places to stay, so we definitely wouldn’t be doing it all in one go!
April 22, 2016
Our time in the Lake District had been very successful, with only half a day of heavy rain stopping us from walking. But now we were heading back to London and then home. But before leaving we drove up to Grasmere again, just to look around a bit more. And incidentally to buy some more Grasmere gingerbread!
We had train tickets from Windermere, but Neil drove us all the way to the Oxenholme station where we caught the direct train to London. Our train manager was quite a comedian, commenting when we arrived in “tropical” Wigan and warning us to watch out for London Marathon competitors. The ride seemed very quick and we were back in London before we knew it.