The Lake District came up trumps for the bank holiday weekend. While the rest of the country seemed shrouded in mist (or downright downpours) we got our legs out to enjoy the sunshine.
We celebrated in style, taking two days to walk from Eskdale to the Borrowdale Valley. In fact this walk would be a good one to do for those of you who are staying in our who feel they would like an element of wildness before relaxing back in the comfort of your holiday cottage and the warm open fire. That first cup of tea in front of the fire is the most welcome thing in the world after a night on the fells.
Friday night we camped at the bottom of Hardknott Pass before setting off walking up the upper-Eskdale bowl. We parked a car at the bottom of the pass, just near the humpbacked bridge, and followed the path from there. I use the word path in its loosest possible sense, it was more of a sheep tread but it lead us in the right direction.
Along to Great Moss and lunch by the stream while Bruno (the 5 year old among us) immersed himself fully in by a small waterfall (the rest of us sunbathed – I don’t know where small boys get their energy from).
We then followed the stream upwards towards Esk Hause. There was plenty to see and discuss on the way. Bruno caught an orange butterfly. Taz picked up several yellow frogs, the size of a thumbnail. Rob & Sean bounded off to climb some interesting looking boulders. Then Bruno asked the innocent question – ‘where did all these stones come from’. The answer initially came from Sean (a scientist) and lasted at least an hour. He started with ‘billions and billions of years ago there was nothing. Then came a big explosion which created dust particles….’ The answer took us on a trip through the formation of the earth and other planets, rock, plants, sea-creatures, land animals, tectonic movement, glaciers…’ Fascinating stuff and now I know where stones come from. We then moved onto light, sound, magnets, genetics. We had two whole days to get through. It certainly passed the time and Bruno didn’t complain once of tired legs.
A herdwick sheep watches Rob & Sean do a spot of bouldering
Eskdale is truly a special place. For that whole bank holiday Saturday we didn’t see a single soul until we popped over the top at Esk Hause and saw scores of people heading up Scafell Pike (complete with Union Jack flags to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee of course).
Sean & Taz on top of Scafell Pike (honest).
Once up Esk Hause, Sean & Taz turned left and popped up Scafell Pike (it would have been rude not to seeing as we were almost there) before coming down to join us at Sprinkling Tarn where we were setting up our tents.
I may have exaggerated earlier on when discussing the fine weather the Lake District had over the bank holiday weekend. At the camp, we exchanged shorts for several layers of warm clothing and set about making pasta and pesto with tuna, walnuts and celery and a nice bottle of fine ale that we had made Sean carry up the hill.
Sunday was still cold and windy to start so we packed up quickly and headed down to the Borrowdale valley. The paths are more obvious on this side of the Lake District so we just followed it down and kept on going. At the first farm at the bottom we turned right following signs to Thornythwaite. After Thornythwaite Farm we crossed the road and walking along the other side of the valley, following the river to Grange-in-Borrowdale. Again the paths were clear and well marked.
A well earned Cumberland sausage sandwich at one of the cafes in Grange and we were ready to do it all over again. Instead we drove back to Hardknott to pick up the car before going home for a nice cup of British tea.
A happy Ted (having found a bog).