Wednesday brought a series of pleasurable episodes.
First, a visit to Jose and Hugh at Alpenstock in Stockport. “Fancy a coffee” were their first words as I entered the shop. No wonder that they have again been shortlisted in The Great Outdoors magazine’s retailer of the year category for their 2015 awards.
Anyway, after (not unexpectedly) coming away with rather more than the intended spare poles for our Hilleberg Nallo tent, I moved on to the next pleasurable activity.
German Martin’s EasyJet flight from Berlin was on time. I met Martin in the Pyrenees on my GR11 walk. He is one of a number of GR11 friends who will be congregating in Leyburn next weekend. Here he is in the Pyrenees.
Martin was on his way to the Lake District to attempt a circular walking tour devised by Jim Reid. There’s a Cicerone guide, and the route is shown below in blue, with some alternatives in green.
Conrad (aka Sir Hugh), who often comments on these pages, lives en route to Martin’s Windermere destination, so we called in for another most pleasurable hour, during which I gave Martin some maps and tried to brief him, with Conrad’s help, on the route. It was great to meet you again, Conrad, and thank you for the coffee and biscuits.
After that, a short drive to Windermere saw Martin grabbing some last minute provisions and heading off into the hills. Over a day later, his phone was discovered at Conrad’s house. Oops!
I couldn’t visit the Lake District without some sort of a walk, especially as the mizzle appeared to have stopped for a couple of hours. So off I set, aiming for a path that skirts the eastern side of the town and eventually meets the Dales Way path on which an easy descent to Bowness is made.
Don’t make my mistake of heading down Thwaites Lane if you do this walk; continue on the footpath beside the A591 to a footpath on your right.
Whichever way you go, you’ll cross Mill Beck, then gain views across bumpy farmland to School Knott.
Scout Beck is then crossed, after which I enjoyed a few minutes in the company of a chap who was out for a walk with Meg, a working sheepdog whose frustration at being ‘on holiday’ was starting to show. She wanted to work.
If the characters below are representative of Meg’s ‘clientele’, then that dog has an easy life!
Beyond High Cleabarrow the Dales Way route is reached. I turned right here, and headed down to Matson Ground, where mallards and moorhens paddled around in the midst of a family of swans whose crop of six or seven goslings were still appreciating the support of their parents.
As the path descends inexorably towards Bowness there are plenty of places for weary Dales Way walkers to rest their feet before finishing the 81 mile trek from Ilkley.
A few hundred metres dogleg to the left takes you to a good viewpoint over the lower reaches of the lake.
Soon after that, surrounded by a deep dark brown carpet of autumn leaves, is a final resting point before descending to the fleshpots.
Bowness was fairly quiet on this late afternoon in October, and with dusk approaching the bowling green was deserted. The town was however much busier than I’d found its Pyrenean counterparts to be back in July.
A stroll along traffic free Longlands Road saw me back in Windermere after 9.5km and about two hours. It was 6pm. There was a chippy. And an unexpected chat with the fryer about long distance walking routes.
An easy drive home concluded a lovely day out.