Up The Pipeline
TW09 : Ambleside to Grasmere

The strange feature of todayís Pipeline stage was that there was no sign of the Thirlmere pipeline.  The author had opted to take us up the Coffin Route from Ambleside to Grasmere.  I think had I been planning the route I would have chosen the other side of Rydal Water, visited the Cave and enjoyed the iconic view over Grasmere but itís a close call and the Coffin Route is the nearer to the deeply buried pipeline.

The first stretch, along the road from the outskirts of Ambleside to the entrance to Rydal Park, is a little dull but once this is over things start to pick up.  Or used to do but at the moment there is considerable activity with earth moving equipment which has scarred the landscape whilst, wait for it, a PIPELINE is being installed. 

This one seems to be either an overflow pipe from a small hydro electricity turbine up the Scandale Beck or, perhaps more likely, the source of running water taken from the beck for a turbine located in a new building being constructed in the park.  Letís hope that once the work is finished, the landscape reverts quickly to its normal appearance.

From then on, things were as they should be, including the weather- dry with light cloud so as to be not too hot for walking.

The delights of the exterior of Rydal Hall were enjoyed; in particular the Grot, an ancient small building from which to watch the waterfall, and the formal gardens. 

We eschewed the café, good though we knew it to be.  Similarly we eschewed the café at Rydal Mount (and resisted the temptation to drop down to the Badger Bar) .....

..... but continued along the coffin route, stopping like the funeral parties of yore for a drink from our flasks at the coffin resting stone.

This undulating path has fine views over Rydal Water, which somehow I failed to photograph, though only glimpses of Grasmere were to be seen yet its picture was taken. As also was the pond that used to be full of irises and now seems to have been invaded.

The pipeline here is several hundred feet below the ground so glimpses of that were not expected.

The Wordsworth Museum at Dove Cottage (Ian tells me it was designed by the same person that designed the striking Edinburgh Museum) is a distinctive building but somewhat out of character for the area. It was a magnet  for Japanese taking selfies.  We resisted the café here, too.  Similarly we resisted all the many temptations of Grasmere village, pressing on instead up the Easedale Road to Goody Bridge then north until reaching Low Mill Bridge where we crossed the stepping stones that lead towards the Travellers Rest.

Here we had a dilemma.  Checking the timetable at the bus stop, it seemed that we had arrived just two minutes after the bus had been due.  But we hadnít seen it.  Should we wait in the anticipation that it was a few minutes late or repair to the pub for reward?  After ten minutes waiting, just in case, we did something different- we walked down the hill to The Famous Swan and had lunch there.  It had to be swift as now we only had forty minutes before the next bus.  The staff complied with fast and tasty butties.  Beer pulling not such a challenge.

We reached the bus stop in time but then disaster struck. Margaret has lost her bus pass so had to pay £4.20 to travel the four miles to Ambleside where the ladies were unable to resist the temptations of a coffee shop.

This was a gentle stage.  The next, the steep ascent to Grisedale Tarn and the even steeper descent to Dunmail Raise, will be more of a challenge. 

Will the ladies join us or will they bide their time in a Grasmere coffee or, worse, clothes shop whilst we men act as their proxies?  Watch this space!

Don, Wednesday 24th June 2015







6.4 miles

56.5 miles

856 feet

7,267 feet




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The Thirlmere Way




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