Sorry for the delay. Here are the first 81 photos. I have 347 photos left to disposition.
Sorry for the delay. Here are the first 81 photos. I have 347 photos left to disposition.
The first 68 photos (37 photos added on October 8th). 293 left to disposition.
The first 78 photos. 55 left to disposition.
The first 89 photos. 146 left to disposition. Last update October 10th.
On Tuesday, Patty and I bid Andreas and Mary adieu, and started our journey back to the States. Andreas would have another day to tackle Cat Bells (to the peak), and Mary would be staying another week with her uncle.
Mary gave us a ride to the Windermere Bus Station. From there, we grabbed a bus to the train station at Oxenholme. And from there we took the train to the Manchester Airport station, and a taxi to the Holiday Inn Express. The next day, we had plenty of time to get to the airport, get through Security, have a cup of coffee and pick up a book from the news stand to read on the way home.
But now I’ve been home for more than 3 weeks, and I still can’t get this fantastic vacation off my mind. I want to go back, and soon! So, in this post I’m attempting to summarize the things we did (hiked over 63 miles, climbed over 10,000 ft, etc.), how we did them, and how I’d like to do them again, hopefully in the near future. If you are interested in such a journey, you may find this information useful too.
Again, many thanks to Mary and Andreas for showing us such a great time! – Rich & Patty
On Monday, our last full day in the Lake District, we started with a visit to the Castlerigg Stone Circle. Later, we would take a hike along the western shore of Derwent Water, returning to Keswick via water taxi. And after dinner outside at The Derwentwater Hotel, I would take a solo hike up a fell called Cat Bells to get some sunset shots.
The Castlerigg Stone Circle is believed to have been constructed in the Neolithic period, around the year 3200 B.C. Although its purpose remains unknown, from its perch on an impressive 700 ft plateau just east of the town of Keswick, Castlerigg occupies the stage of a massive natural amphitheater, formed by the peaks of Helvellyn (3117 ft) to the southwest, Skiddaw (3000 ft) to the northwest, Grasmoor (2795 ft) to the west, and Blencathra (2848 ft) to the northeast. This view, looking south, shows High Seat (1995 ft), which is about 3.8 miles away. The Castlerigg site is accessible from Keswick via small farm roads.
On Sunday, Mary drove us over to the vicinity of the village of Grange-over-Sands, where we started a hike up to Hampsfell Hospice. From there, we hiked down into the village of Cartmel, where we sampled some of their world-famous Sticky Toffee Pudding, and visited a local craft show in progress. Later, Mary drove us to the town of Kendal, where we toured the ruins of Kendal Castle. Then in the evening, we met up with Mary’s Uncle Frank for dinner at The Crooklands Inn in Crooklands.
This is the view looking east from about 550 ft on the hike up to Hampsfell Hospice. The body of water is the mouth of the River Kent, which comes in from the left (north). The buildings down the hill are in the village of Grange-over-Sands. And on the far shore (to the left) is Arnside Point and Arnside Knott (522 ft), which we climbed on Day 3.
On Saturday morning, Mary dropped Patty and I off at Keswick, where we toured their Saturday Market, an event that has only been going on for over 700 years. Afterwards, Patty and I hiked over 2.5 miles to Braithwaite village, from where we started a climb up Grisedale Pike (2595 ft). We didn’t go completely to the top, but we went over the ridge and came down the north side, stopping for a drink at The Cottage in the Wood, before making the final leg back into Braithwaite. From there, Patty and I took a bus to Windermere, where Mary picked us up and brought us to The Villa Levens in Kendal, where we would be staying for the next 2 nights. And after a quick shower, it was downstairs for a very nice dinner with Mary, Andreas, and Mary’s Uncle Frank.
This is Patty, in a view looking southwest, during our hike up Grisedale Pike (the peak on the right, 2595 ft). The faint path that you see leading up to that peak is the same path you see here. The mountain in the distance is Crag Hill (2749 ft), about 2.3 miles away, and the Force Crag Mine (out of view) is in the valley just this side of it.
At the point when this photo was shot, we had already hiked 2.6 miles from the Market in Keswick to Braithwaite Village, and then climbed about 1200 ft over the next 1.2 miles. From here, we would climb another 0.9 miles and more than 250 ft up that slope, to the Sleet How ridge (1750 ft) just below the peak, before returning to Braithwaite via forested mountain bike trails on the north side of the mountain. By the end of our hike, we had covered 8.8 miles, including an ascent of 1,469 ft, in 5 hours and 36 minutes.
