Monday, 7 December 2015

Wainwright's Coast to Coast - Day 5

To better enjoy the photos, please click on them to increase their size.

Wednesday 16 September, 2015.

Patterdale to Shap - 18.2 kms. Suggested route 25 km.
                                 5 hours walking

 We chose not to take Kirsty Pike Route

The extract from our guidebook that helped us come to this decision, along with the heresay of other walkers.

The fear of day 5, had been hovering in our minds since our day 2 adventure and early the previous evening, Jocelyn said to me that she had decided to travel with the luggage. I could fully understand after her fall. Margot was also debating this option when we met her in the bar. Soon after, the Brisgang arrived from their accommodation and conducted a vote as to whether they should take an alternative route that they had been told about. We joined the discussion. The end result was that we asked if we could hike with them on this new route, as we wouldn't be able to do it on our own without a  map or directions. Initially I was disappointed, as I had loved the challenge of the peaks and the scenery of day 2, but as I have issues with bursitis in my feet, I knew it was the sensible thing to do.

I woke quite early and decided to revisit an arched bridge that we had chanced upon, on our evening stroll. The day had dawned sunny and crisp. My feet danced across the footpath with the joy of this beautiful morning, a feeling that was to be magnified throughout the day.


The plan was to walk 2.2 kms [in the opposite direction to the normal route] to the shore of Lake Ullswater.  Then take the steamer down its length to  Pooley Bridge and hike across the moors to Shap.

The village church

Almost halfway to the pier, Margot found her room keys in her pocket. By sheer chance we were only a few metres from a post box and it was with great relief that she popped them into the post. When we arrived in Orton, there was a message attached to her luggage asking for them. She rang to explain and the hotel had already received them. 

As soon as we arrived at the lakes edge, we knew we would not regret changing the route. The day was becoming stunning and the mirror images of the surrounding fells on the the lakes surface, took our breath away.

           Our steamer

Pooley Bridge was a delightful village, with its white washed homes, pubs and its colourful hanging baskets. Hanging baskets such as these, delighted me throughout the walk and later in France and Switzerland.

Taking a break from writing this blog, I have just discovered that 'Storm Desmond', which has hammered the UK over the past few days, has collapsed the actual Pooley bridge, built in 1764. We had all spent quite some time admiring this structure as we crossed into the village. Sadly, there has been dreadful damage throughout the entire region.

11.15 am saw us out of the village and following a dirt road, which gradually ascended to the moors. As we climbed the views quickly opened out to both lake and vast heather covered moors. Eventually the road turned into a wide, clear track.



The track wound its way across the moors, sometimes between high rock walls, sometimes passing farms and small villages. In the village of Bampton we discovered a tiny park with a few benches,  gurgling stream  and across the road was the three in one - The Village Store, B&B and Tearoom. We quickly depleted their stock of ice-creams, as it was a warm day by this time.

Village of Bampton Grange

Some of the k's in the morning, after we had left the moors, were road walking along peaceful, country lanes, but after lunch we delighted in crossing grassy, green fields and climbing an assortment of stiles.

At this point, a road divided the field. There were stiles on both rock walls. They took a lot of maneuvering as they were mere slits, with high stepping up stones and swinging gates.

Shap Abbey just 2.4 kms from our destination of Shap Village, was a monastic religious house built in 1199.
Here, the 'slow pace' of the the super fit, just a tad younger than us Brisgang, caught up with Joc
and I.
We viewed the ruins from the bench chair. My poor feet needed to be released, before I could continue on. I am so grateful that we were able to hike with this group, see the splendour of Ullswater and the moors and arrive feeling that we would be able to make it to the North Sea in 11 days time. That may not have been the case with the alternative.

The last field before entering Shap. 
After exiting the field via a wooden gate, my eye was caught by the beauty of a perfect dandelion. I innocently knelt down to get the perfect shot and promptly put my hand on a stinging nettle. I foolishly forgot that dock rubbed on it, takes the pain away almost immediately. My fingers tingled for several days.

It was near 4pm when we arrived at our accommodation, giving us time to relax, organise washing and explore the long street of Shap. We arrived just too late at the King's Arms to join the Brisgang women in a game of billiards versing the men, but a darts competition was organised for the following night.

The Lakes District gave us a glorious farewell. I will miss her.

I wonder if my story has encouraged you to visit this area of such stunning natural beauty, with its sense of isolation and peacefulness. I would love to read your comment.


  1. Glad you are resuming your walk recaps. Sounds like the alternate route was a good decision. What a lovely route!

  2. I would love to visit this wonderful place--- But reality (something I usually avoid) sets in. Well at least I have your wonderful images. Some beautiful shots here, Helen.

  3. I don't blame you for opting for such a pretty route. Nice to see all that blue sky!

  4. WOW!! What gorgeous countryside! I'd love to visit the UK again to do some hikes like this!!

  5. So, in fact, this was the Lake District! i didn't remember the names from my trip - it was a long time ago. What beautifuly scenery and what a lovely walk. Sorry about the stinging nettles. I am only just learning to recognise them - I have so often answered a call for nature right in the middle of a patch.