If it rained overnight I didn't notice. The morning dawned grey, with that nagging easterly wind still in evidence. The weather took on a rather resigned look.
I was off by 7.15, and a few minutes later reached Hardknott Pass. Already it was brightening up, and by the time I reached the 500+ metre top of Border End I could have sworn the sun was coming out. A few minutes later, at Hard Knott, my high point of the day, it was definitely shining, illuminating the whole of the Scafell range, as you can see from the top picture.
A quick scamper over Yew Bank, the final summit of this little trip, soon saw me down in the Upper Esk valley. Here it was t-shirt weather, and it remained so for the rest of the day. I may have caught the sun.
An old packhorse bridge, pictured, currently serves hikers wishing to ascend Scafell from Eskdale. There were no takers for that other than a few sheep today - I only saw a couple of dog walkers, near Brotherilkeld, and a couple of farmers mending a gate, before reaching Dalegarth at around noon.
As I progressed into the valley the flora started to appear. First violets, then Wood Anemone, Lesser Celandine, Wood Sorrel and Primroses. Pied Wagtails and Tree Creepers also introduced themselves together with garden birds like Pigeons and Blackbirds. Further down the valley the now substantial River Esk was lined with vibrant yellow gorse bushes, and early Bluebells and large clumps of Greater Stitchwort made an appearance. The beech and other trees were busily coming into leaf. Fields were yellow with Dandelions.
A cheeseburger and chips went down well at Dalegarth, then the narrow gauge 'Ratty' train obligingly transported me and numerous other holidaymakers to Ravenglass for the 14.25 to Lancaster. Waiting on the platform it was absolutely sweltering as I made the acquaintance of the production editor of a newish upmarket magazine for road cyclists. Imaginatively called 'Cyclist'.
I was home by 6pm after a most enjoyable weekend, with special thanks to Alan and Sheila for coming along and being excellent company.
A slide show may follow - I took 247 pictures. Some editing will be needed!
Sent from Timperley