Friday was a trip through history. We started by driving to the Langdale Boulders, near Chapel Stile, which contain Rock Art carvings that are believed to date back to 3200 B.C. From there, we went to the ruins of the Roman Fort at Hardknott, which dates back to about 120 A.D. Then from there, we went on to the ruins of Furness Abbey, just north of Barrow-in-Furness, which dates back to 1127, but was destroyed with the English Reformation in 1537 A.D. Finally, we made it back to Ambleside, where we had a nice tapas dinner at Bar eS.
This is a view looking east toward Hardknott pass from the ruins of the Roman fort on its western slope. The Roman conquest of Britain had begun in 43 A.D. under Emperor Claudius. But the Lake District area wasn’t invaded until Agricola did so around the year 77 A.D. His invasion was provisioned by the Roman Navy, operating in the Irish Sea. But the Romans needed a secure route to transfer provisions to their forces inland. So, from the Roman fort at the mouth of the River Esk at Ravenglass, early in the second century A.D, the Romans established another fort overlooking the Eskdale valley here at Hardknott, which is about 10 miles inland. They also established another fort about 12 miles further inland at Ambleside, which served as a spoke for regional commerce.
As the Romans advanced toward Scotland in late 130’s, they abandoned the fort here at Hardknott, later reclaiming it in the 160’s, before abandoning it for good in the 200’s A.D. The Roman occupation of the island they called Britannia would last another 2 centuries, until their withdrawal in the year 410 A.D.
On Thursday, we hiked “The Langdales”, starting from the vicinity of Elterwater, and ending at Walker’s Bar, at the bottom of Stickle Ghyll. Later, we returned to Elterwater, Britannia Inn for a nice dinner.
This is a view looking west toward Stickle Tarn, a lake that sits at an elevation of about 1520 ft. The tarn feeds a stream, Stickle Ghyll (behind the hill on left), that descends over 1000 ft in less than 1 mile. The mountains behind the tarn are the more distant Harrison Stickle (2402 ft) on left, and Pavey Ark (2297 ft) on right. We hiked to this tarn from the east, starting in the vicinity of Elterwater, returning to the south via a path that descends with Stickle Ghyll. The total hike covered 6.5 miles, with an ascent of 1,555 ft, and we covered it in 5 hours and 53 minutes.
On Wednesday, Mary, Andreas, and Patty dropped me off at the Blencathra Field Study Center, my starting point for a hike up to Blencathra, the 14th highest peak in England. While I was gone, Patty, Andreas and Mary drove over to a lake called Ullswater and hiked up a stream called Aira Beck to see the waterfalls called Aira Force, High Force, and High Cascades. Later, we would go to Grasmere, where we toured the shops, including the Gingerbread Shop. From there, Patty and I hiked our way back to Ambleside along the Coffin Road. That evening, we had dinner at Zeffirelli’s in Ambleside, followed by a walk around town.
On my hike, this was the view looking west from Scales Fell (2000 ft), on the eastern slope of Blencathra (2848 ft, on right, also called Saddleback). The body of water in the distance is a lake called Derwent Water. The town of Keswick (pronounced ‘Kessick’), at its northern end, is obscured by the ridge. The mountains on the other side of Derwent Water include Cat Bells, which I climbed on Day 12. The town on the valley floor is Threlkeld.
I climbed 2.3 miles up Blencathra from the Blencathra Field Study Center (1043 ft), to Blease Fell (2641 ft), and then to the peak of Blencathra (2848 ft) in 2hours, totaling 1805 ft of ascent. I returned via the path down to Scales Fell (2000 ft), and then on to the White Horse Inn in Scales (760 ft). The total hike was 4.7 miles in just under 4 hours.
On Tuesday, we hiked from Ambleside up Wansfell Pike (1581 ft), and then down into Troutbeck, where we had lunch at The Mortal Man. From there, we hike around the base of Wansfell Pike, on the south side, where we got great views Windermere Lake for much of the way. In the evening, we had a scrumptious dinner at an old farmhouse called Mason Arms Inn.
This is the view looking west towards Ambleside from the stairs climbing Wansfell Pike (1581 ft). You can see the steeple of St. Mary’s church. Windermere Lake is out of view to the left. Stock Ghyll Force Waterfall is hidden in a clump of trees near the bottom center of the view. The more distant mountain slightly to left is Loughrigg Fell, which we hiked on Day 4, and the more distant mountains slightly to right are the Langsdales, which we hiked on Day 8. In the valley to the right runs the River Rothay, which flows from Rydal Water and Grasmere. We returned to Ambleside through this valley on the southern (left) shore on Day 4, and we would return above the northern shore (right) on Day 7.
We started this hike from our homestay townhouse in Ambleside. We reached the peak of Wansfell Pike in just under 2 hours. For the return, we continued down the eastern slope of Wansfell Pike to have lunch at the Mortal Man Pub in Troutbeck. We returned to Ambleside via trails on the southern and western slopes of Wansfell Pike. The total hike was 6.6 miles, with 1,524 ft of ascent, and we covered it in 5 hours and 8 minutes.
