Blawith to Coniston;
24th March 2008
Emma and Scott home for a few days, we could think about
a two car option for the second leg of the Cumbria Way.
This would be quite a long stretch but we had been in
training- in London!
the best part of four years since we were last in central
London. Travelling in a taxi from Euston to
we were playing the "spot what's changed" game.
It certainly wasn't an improvement in the traffic
flow. There did seem to be an increase in the
number of people stood outside buildings who were smoking
but that is true everywhere.
most noticeable difference was the number
of tiny cars to be seen- seemingly designed
by the local kindergarten and so small they
made Smart cars look like limos.
closer examination we learned that they
were G-Wiz electric cars and they were everywhere.
they are not cars- they are "quadricycles"
so seemingly don't have to pass any safety tests!
No congestion charge, no parking fees
and no chance in a prang!
and the G-Wizzes
see what happens in a prang watch CRASH.
for a laugh see RACE.
far as the global credit crunch was concerned, the West
End was in denial. Or maybe last year's bonuses
have not yet been fully spent. Those not driving
G-Wizzes were in new Mercs, Bentleys and Porches. Regent
Street has gone up market with airline shops being taken
over by designer labels. We attended the opening
of the UK's first Banana Republic shop (didn't buy anything-
Margaret had already done her bit to stave off the recession at Coast, just two doors
away). No shortage of willing customers however.
Paul's across the Minnellium Bridge
most of our non-shopping time in either
the Royal Academy with its impressive Russian
exhibition or at the Tate Modern. This
former power station is massive and impressively
thoughts of emperors and lack of clothes
came to mind with several of the exhibits
(and the more tosh things are, the more
pretentious their descriptions become!)
but there were plenty that were interesting,
challenging or amusing and the restaurant
was excellent! There is also a superb
view across the Minnellium Bridge to St
this activity meant that many miles
were covered on foot but three paces forward two paces
back is perhaps not the best training for the Cumbria
the lake district is the last place we would go on a
Bank Holiday but given an Easter Monday forecast from
the BBC of wall to wall sunshine, it was too good an
opportunity to miss. The Met Office was a little
more sanguine with warnings of the possibility of snow
flurries in the afternoon.
we ought not to have gone via Ambleside- there was quite
a lot of traffic with inevitable holiday slug drivers
and it took longer than expected to reach Coniston where
we left Scott's car then drive down to Blawith to pick
up where we left off. It was still morning, just,
but it was already trying to snow, half heartedly and was definitely
not the glorious day for which we had hoped.
for the first mile, we had to head south west along
Raisthwaite Lane until reaching Long Lane
where turned north west to regain the Cumbria Way. However
we had immediate reward at Kiln Bank- a fine display of washing for
me to photograph and, in time, Margaret to paint!
we approached Cockensell we could see a group of people
in a field and wondered what was going on. Was
it an Easter party (we had already passed one), a pace
egg rolling competition or what? Then someone
walked down to the farm house and the group moved on.
We caught up with them on the climb to Beacon
Tarn, picknicking. It turned out they were youths
(seemingly decent, well mannered ones) on a DofE expedition
and the farm lady had taken exception to them having
their lunch in her field and had shoo-ed them off with
a display of foul language.
back as we climbed, there was a bizarre sort of reminder
that it was Easter: a green(ish) hill far away
with its top covered with high tech revolving crucifixes.
Tarn from the south.....
from the north
the guide book, Jim Watson describes Beacon Tarn as
a good place to stop to open the sandwiches, listen
to the curlews and admire the splendid view of the Coniston
Fells. So, choosing the more sheltered eastern
side, we did just that. Only the curlews, if any
were about, were
drowned out by a shriking woman in pink and the hills
disappeared in a hail flurry!
one falling in the stream
made our way through the mini wilderness of Stable Harvey
Moss (scene of the
navigation test in BB0630),
across a stream (why does no one fall in when I get
my camera out?) to Torver Tarn where
we nearly went wrong, not fully appreciating that we
were only supposed to visit it and then retreat.
picture at Torver Tarn.....
at Torver Beck
Way then drops down to cross the main road and continue
along the lake shore. Before actually reaching
the lake, we took advantage of the sunshine to have
our second lunch watching a snow shower move along the
lake but miraculously missing us.
flurry passing down Coniston Water
with Fairfield behind
were promised "three miles of sheer delight". I
think that a little overstated. The weather was
now the day that we had hoped for and it was very pleasant
by the lake. But Coniston Water, although unspoilt,
is rather short of changing features so the second mile
is remarkably like the first and so on.
with Brantwood behind
steamboat Gondola did make an impressive appearance and the final mile
of lake shore is aided by an opening
panorama of the Coniston fells plus the medieval cowshed
grandly known as Coniston Hall (see also BB0804).
the time we reached the car, it was starting to snow
again. There was a mini-blizzard on the way
home and then it cleared up again for a beautiful sunset.
It was that sort of day!
24th March 2008
the next stage see
Coniston to Skelwith Bridge
18.9 miles cumulative
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