The last day of my break in the Lakes was a belter. I’d arranged to meet up with Helena, a relative from the North East who is a keen walker and we’d been talking about walking together in the Lakes for a while. She’s a similar age to my daughter. I’ve never been able to convince either of my offspring about the pleasures of hill walking so it was nice to get out with a young person who likes to get outdoors. She’s much more energetic and adventurous than me, having tackled Sharp Edge, for example, and is a keen “wild swimmer” too. She’s been staying over in Keswick the previous night and I picked her up from her B and B and then set off, driving down the Borowdale road.
We parked up in the Great Wood car park on the shores of Derwent Water and set off up through the woods, eventually reaching a path where we turned right towards Castlerigg farm and then, crossing over a narrow footbridge, we took the path up the hill towards our first destination. Views opened up over Derwent Water, the fells to the west of the lake, and, to the north, Skiddaw and Blencathra.
After a short steep climb and we reached the summit of Walla Crag. Not so high, but a great viewpoint over Derwent Water and the western fells. The air was very clear so we could see over the Solway Firth to the hills of Galloway in Scotland.
We stopped for a little while taking in the views, snapping photographs and chatting with other walkers who’d made their way up to this popular viewpoint. Then it was time to set out again heading for our next destination, Bleaberry Fell, a relatively modest fell at 1,936 feet high – not quite a mountain if you take the definition as 2,000 feet. It’s an easy, gentle walk on a good path across the boggy (particularly after the recent rain) moorland, with a bit of a bite at the end. Helena was quite patient with the old man making his way slowly up the steep climb to the summit! When we reached it, there were great views all around.
Over to the east towards the Helvellyn range
Some other walkers we talked to were planning on walking over to High seat – an option which makes for a good circular route – good, that is, except that this entails crossing “the infinite swamp of despair” as described by Black Crag in his recent video on Youtube. Even Wainwright reckons that “this is a walk to wish on one’s worst enemy“ and given my experience on waterlogged fields and moors over the past few days, I didn’t feel like dragging Helena through the bogs. Instead we retraced our steps towards Walla Crag but before reaching it turned off down the path descending down towards Ashness Bridge.
Reaching, Ashness Bridge, an old pack horse bridge, which is an easily accessible and very popular “honeypot”, there were quite a few people, snapping photographs and selfies. After taking our own photos (!) we made our way a short distance up the road to visit another well known honeypot viewpoint – “Surprise View”. Amazingly, I’d never actually been up to it before.
We returned to Ashness Bridge and then took the path that hugged the bottom of the fell that would take us back to the car park at Great Wood
but before returning to the car, we made our way to the lakeside at Calf Close Bay. It’s become something of a tradition when I’m over this way to check out the Hundred Year Stones to see whether they’re submerged in the lake. They were partially submerged this visit
As we walked back to the car park we both commented that we could kill a coffee, but the nearest place to get one was back in Keswick – or so I thought. Crossing the road we spotted a mobile coffee van parked up in the car park! We couldn’t believe our luck so made our way over with some haste ! Talking to the owners, who were from Liverpool originally, we found out that it was a new venture. The coffee was delicious and provided a much needed caffeine boost at the end of the walk.
We debooted and I drove H back to Keswick where she was staying for a second night, but I was time for me to set off home after another good short break in the Lake District. It had started out horrible and wet, but the weather had improved over the few days and this had a been a great end to my visit.