Coniston to Skelwith Bridge;
16th April 2008
key to the logistics of this section was to be the 505
bus- The Coniston Rambler. The plan was to drive
to Skelwith Fold, park the car, catch the 11:32 to Coniston
and walk back.
first omen that all might not go to plan was when we
saw a double decker bus broken down on Bannerigg. However
it turned out not to be the 505.
next omen was the traffic congestion between Windermere
and Troutbeck Bridge. We crawled a long distance for
such a tiny hole in the road, by which time it was touch
and go whether we would be at the bus stop in time.
We consoled ourselves that the bus, which we now
realised started in Windermere, would have been equally
held up and should be behind us. The only problem
left was to find the bus stop. This is variously
described in the literature as being at Skelwith Fold
or Skelwith Fold Lane End. However there was no
bus stop sign at the end of the Skelwith Fold lane (real
name Bog Lane!) so we went up to Skelwith Fold. We
stopped three times to ask the whereabouts of the bus
stop but the first guy was from Essex and the second
misunderstood. However the third lady knew that
it set down at Brathay, on the Hawkshead Road.. So
we made our way back, painfully slowly behind a campervan
behind a push bike. There was no bus stop at Brathay.
We drove past Skelwith Fold Lane End for the second
time, this time continuing on to Hawkshead, and over
half a mile down the road what should we find but a
bus stop. Outside Skelwith Fold Caravan Park. Very
helpful literature. Not!.
late now, the bus could not possibly be so delayed.
We thought, briefly, about waiting for the next
bus or alternatively driving to Coniston, doing the
walk and catching a bus back to Coniston but, apart
from the day slipping away, the problem was that the
bus stop was even further off our route than we had
originally envisaged. The 1.6 miles that we would
have to cover after reaching Skelwith Bridge caused
us to rethink.
a short walk. Next time: two cars!
we parked near Pull Wike and headed across fields on
what was described on the way mark as The
Windermere Way- that's a new one to us but
turns out to be a 45 mile circuit of Windermere.
Fold is a beautiful little hamlet and as
you start the descent to Skelwith Bridge,
the panorama that suddenly enfolds has the
wow factor big time.
house there arguably has the best view that
does not include a lake in the whole
stopped just below it for lunch at a spot
where the Parish Council has considerately
placed a slate with the names of the hills
stop team photo
the best view that does not include a lake in the whole
after lunch to Skelwith Bridge and the Kirkstone Galleries,
then we crossed back over the river and took the Cumbria
Way for a short while in the Coniston direction.
fact this the stretch the BOOTboys
should have done on BB0811 but
had left too soon by a farm track. We left by
the same farm track today and took the road marked to
Hawkshead- a pleasant quiet stroll through the woods.
final stretch was off road, down past Holmeshead Farm.
Past a cottage being renovated we met a man who
was repairing the track. I thought we were near
the road leading down to the car so I asked him if I
had the right place on the map.
immediately transported us a mile to the
south west, to the other side of the Drunken
I pointed out we could not possibly be there
as we had not crossed any roads since the
farm, he said "Look, I'm a local lad
and I'm telling you that you are at Pull
Beck cottage. It's not shown on the
map but that's where you are. Why
not call in the pub for a pint as you pass
thanked him kindly and carried on down the
track to be miraculously transported back
to where I thought we were in the first
place, just above the car.
might be local but he was about as good at map reading
as I am at repairing tracks. Or maybe he had been
in the Duck for lunch.
had our second lunch parked in the car over looking
Windermere near Belle Grange and returned home via the
Ferry. Not quite the day we planned but a pleasant
stroll with its entertainment en route!
23rd April 2008
week on and we had our secret weapon. With Jamie
at home for a few days we had no need to rely on public
transport with misleading descriptions of bus stops
in inconvenient locations. We could play the two
weather forecast said that the rain would continue until
1 p.m. at least but later it would be a sunny afternoon.