We started our Monday with a visit to Esquires Coffee House in Ambleside. Later, we hiked down to the waterfront at Ambleside and took the Lake Cruise down to the village of Bowness-on-Windermere. From there, we hiked around and up to School Knott (761 ft), stopping at School Knott Tarn along the way. From there, we hiked into the town of Windermere, where we had lunch at Cafe Italia. And from there we hiked back down into Bowness-on-Windermere and took the boat back to Ambleside. The hiking part of our journey was on the order of 8.6 miles, with an ascent of 629 ft. It took us 3 hours and 27 minutes to complete. We had a dinner at Misto Restaurant in Ambleside that left me wanting to go back.
This is the view looking west from School Knott (761 ft), down at the town of Windermere and Windermere Lake. Also from this view you can see the Langdales in the distance, and Ambleside is just out of view on the right. What a view, huh?
On Sunday, we hiked from Ambleside up and around Loughrigg Fell. We started this hike from Ambleside, climbing Loughrigg Brow (360 ft), finally reaching a cairn at 880 ft that we assumed was the peak of Loughrigg Fell. Later, after coming down, we figured out that the peak (at 1102 ft) was 2,500 ft to the northwest. Regardless, we got some amazing views (see additional photos in the post), before making a steep descent on the south side, where we met up with Andreas and Mary at Loughrigg Tarn (500 ft). On the way around Loughrigg Fell on the north side, we stopped by Rydal Cave. The entire hike was 8.2 miles, with 1,111 ft of ascent, and it took us 5 hours and 23 minutes before we were back at our homestay townhouse in Ambleside. After we showered, we had drinks at The Ambleside Inn, followed by dinner at Fellini’s, followed by dessert at The Ambleside Tap Yard. What a day!
This is the view looking northwest from the northwest edge of the trail that circles Loughrigg Fell (1102 ft). The body of water is called Grasmere, and the town in the distance at center right is also called Grasmere. Yes, the little figures along the white strip of sand at the bottom of this hill are people, about 2 football fields (600 ft) distant and 200 ft below, having fun on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. The inlet to the right of the beach is actually a continuation of the River Rothay, which flows to a small lake called Rydal Water, and then on to Windermere Lake, entering it at Ambleside. The distinctive gap at the distant right is the valley of the River Rothay, where it forms from Green Burn coming from the left and Tongue Gill from the right. The peak on the left is Helm Crag (1329 ft), and the peak on the right is Stone Arthur (1650 ft). It doesn’t get any prettier than this!
On Saturday morning, we took a hike along Arnside Sands, around Arnside Point, up Arnside Knott, and then back to Arnside. The entire hike was 4.7 miles, with an ascent of 469 ft, and it took us just over 3 hours. Then it was on to our homestay townhouse in Ambleside, The Pavement Cottage, that we rented through Airbnb. Later in Ambleside, we hiked down to the ruins of the Roman Fort on the waterfront, and then we walked over and had drinks and dinner at The Wateredge Inn, before walking back to our flat.
This is the view looking west from near the top of Arnside Knott. You are looking across the mouth of the River Kent, which flows south (from right to left). On the far shore, you see the village of Grange-over-Sands. On the top of the hill to the right of the village is the Hampsfell Hospice (barely out of sight), which we will hike to on Day 11.
We landed in Dublin, Ireland on Friday morning. And from there we had to fly to Manchester, UK. There were flight delays, so we arrived later than we had planned. Then we had to get a rental car and drive from Manchester up to Arnside, which is below the Lake District. We made it there in the evening, and checked in at our accommodations at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks Inn. Then we took a walk along the strand, and we had dinner at the popular Arnside Chip Shop.
This is the view from Arnside looking west, on a Friday evening. The tide at the mouth of the River Kent has left, exposing the sands. And a teenage boy is exploring them.
Patty and I went to Spain in 2016, Canada and Scotland in 2017, Spain again in 2019, Ireland in 2022, and now we were heading to the United Kingdom in 2023, to explore the Lake District with our friends Mary and Andreas. This was a trip to remember, and the following 12 posts will forever keep the amazing experiences fresh in our minds.
Here we are riding the Metro out to Dulles Airport to start our journey.
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So, who is going to take the early game on Monday???
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Our friends John and Karen invited us to stay at their place near the beach this weekend. So, I wanted to leave them with some photos that capture the spectacular view from their deck. I certainly have a lot to learn about wildlife photography,
Thanks for the invite once again!
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41 photos. ‘A little blurry, but enjoy!!!