Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Leaving Borrowdale coast to coast

Day 4
 struggled to put the tent up in Stonethwaite (love the sound of that name very northern very viking) I was that tired, strong sun and week knees had done for me,staggered to the shower and hot hot water revived me, food fulfilled me,took a stroll down the road to the pub,I love walking through small villages at twilight especially to English country pubs.
 the well lit pub was full of hikers but warm enough to sit outside,a trend I was beginning to find was that most if not all of the pubs in Lakeland had staff from Poland or other east European countries working behind the bar,a smiling  lad told me all the staff  lived on the premises  the cost taken out of their wages,he was happy and it brought a certain charm to this very typical of English establishments.
 all and I mean all of the drinkers had maps unfolded on the tables heads bent over as they viewed and planned the next days walk,I walked home humming Dylan's Back Pages "using ideas as our maps,ah but I was so much older then,I'm younger than that now"
 the night was cold and not much sleep was had till the sun rose and warmed both me and the tent and I then fell asleep till 10am  and caught the bus to Keswick the tourist capital of the Lakes,even after just 3 days in the hills the place seemed so surreal,every other shop sold hiking gear,very expensive hiking gear! and it seemed everybody in town was wearing it,the place had the look of an alpine sky resort,all the gear but no idea,but they looked good and I was able to stock up with things needed and treated myself to good food lots of good food,and retreated back to my campsite sated.
Day 5
 the route recommended by the guide today was 18 miles (30km) and included climbing up Lining crag-Eagle crag-Helm crag and summit rocks and that was just  halfway to Grasmere not the intended finish in Patterdale,so the new plan was to split the recommended routs in half.

looking back at Borrowdale and my haven of Stonethwaite it's good to see how high you climb in so short a time,it helps when you look foreword and see how high you still have to climb!!

more walkers were on the road today some even going all the way to Patterdale but they left me in their wake as they stormed up Lining crag just 2 miles from the village but already I was tiring

they are difficult to see but a bunch of the hardier souls took a break at the top and shouted encouragements to me as I struggled up the path (path!!!) on the left bless em.
this was getting serious,people fall off these things
lunch was taken at the top but it was bottled oxygen that was needed

       my brunch companions were a Belgium couple similar age to me,good people who I would continue to see over the next few days,like most of the other walkers they were staying in expensive bed and breakfast places their gear transported between each place and just day packs carried during the walk.
 if I had the money I would have probably do the same
.few people camped out but those that did shared some of the best moments of the way with me so no regrets-no gain without pain right right?

Grasmere the destination for the day lays hidden in the distance round the corner on the far right.
 the path follows the beck most of the way and is very peaty and boggy like walking on a mattress. I slipped and fell twice.*******

"Grasmere is a lovely village in a setting endowed with sylvan grace and dignity,beloved of artists and poets and because of associations with Wordsworth,is known internationally and has become a place of pilgrimage" so my guide book says
but to my mind while still being a pretty village it had no soul just ye oldie tea and cake shops traffic jams and coach trips and two plush hotels,I drank a pint of cold beer brought to my table by a charming girl from Poland who carried my water bottle away and refilled it exchanged waves with fellow hikers finished for the day just waiting for their rooms to be ready so they could take their warm showers and lay on their linen sheets and sleep.
 no campsites here so time to wander lonely as a cloud and try and find one.
 word on the mean streets was what few campers there was were heading 3miles up (up!!) Grisedale pass to Grisdale tarn,it took a while to find a proper shop, food and a bottle of wine was purchased and up I headed

it took a while but made it I did,pitched the tent by the waters edge waved to the four other campers and watched the sun go down on this tranquil Cathedral stillness,
truth be known I was feeling a little down,I had made the mistake of buying a newspaper in town in search of sports results,but it was full of the horrors that had taken place in Norway the day before.
   when I was young I rarely cried but now I'm a father they flow like the wine I was drinking,but the setting helped,I'm not one for churches but these high open places never fail to fill my soul with peace
 as the sun was setting and it grew dark silhouetted figures started to appear on the horizon about 20 looking all the world like a band of marauding Indians about to invade the camp,they turned out to be a band of youngsters camping out on the far side of the tarn,their talk and laughter lulled me to sleep.
 In the morning on the walk down the other side they apologised thinking they had disturbed me,I told them no problem and to keep on enjoying life.

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