Sunday, 15 November 2015

Wainwright's Coast to Coast - Day 4

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 Tuesday 15 September, 2015

Grasmere to Patterdale - 14 kms, 6 hours.

There was mist on the fells as we set off this morning.

Initially we retraced some of our steps from yesterday, before making our right turn across the valley, to commence the climb for the day to Grisedale Tarn [573m].

The pattern of the day was much the same as yesterday, but not as arduous. A long climb up Little Tongue Gill and then a reasonably gentle, long descent down the other side of the tarn to Patterdale, following the Griesdale Beck. A few sections quite steep and rough, but overall, there was time to appreciate the towering crags surrounding us, the woolly jumpers, more tumbling waterfalls and distant views.

At this beck crossing, the path divided. Deep consultation with the maps took place before we proceeded, as we didn't want to make the mistake of Day 2. The higher route was to Helvellyn at 
950 m. I had previously climbed in that area and had no desire to return, especially on hearing that 5 had died on the peak up until June this year and 11 died last year. I feel that if signage was improved, fewer would find themselves taking the wrong route.
 Looking back to Grasmere.

                               Still to climb.

 The scramble of the day to Grisedale Tarn

 We may have been 1st out of Grasmere but as we took a rest at the tarn, everyone caught up to us.
Lollies and tales were shared and group photos taken. Just a lovely atmosphere.

 A rather slippery, muddy path edged down to the tarn's shoreline.

 We had descended from the V on the left.

Now the true descent began, but thankfully the path was reasonable. As we progressed down the valley, bleating sheep again kept us company, but it was difficult to spot where they were munching high on these wild fells. What an experience it would be, to be passing, as the sheep dogs were being worked to bring them down. Further down, we were stunned at where rock walls scaled the sides of the fells. How long did they take to build? How long ago? So many questions.

                     Almost down.

 The valley was lush and green with bucolic scenes of sheep grazing and cows being herded.
Chatting to a local farmer, he told us, that he is paid a large sum of money each year, to keep farming in the traditional ways.

 Passing the Bris Gang taking their lunch break. What a perfect setting.

We arrived at the White Lion Hotel at 2.30 and we all flopped onto our beds and didn't stir for a good hour or so. First chance to relax and we made the most of it.

                        Rural view from one window.

Quaint village scene the other.

Today's mileage and gradient were very welcome. A chance to refresh before the final Lakes District challenge, of High Pike, tomorrow.

Writing this blog has been quite a saga. Initially I couldn't start when hiking, because of internet issues. Since my return, this new MacBook Pro has been challenging me constantly. It thinks it knows what I want to write and worse still, what I want to delate. Tomorrow 5 of us are flying to China on a travel deal too good to resist, so I will be back later in the year.

Do hope you too have fallen in love with the Coast to Coast. I would love to read your comment.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Wainwright's Coast to Coast - Day 3

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Monday 14 September, 2015

Rosthwaite to Grasmere - 15 kms, 7 hours.

On waking this morning I thought I could hear rain on the roof top. After yesterday's marathon, I really didn't want to set off in wet weather gear again. I dragged myself to the window and my mood brightened immediately. Not raindrops, just a gurgling stream bathed in early morning mist. The breakfast hour was late, so our departure was not until  9.30. We weren't too bothered as we ONLY had 15 kms to hike.

                          Scafell Hotel

Within a few strides, we were through the tiny village of Roswaithe, crossing Stonewaithe Beck via a stone arched bridge and following this enchanting, gurgling stream. The first few kms were flat and we delighted in all aspects of this rural countryside.

All too soon, the climbing for the day began along Greenup Gill Valley, towards Linning Crag [525m]. Having said that, I have to add that the incline was an acceptable gradient, and the music of the gill, the tumbling waterfalls, and the echoing sounds of grazing, bleating sheep, inspired us to keep on.

                       Water was tumbling everywhere.

                     Just loving the moment.

             Still going up - taking a rest stop after 2 hours of hiking.
 Checking the notes. Yes we do continue here, don't we?

As we approached Lining Crag, the valley opened up to a vast green bowl, carved by glaciers. In the light of the heavy sky, it almost appeared as a lunar landscape. During the morning we were constantly being overtaken by our new acquaintances who, by the end of the Coast to Coast, would be our good friends. Low and behold, amongst those passing us, were the 2 hikers who said " It's just a scramble to the top and follow the ridge!" Of course we let them know that they had been sworn and cursed at all the previous day, and some fun retribution was taken.

 The route to Lining Crag.

It was not an easy scramble to the top of the Crag, but lovely to look back and see what we had accomplished.

Above Lining Crag it was less steep, but we were greeted by our first bogs and with the fog suddenly rolling up the valley, we were a little concerned.


The sky was looking ominous as we began our decent, but I am pleased to relate that the weather Gods were again looking after us.

The descent was more taxing than the climb, with damper, rougher ground and irregular, rocky steps to manoeuvre. It was slow going, but SO much nicer than yesterday's hike, that we were not complaining.

We were following the valley of Far Easdale Gill down to Easdale Beck and on into Grasmere.  

It was actually a series of descents and as the day progressed, we were wondering when we would finally make it to the last one. We would reach lovely even ground, then turn a bend and the descent began again.

And again!

Hard work, but the scenery was astounding. Isolated but serene, with its tumbling waterfalls, smaller beck, the ever present sheep and as we dropped lower, rock walls and crofts.


This waterfall was well down the valley and the ground had become less harsh. Poor Joc slipped on the grass and took a tumble. Blood gushed from her nose and the nose bridge, as she lay flat out and very still on the ground. Pressure was applied to the nose and gradually we tested her limbs. Thankfully disaster had been avoided. It took some time to stem the blood flow, but other than a cut bridge, mark on her glasses, a cracked camera viewer and to 2 full black eyes for the remainder of the hike, Joc came away unscathed.  I truly admire her spirit and determination, as she had come away having only having just healed a hairline fracture of her foot.

It was only 15 kms to Grasmere, but felt like 20. Arriving here I was filled with nostalgia. I had worked as a waitress in the Shepherds Crook for 3 months, back in 1976. Today I had retraced a few of the footprints I had made then and I was overjoyed to be fortunate enough to be back walking in this beautiful part of the world. I might add that during the September of 1976, the weather had not been kind at all. My diary reads, 'drab, wet, miserable day, or bucketing down or drizzle falling' on most days. Sadly the Shepherds Crook no longer exists and my photos of Grasmere were accidentally deleted.

It was fantastic to be back in Grasmere. I hope the the trail wasn't too rough for you. I would love to read your comment.