So we set off about 1:45 p.m. and as we drove
past Windermere it magically transformed from a grim
to a stunning day- beautiful warm sunshine with crystal
left Jamie's car at Skelwith Bridge and
headed down to park mine at Coniston.
was a bit weird setting off across the fields remembering
that the last time I had been on that route,
I had already completed 12 miles, was in
some considerable difficulty but had another
11 to go and it was snowing (BB0811).
time, I am pleased to say, I was moving
quite freely and the weather was perfect!
friendly mother and child
Monk Coniston, amidst some very friendly sheep, there is a rather smart looking stone
building which once was a shelter for fox hounds and
now serves as a shelter or information centre about
the estate. The posters explain how the estate
was bought in Victorian times by a Leeds woollen magnate
and many years later sold to the ubiquitous Beatrix
Potter, for whom we have much to thank.
fine building turns out to be.....
fox hound shelter and information centre
was a delightful climb up through the woods to Tarn
Hows cottage and out onto the road. The designers
of the Cumbria Way were not as evil minded as the masochists
responsible for the Spring
in Lakeland Walk and allowed us to keep
the height gained rather than sending us back down to
the valley to start all over again!
left, kind folk right
the minor road up to Tarn Hows we were buzzed by two
planes. The first was a mean looking thing with twin
tail fins. The looked just as lethal.
I saw a car with someone driving who had a passing resemblance
to our friend Jean. Two seconds and twenty yards
behind me, by remarkable coincidence, Margaret saw a
car that was being driven by our friend Jean. And
accompanied by another friend plus that friend's daughter
whom Jamie had known from childhood. Small world!
But then Tarn Hows is the Lake District's most
popular parking place although we do not believe the
claimed one million visitors per year. That is a daily
average of 2,740. Is that credible? We think not.
Mind you, it was quite busy today but a bad mistake
by the guide book- there was no ice cream van to be
Hows team picture
all the snide comments made by the pundits about Tarn
Hows and its artificiality, it is a splendid sight and
we had our afternoon tea on a wooded knoll overlooking
the lake, watching the honking geese. An ice cream
would have been nice, though.
had not paid too much attention to the Cicerone Cumbria
Way guide book so far today as I knew the way, although
occasional glances had not always seemed to tally with
what we were experiencing. Perhaps the situation
on the ground has changed too much since it was written
or perhaps the ground itself has moved- that was certainly
to be the case later at High Park Farm where the waymarked
path came sooner than expected and a wire fence turned
out to be a stone wall. Also at the end of this
section, the Way no longer goes down to Skelwith Bridge,
which caused us a bit of confusion. Notwithstanding
such changes, the description of the route to be taken
is quite weak at Tarn Hows. The impression is
given of a dam at the north end of the tarn and on reaching
the lane, I would have thought that taking a road that
loses height should be described as going "down"
rather than "up". Fortunately the direction
falls in for the photographer!
in the distance
descent to Oxen Fell and then on to High Park farm was
dominated by the view of Wetherlam but we were speculating
whether we might get a glimpse of the Hidden Mountain
before the day was out.
criticised the guide book for its inaccuracies and inadequacies,
I must give the author credit for insisting that we
took the alternative, unofficial diversion to Colwith
Force. That was lovely section through the woods
by the river and its waterfall. Sadly, moving
water seldom photographs impressively.
up to Low Park, I became convinced that the hill now
just peeping out over the shoulder of Wetherlam was
the Hidden Mountain, Swirl How. Jamie however
was less sure and declared it to be Great Carrs. Subsequent
computer analysis by our mapping software, particularly
and, conclusively Google Earth with it 3D photo realism,
proved him right.
the Hidden Mountain peeping round Wetherlam
are some lovely cottages along this stretch, including
the very tempting four star Elterwater Park guest house.
Park Guest House.....
no doubt due to the morning's rain, there was no washing
to be seen. Just a washing line with a wonderful
washing line (empty) with a view
previously hinted, we got a little confused just before
the end as the waymarked way no longer goes down to
Skelwith Bridge but once we realised our mistake we
retraced our steps and found the road back to the car.
took us up to Coniston for the other car and then I
drove home through this spectacular scenery for the
second beautiful evening in succession. It's a
23rd April 2008
6.6 miles (qualifying)
25.5 miles cumulative
558 feet (non qualifying)
16th April 2008
23rd April 2008
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