Dry stone wall by boxplayer

Dry stone wall

The view up to the Fairfield horseshoe on our walk from Ambleside to Red Screes and down again.

Lake District Day 5 - full set https://www.flickr.com/photos/ayla63/sets/72157644368244478/

Another mad rush early start today to catch the early bus from Natland to Kendal, then another bus to Ambleside. A town quite familiar to us as we've been here several times with our walking group, though not for a long while. This was our first time in, I suspect, about 10 years we've planned a walk on the fells, specifically up Red Screes, north of Ambleside. How would our creaking joints and general unfitness cope with it we wondered?

Dave had initially been all set to do the 11-mile Fairfield Horseshoe (maximum height 873m). I convinced him that hardly any walking let alone fellwalking in the last few years would not serve us in good stead. So a walk up Red Screes (776m) and down again at 7-8 miles, just to the east of the horseshoe seemed more realistic.

We admired all the interesting outdoor shops as we hunted for somewhere to buy lunch that wasn't a Tesco Express or a Greggs and finally found The Apple Pie cafe and bakery and bought a couple of pie slices and fell top gingerbread. We then decided to stop for a second breakfast of tea and a hot cross bun and to use loos. As we were about to order, Dave realised he'd left his walking stick somewhere so I ordered while he scarpered off to look for it. He took a while, so I feared the worst, but he'd found it, at the bus stop where we'd stopped to look at the town map. Big relief, not just because he's fond of it, but I thought of all the days to lose it, when we've got a bit of climbing to do.

Finished our cafe breakfast then fannied about trying to work out which was the road out of town - always the hardest bit of navigating ....

We finally found the right road and headed north towards the fells, finding some pretty flowers in a garden for my pink shot. The climb began almost immediately with the road rising steeply uphill. It gradually became a footpath and then open country. And then we continued to gradually climb uphill through pretty woodland tracks. We could see the ridge of the Fairfield horseshoe ridge rising steeply to our left as we walked alongside Scandale Beck.

The walk was of course gorgeous, the views getting better all the time. We could see for miles - the usual stuff as well: sheep and lambs, rocky craggy bits above us, streams rushing down the hillside over the path. So we dawdled, spotting landmarks from the map around us. The weather was actually quite perfect - sunny intervals and relatively cool, great for walking. For a while, we thought we'd meet no one but a couple came up behind us eventually and we were in front or behind them for some time. They were much fitter than us though.

Eventually we saw land rising in front of us like we were at the bottom of a big bowl and we could make out the col we were supposed to climb. We followed this as it became steeper and much more difficult underfoot, a mixture of wet rocky bits and wet boggy bits - and we both started to struggle - my legs decided they absolutely would not go any faster and as for my joints - creaky and achy as anything.

We decided to stop for our pies a little way from the summit, fearing it would be very exposed and windy at the top and I finally decided to put my ear warmers, fleece and waterproof on. I tend to heat up so quickly, I prefer to walk uphill with very few layers on. Lunch was very satisfying - lovely bits of pie and gingerbread with views to Ullswater I think it was.

Then the final few feet to the cairn and trig point at the top. Extremely windy and noticeably cold - I had no gloves and my hands froze. Amazing views of course - clear right down to Windermere, Rydal Water and behind that Grasmere. And then all the ridges and distant peaks.

The descent of course was just as hard as climbing, fairly relentlessly downhill through more rocky cragginess and bogginess. Halfway down, I slipped and fell into the bog on my arse. Yuck. Then slipped some more on rocky bits a bit later on. Not impressed with my shoes, don't think the tread is good enough and they're not as waterproof as they should be.

As we got lower, the Wind which had remained strong some way from the summit, began to ease. Eventually we ended up on Kirkstone Lane, very narrow and bendy so we kept having to crisscross the road to avoid fast cars coming round blind bends. Knees and hips now very stiff - we both felt startlingly unfit.

Having missed the bus we were hoping to catch so could get the last bus to Natland, we headed to the bus station to catch one to Windermere station. Some confusion ensued as we couldn't see any buses going to Windermere for at least an hour.

But because of roadworks on the bypass (the same that had caused our diversion on Saturday) all buses on our route were running 15 mins late so we caught one after all. Then the train from Windermere to Oxenholme. I cooked us up a chickpea and sausage casserole and then we watched Star Trek the Motion Picture but its slowness and our weariness and sore knees defeated us and we stopped it halfway and went to bed.

Red screes http://365project.org/boxplayer/extras/2014-05-06
Showy http://365project.org/boxplayer/365/2014-05-06

6 May 2014
Route from Ambleside to Red Screes, Cumbria
This is my kind of scenery, lovely shot :)
May 21st, 2014  
Like that
May 22nd, 2014  
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