The cloud was right down, and we needed a short day. A quick look at the map revealed Aira Force as a suitable destination. The line of the path from Priest's Crag back to the Force looked particularly appealing.
So it was that after a most sociable Saturday evening Sue and I said our goodbyes and set off to Aira Force with Andrew. The clouds soon lifted and we got a good view across to St Sunday Crag.
The path down to the Force on our line of approach was under repair, so we crossed above the raging torrent.
A pleasant path saw us to Alcat Row, past idyllic lakeland cottages, and down a quiet lane to Lowthwaite.
Sleety showers bombarded us from time to time.
The snow looked pristine on this narrow winding lane.
Well, almost pristine...
This road section was not at all unpleasant, the local robins being particularly chatty.
Below Priest's Crag an obvious path wound ahead into the distance. After a few initial damp bits it matured into the delightful trail that I had been hoping for. As we wandered on through Swinburn's Park, it was clear that we were the only people here today - we disturbed quite a few red deer, and watched them as we paused for lunch in the sun below a huge budding tree.
Further on we joined a more walked and recently maintained path, but we only saw a handful of people all day...
...though there was evidence of previous visitors!
The final section around the south side of Gowbarrow Park was a magnificent stroll. It's such a pleasure to discover a new path of such high quality in every respect, such as this one.
We reached a superb viewpoint before ambling back down to the car park (nearby layby in our case) at Aira Force. This confirmed the wisdom of our decision to stay low today, as we looked up to the cloud laden hills of central Lakeland.
...and admired the sunlight on Ullswater.
Today's route, which I highly recommend for an easy half day's stroll, is outlined below - 15km with 590 metres ascent - allow 4 hours including breaks.