WW12: Grasmere to Ambleside

Saturday 25th September 2010

A sunny afternoon and no evening commitments so an ideal opportunity for an impromptu next stage along the Westmorland Way.  The bus for Grasmere was scheduled to leave Ambleside at 1423 so we arrived in good time at the central car park.  

Problem- maximum stay 3 hours.  Not to worry, we'll park at the car park at the southern end of town and catch the bus there.  Which we could have done had there been any parking places but there weren't.  

Mad dash to the football field car park. First attempt to pay failed because I didn't have enough money on me (£6 is usurious).  Second attempt failed because my £2 coin was rejected.  Third attempt succeeded and we scuttled along the quarter mile to the bus stop to arrive just in the nick of time. Had the bus been on time, that is. Inevitably it was fifteen minutes late!  All that rush and stress for nothing!  At least it gave me the opportunity to go back down the street to capture a photo of the only washing that we saw all day- proudly on display in the front yard.

Ambleside washing

The instructions for this stage are very vague.  All we knew for certain was that the Wway went to Elterwater and then followed the river Brathay into "bustling" Ambleside.

Actually, Grasmere was bustling.  But once 100 yards out of the village, there was hardly anyone to be seen.  What is the matter with folk?

It was tempting to go over Silver Howe but instead we chose a mid level path that climbed up by Kelbarrow and skirted underneath Silver Howe.  It was a nice route with great views behind (a theme of this walk) to Grisedale Hause where we had crossed over from Patterdale on  WW11.  Grasmere, however, was substantially hidden behind woodland.

Looking back to WW11

Grasmere with Rydal Water behind

Silver Howe, Fairfield to the right

We zenithed below Dow Bank where Elterwater came into view.  


The map showed a path down by the side of a beck but it seemed rather hairy so we traversed through deep but dying bracken to pick up the bridle path.  Whilst passing Rydal Water on the bus, we had seen two groups of swimmers in the lake and wondered if there was a triathlon taking place.  It seems there might have been as there were a lot of runners on the Red Bank road over the fell.  Not quite the mass event we had witnessed in Bavaria with around 1,000 competitors!

Alpine triathlon, Schliersee


Up the valley, the Langdales were looking particularly photogenic.

From Elterwater village we followed the river down the valley. 

Elterwater village with Silver Howe behind

This is the frustrating way to do this walk.  The lake is, for most of the time, hidden behind the trees to the right and there are no outstanding views ahead whereas in the opposite direction, the Langdales form an irresistible beacon beckoning you along.  We stopped, as we have done on many occasions for the obligatory photos at the southern end of the lake.  See also CW04.



More looking back!

The suggested route would continue along the River Brathay from Skelwith Bridge but I couldn't see the point of a relatively unattractive road slog.  We chose instead to cut up to Loughrigg Tarn which once again presented superb rearward views, with and without sunshine!

Loughrigg Tarn with sunshine .....

.....and without!

From here, we followed the broad path over the col to Ambleside.  We did toy with deviating to Lily Tarn but by now we were losing the sun and it made sense to return by the quickest route.

At last, we had fine panorama ahead of us, the fells looking magnificent in the evening sun.  

Sadly, at this point, my camera announced that its battery was exhausted, despite having been on charge for 24 hours. Also, it doesn't seem to be focusing accurately any more. Time for a new camera??

Last photo of the day, Fairfield in the evening sun

This had been a section of the Wway that had a succession of stunning views but mostly behind us.  In isolation, it would be a more satisfying walk in the opposite direction. Still, it was another good one and we felt we had earned the Chinese carry-out and bottle of wine that we consumed on returning home.

Don, 25th September 2010




Distance in miles:



Height climbed in feet:





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 These pages log
the progress of
Don and Margaret
along the
Westmorland Way.


 Click on the photos
for an enlargement or related large picture.








to Rutter Falls



Rutter Falls
to Gaythorne Hall



 Gaythorne Hall
to Maulds Meaburn



Maulds Meaburn
to Hardendale



to Shap Abbey



Shap Abbey
to Knipe



to Askham



to Pooley Bridge



Pooley Bridge
to Howtown



to Patterdale



to Grasmere



to Ambleside



to Windermere



to Underbarrow



to Natland



to Holme



Holme To Arnside



The Washing Lines

and other items

as seen by Margaret:





BOOT boys

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