Coniston to Great Langdale

May 19, 2013

Today was Day 2 of our walk along the Cumbria Way. The clouds were still down over the fells this morning, which was a bit disappointing, but it wasn’t raining and we were told that there was no rain forecast for today. So that wasn’t so bad.

After breakfast we settled the bill and headed out the door. Again there was some confusion about where the trail left the village, but we soon got that sorted out. Our route took us uphill through the woods to Tarn How. This huge property originally belonged to the Marshall family of Monk Coniston Hall, who in 1914 built a dam to flood a marshy area and provide power for a sawmill, thus forming the lake. The property was purchased in 1929 by Beatrix Potter, who then resold it to the National Trust, and so it remains intact and open to the public. The walk was very lovely as we went around one side of the tarn and through woods carpeted with bluebells. Today there were a lot of walkers there, which surprised us until we remembered that today was Sunday.


The trail continued up and down, through woods and along farm tracks and past several slate cottages. Between our guidebook, the Ordnance Survey map, and the frequent waymarks our route-finding was quite easy. At one point our book suggested a slight variation to visit Colwith Force. With all the rain lately the falls were running strongly, and we decided to stop for lunch here with a view of the raging river.

After lunch we could see our shadows for a few moments, and we had a brief glimpse of blue sky, but not for long. However luckily there was still no rain. It didn’t take us very long to reach Skelwith Bridge, where once again we took a short detour to look at Skelwith Force. Onwards we went along a nice walking path on the shore of Elterwater. The trail was quite busy with walkers and families enjoying their weekend, and soon we came to the village of Elterwater.

We stopped for a moment at Wainwright’s Inn to check out the menu as a potential place to have dinner, then continued on the trail. We passed through an old slate-quarrying area with huge piles of slate waste, and finally we were in the Great Langdale valley. Following instructions from Vicki at our B&B, we continued along the Cumbria Way until just before Oak Howe, where we took the bridge across the beck and went up to the main road. From here the farmhouse was just above us, although it took us a couple of minutes to work out just which one it was. We rang the bell hoping for the best, and we were at the right place and our bags had arrived!

The B&B, Robinson Place Farm, is a 319-year-old stone farmhouse, so you have to watch your head when going upstairs and through doorways. Tonight we were the only guests, so we chose the room at the end of the hallway. It had a view out over the valley, but the best view was from the hall window outside our door which looked towards the Langdale Pikes. It would have been better if they hadn’t been hidden in the clouds.

The nearest place for food was about 2 kilometers down the valley, the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. So at 5:45 pm we started out to go there. It was easy to get there, along the public bridleway which led us directly there. The walk took about 20 minutes. It being Sunday, the bar had “Sunday roast” as a special—roast beef, potatoes, vegetables, gravy, and Yorkshire pudding—that was an easy choice for both of us. We ate outside on the patio enjoying the views, then walked back to the farm.

Previous: Coniston
Next: Great Langdale

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