We had set off buoyed by the forecast of ‘weather’ clearing from the west during the morning. But as we passed Kendal it started to rain, and by the time we were ready to start walking – at 10.30 after a leisurely coffee and a discussion as to where to go, there was no sign of the forecast clearance.
So waterproofs were donned for a relatively low level circuit around Derwent Water. Six off us set off, fumbling our way past a cemetery and eventually locating the quiet lane to Spring’s Farm, where Gaynor announced that she was going shopping as she had been on most of today’s paths earlier in the week. It was some time before Sue and The Dishy Pharmacist noticed her absence. The two Davids and I tried to match their pace as we ascended Walla Crag. Beyond the summit - good views over Derwent Water to cloud laden Skiddaw - we paused for brown nectar from insulated silver tubes, and the obligatory caramel shortbread, before continuing in the steady rain that showed no sign of easing.
Ashness Bridge was reached via a most scenic contouring path. Photography skills were tested in the rain. Judge for yourself, but I don’t think I passed…
From there we shuffled up the lane and joined a pleasant path that led to the valley beyond Lodore, from where we squished over to a posh bridge and a newly renovated boardwalk around the southern end of the lake. These boards are made from recycled plastic bottles. They are black and surprisingly grippy in the wet, resembling creosoted wooden boards in appearance but presumably much more sturdy in the long run.
Whilst conditions high up would have been most unpleasant, the steady rain and strong breeze down here must have been relatively benign. We enjoyed lunch by the lake, entertaining ourselves by flinging soggy crisps (the packet was emptied by the wind just after being opened) at hungry Black-headed Gulls to test their skills – they weren’t on form in that respect but would probably ‘hoover up’ later.
Returning along the lovely woodland paths by the west bank of the lake was a delight shared with several other parties who clearly had similar (sensible) itineraries for the day.
Afternoon tea was enjoyed beside (or inside) the National Trust’s centenary
‘Entrust’ sculpture in Brandelhow Park, after which we passed a lady conducting a survey in the pouring rain, on our way back through Portinscale to Keswick, where the shops were thronged with people who had decided on retail therapy to get through this dull, wet, mid-winter’s day.
Our little team however had enjoyed a thoroughly satisfying walk, and we shrugged off the stabbing umbrellas without complaint as we ambled back to the cottage.
The 17 km walk, with 560 metres of ascent, had been about a 5 hour stroll.