: Thank You, Bryan
have Bryan to thank for today. Although laid low
due to a domestic accident, he kindly gave us the benefit
of his wisdom. As a result, we did something we
had done 17 times previously. I knew it was going
to be a gloriously sunny day and he had implored us
to get out into the snow. Foolishly, I had thought
of some less visited tops such as those on Sleddale
Fell. However, he pointed out that given the snow
forecast we were unlikely to be able to get the car
anywhere near them. Ambleside, he said. Arterial
highway. Bound to be open. Red Screes. Or
boys opted for the latter.
The sensible choice,
Into the snow but not too challenging
plus the Post Office café in Troutbeck for lunch
then Robin’s gently undulating, low level Lane back
to our start point.
we drove along the side of Windermere, not only could
we see the folk sat at the top of Coniston Old Man, we could
even tell which newspaper they were reading!
joking of course but the air was as clear as I ever
seen it. Actually, I suppose you don’t see air.
You see things at the other side of air but you
know what I mean.
I (and possibly Bryan, though I doubt it) had overlooked
was that due to the morning sun being so low in the
sky, the ascent of Wansfell would be totally in the
shade. Actually this was a mixed blessing. Although
cold, we were sheltered from the brutally bitter wind
that we would experience when we topped out into the
otherwise glorious sunshine.
had followed the usual route: through the woods by Stockghyll
Force then out and up the quite steep, icy climb.
A man from Lancaster kitted out in tracksuit and plimsolls
and falling over amused us. We smugly ascended
in our boots and microspikes without any such problems.
course, rather than take the wimps path, we opted for
the short but hands on gully that very briefly makes
you feel like a proper mountaineer.
views had been spectacular all the way up but from the
top you could see the length of Windermere.....
the Coniston hills round to the Langdales and more....
plus Red Screes and over to the Kentmere fells also.
fact, a full 360° panorama.
contemplated carrying along the ridge to Baystones but
the only reason for going there is to get your tick
on the Wainwright list. We had done that so many
times and the priority was to get Tony down to the Troutbeck
Café by noon.
were quite different on this side. Not just the
fact that we were now in full sun; the snow was deeper
but in good condition and it was downhill. We
would have reached the café at the appointed
hour had Tony not stopped to chat with his tree surgeon,
chain-saw in hand, thirty feet above him.
was worried that the café might be full and was
relieved to see that the bench outside, sun drenched
and out of the wind, was empty. It soon became
I had taken the precaution
of checking its opening times: "Winter opening
hours: 10.30 am to 3.30 pm, every day except Mondays
and Tuesdays". What it didn’t say on
the internet but did on the door was that this
did not apply to this part of winter. It was shut.
Closed until 6th February. I don't begrudge
then their holiday but if they are going to have a website,
they should keep it up-to-date about closures.
I had a problem. Believing that we would be able
to eat in that hitherto excellent establishment, I had
brought no food other than my emergency supply of the
grandchildren's pure fruit Bear Yo Yos. Robin
and Tony were much wiser and had come prepared. Not
only wise but kind. Each offered me a sandwich
which I eagerly accepted.
Lane never fails to delight (when you can see, of course)
and the same was true today. Views remained superb,
enhanced for a while by St Andrew's cross.
its way north, no doubt.
we were back in Ambleside and finished in the traditional
manner with a visit to the Golden Rule where we raised
a glass to Bryan to thank him for the inspiration and
wish him a speedy recovery.
31st January 2019