This strip is the main downtown area of Keswick. At the same time that the Saturday market was going on, it appeared that there was a rally of Ford Cortina Mark III enthusiasts. These cars are 50 years old, having been produced from 1970-1976. They were Britain’s top-selling car from 1972-1976. This one appears to be the two-door Saloon model, although I can’t tell which year.
When we got there, the market was just opening up.
From the Keswick Market, Patty and I started hiking west, through Portinscale, and Braithwaite, and then up to Sleet How, the ridge below Grisedale Pike (2595 ft). Here is the route we took. The total distance of the hike was just over 9 miles, with an ascent of 1563 ft, and we completed it in 6 hours and 19 minutes.
Clearly, if we had taken the bus from Keswick to Braithwaite, we would have probably had the gumption to make the assault on the peak. We also wouldn’t have had to dodge mountain bikers on their (red) mountain bike trail on the way down (Live and learn.).
This is looking west, at the start of our hike to Portinscale, and then on to Braithwaite Village, from where we would start the climb up Grisedale Pike (2595 ft). That’s Grisedale Pike just left of center at distance. We took the path up through the green bracken, and then on up towards the top.
Foxglove. Poisonous. Don’t eat them.
As we strolled through Portinscale.
This is looking east and down over Braithwaite. We came up and around the trail on the left. And here we were proceeding to the right. In the distance is Portinscale, and beyond that, Keswick. And the larger mountain at the left center appears to be Blencathra (2848 ft), which I hiked on Day 7.
There’s Patty, and there’s our trail going up to Grisedale Pike.
Straight ahead and on the left is the valley of Coledale Beck. At the end of that valley is Force Crag Mine.
The only word for it is ‘vast’.
And this was looking back east after making some of that climb. And yes, those are hikers down below. The body of water is Derwent Water, 2.75 miles away. The town just beyond it is Keswick. Castlerigg Stone Circle is somewhere just beyond the town.
So, we made it up to Sleet How, and there is the summit of Grisedale Pike (2595 ft).
Yeah, uh hu. Quoting Shakespeare (almost), ‘Discretion is the better part of valor’.
If we had climbed to the peak, that long sharp ridge would have been our way out.
The small white things in the foreground are cotton grass.
Oh, sure. We can do that that extra 835 ft climb. (Not today.)
So, we went over the ridge and started hoofing it down north side.
This was the Hospital Tree Plantation. The woods were beautiful.
Finally, we got down to the road through Whinlatter Pass. On the map, I had spotted a potential place for a pit stop a quarter mile away – The Cottage in the Wood. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about it, like if they would be open, or if they serve hikers. We saw the cars, so we thought we were in luck. As it turns out, this place was a 2023 Michelin restaurant. There were some very dressed up people in there enjoying their champagne lunches. But the manager saw our plight, and she said she could serve us non-alcoholic drinks out on deck out back. Bingo!
Somehow, our server immediately noticed the Camino de Santiago pins on Patty’s hat, and she started asking her about her Camino experiences. It sounded like she wants to go very badly. She also talked about fells in the area, including Skiddaw (3054 ft), which is right behind us.
She was wonderful, and she brought us these great drinks. They hit the spot …
… and we were on our way.
This is looking northwest.
When we got back to Braithwaite, we took a bus to the town of Windermere, where Mary picked us up. Since it was an unusually gorgeous Saturday, the traffic was a little heavy. So, we were a little late getting to our new hotel, The Villa Levens, near Kendal, where we had dinner plans with Mary’s Uncle.
The Villa Levens was originally a family estate. Later it was sold and became the Levens Hotel. Then it was sold to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, who in 1944 turned it into a convent, and then in 1946, a home for single mothers. I should have taken more photos of the architecture of this place. It was incredible!
And the Sticky Toffee Pudding was superb.