Friday, 5 August 2011

What a Wonderful Day! (in the clag, on and around Walla Crag)

Date:                   Thursday, 4th August 2011
Start/Finish:         Ashness Bridge, nr Keswick
Distance:             8.5 miles
Time Taken:         9 hours (including add-on)
Companion(s):      Mick

Route Map:

We planned today's route to be a relatively easy, gentle one as, following our exertions in the Howgills last Saturday and Blencathra the week before that, a walk without the long, steep ascents and descents (and narrow paths traversing steep hillsides!) we thought that this would be a pleasant change.  Our final plan for the day was for it to be nice and dry and clear weather so that we could take our time on our wander, revelling in all of the wonderful views to be had.

So, following the usual routine for a walk with Mick, the day began with a 6am set off from home to meet, transfer gear to the correct car and then head out to our destination.  All went according to plan until about the mid-way point across country, when the rain clouds began to gather and a few raindrops appeared on the windscreen.  No worries, the forecast was set for patchy rain with sunny intervals.  However, as we headed further west, we began to have serious doubts about the abilities of weather forecasters as we were now driving through fairly torrential rain with no hints of the possibility of a break in the clouds!  We carried on regardless, whilst discussing our good fortune at having learnt a valuable lesson on the waterproofness of our gear on a recent walk in the Cheviots and therefore having come better prepared for wet weather on all of our walks since.  Hmmm - pride comes before a fall, eh Mick? :-) :-)

Anyway, having successfully navigated our way through Keswick, we arrived at the parking area beside Ashness Bridge and decided that the rain had eased off a little and that there was no point delaying the start of the walk as there didn't look as though there was the possibility of a vast improvement in the conditions for quite some time to come.  'I'm sure it'll fair up after 10 o'clock', I said.  [Note the word 'after' - I didn't say 'by'! :-) ]  So, boots and jackets on and off we went.

The walk began with the obligatory photo of Ashness Bridge...(you'll have to excuse the raindrops on the lens I'm afraid)

Then we followed the public footpath sign which led us up a sneakily disguised path (you call this a path!?)  ascending and traversing the hillside to Falcon Crag, passing Brown Knotts on the way.  Now this 'path' was not quite what we expected and was definitely not our preferred terrain.  And I'm sure that, the slippery, wet rock climb/scramble in amongst the wet, tall bracken, gorse and hawthorn bushes, with the odd bit of slippery mud and grass thrown in are not highly recommended for an arty leg (or it's owner for that matter)!!

Nevertheless, we made it over all the obstacles to the point where the path turned into a much more comfortable and managable surface for us.  There were some fine views to be had from this height - or there would have been had we not been in the rain clouds....

Did one of us take a tumble Mick?  Or have you been trying to dye your shorts?  Oh no - are the underpants wet too?  And is that jacket really waterproof?  Oh - almost forgot - are the feet wet yet?

OK - I feel better now lol......on with the walk.

We carried on along the path over Falcon Crag heading towards the top of Walla Crag but couldn't drag ourselves away from this viewpoint for quite some time.  Unfortunately, we were still in the rain clouds....

Eventually, the sound of running water enticed me to venture further along the path.....I love waterfalls....even little baby ones.

At this point, we made our way to the top of Walla Crag but, even though we did actually climb up to the viewpoint on the top, my camera seems to have stayed in the plastic bag in my pocket.  More than likely, my hands were firmly rooted to my walking poles as I peered over the edge! :-)

From here, our route took us across the top of Walla Crag to Rakefoot and then headed down, following Brockle Beck, through Springs Wood, past the suburbs of Keswick, through Castlehead Wood, across the Borrowdale Road, through Cockshot Wood, to finally arrive on the banks of Derwent Water.  I took a few photos en-route....

Upon reaching this point, I was desperately in need of a Ladies Room and, as the public facilities were no longer functional (closed!), I gently persuaded Mick that he required light refreshments at the nearby cafe.  I'm sure he enjoyed his cappucino and clotted cream scone with jam and I can definitely confirm that I enjoyed my visit to the Ladies and black coffee.  [Thanks for the treat Mick :-) ]  Mind you, just as well we were customers of this delightful establishment, otherwise I would have had to pay 50p for the privelige of paying a visit!  Shocking!!

However, feeling both satisfied and relieved (!), we fortified ourselves and ventured back out to join the hoards of tourists milling about on the banks of Derwent Water.  Somehow, I managed to get a few photos which make the place look deserted.....

and rather dismal.....(but beautiful at the same time)....

We continued to wend our way around the lake....hoping to escape the crowds.....and with the weather improving all the time....

Until the effects of the cream scone had worn off and Mick, I mean, we decided it was time for a lunch break.  Unfortunately, the photos from the lunch spot are darker than they should be as my camera was now flashing up with warning messages that I needed to replace the batteries....

Having been a girl guide and having always followed the Be Prepared motto, of course I always carry spare batteries......except today!!  So from this point on, my camera had to go into battery conservation mode and I'm going to have to beg and plead with Mick to fill in the gaps for me - extra foodie treats for you next time if you help with this one!! :-)

As we continued on way, still following the paths around Derwent Water, we passed the commemorative stones of the National Trust and Millenium.

And it was now quite warm and sunny.....

....but we were nearing the end of our walk and were simply returning to our starting point....

Now that it was warm, dry and sunny, I thought I'd get a couple of photos of our start path - can you see it? :-)

As it was still fairly early in the day, after we had lounged about for a while, watching all the tourists enjoying their visit to Ashness Bridge in the heat of the afternoon sun, we decided to add another little walk up to the next viewpoint along the road to our day out and what a marvellous finale it made!

Peering at the paths on the next mountain range for us to conquer......(is that a yes from you Mick?)

and the rest of the stunning views....

Oh - and Mick was almost dry now! :-)

Yet another wonderful day in excellent company - Thanks again Mick :-)

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