Familiar territory

A nice & sunny day in the Lakes

If it’s Saturday, then it’s our last full day in the Lakes and it’s a walking one.

The route was very familiar as I’ve been using it for years, but we chose to walk under half of the usual distance and take it at a leisurely pace too.

The full route is from Ambleside to Rydal Hall then to Grasmere via the Coffin Path. After that It’s out on the road for a while before heading upwards over Red Bank before hitting the village of Elterwater.

From there it’s onward to Elter Water, Skelwith Bridge and skirt Tarn Foot Farm before going up over the back part of Loughrigg and then dropping back into Ambleside via Rothay Park.

The full route is around thirteen miles and it’s the one I used often back in my days as a gear tester as it’s a) familiar and b) has just about every surface you’re likely to encounter if you’re assessing & reviewing new boots.

Our choice, and we chose to accept it, was to wander through Ambleside, walk towards Rydal Hall, have some coffee and cake then head upwards towards Rydal Mount (former home to the Wordsworths) and then along the Coffin Path to How Top before taking the road down to Dove Cottage (the other home of the Wordworths) before walking into Grasmere itself.

The way through to Rydal Hall was the quietest I’d seen it for years and the campsite I’ve used on many occasions was quiet.

At Rydal Hall (both pics)

After taking some shots of the waterfalls, coffee and cake was ordered and paid for by card for a change as there was a no cash policy in operation. 

Then it was up to Rydal Mount and time to hit the more rugged part of the track leading to Grasmere. This was also quiet and surprisingly so considering how many people had been wandering around Ambleside on Friday and first thing on this Saturday morning. 

Dove Cottage was reached in no time, but there was no chance of heading inside as it was closed to the general public at that time. 

We did get the chance to pay homage to the Wordsworths, because one place was open as a means of paying respects…

Lunch beckoned, but it wasn’t to be at the first place we sat down in. We were shown to a table, given a couple of menus and that was it. Staff came and went with food or taking orders at other tables, but not ours, so we legged it in search of another café.

And found one – Heidi’s (heidisgrasmere.co.uk). It’s a café and there’s rooms available too, but we were there for lunch and yes, it was warm enough to sit outside to eat.

Once fed, we took a look inside Sam Read Booksellers (samreadbooks.co.uk) and came away with a couple of paperbacks that I’d taken a shine to. Caroline and I had the place to ourselves as only two mask wearers at a time were being allowed in to browse and buy. 

We also took a look inside a couple of art gallery shops too, but didn’t buy anything as we are running out of wall space at home due to the calendars, photos from previous travel trips and the pieces of art work that Caroline has made over the years.

Another coffee beckoned, as did a soft drink, but the soft drink may well have been one of the worst I’ve ever tasted so it was time for another double espresso to take the taste away!

We did take the easy way back to Ambleside – by bus, so we got back, had time to wash & brush up before heading out for our evening meal.

Which was at The Priest Hole once more – they were as good as their word and rang me after a table came up, so it was back there for another evening of good, unpretentious food and a bottle or two of fine local ales.

The Priest Hole – one more time!

The next stop was back to Wanslea to prep for the next day, which turned out to be a quiet one. The museum we drove to turned out to be advance bookings only, so we ended up going to Booth supermarket in Kirkby Lonsdale for sandwiches, soft drinks and the chance to stock up on some unfamiliar ales and cider for home consumption.

Then it was time to head home, sort the washing out and use the phone to order a couple of curries for delivery as we didn’t feel like heading out again. 

A good few days? Oh yes…

About Keith Rickaby

I’m a writer and photographer who has worked in the tailoring trade and the outdoor/travel clothing, equipment and footwear game. Past lives include working as an outdoor instructor, managing three bands and doing PR work through an agency or my own contacts. Was a student in the mid-90s and I'm originally from the North East, but now based in Yorkshire and back to home life after three years with a travel and outdoor activity based retailer.
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