CW03: Coniston to Skelwith Bridge;    
Wednesday 16th April 2008

The 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.

The 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.

The 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!.  

Too 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.

Today, a short walk.  Next time: two cars!

So 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.  

Entering Skelwith Fold....

... and leaving

Skelwith 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.  

The house there arguably has the best view that does not include a lake in the whole of Lakeland!

We stopped just below it for lunch at a spot where the Parish Council has considerately placed a slate with the names of the hills marked thereon..

Lunch stop team  photo

Arguably the best view that does not include a lake in the whole of Lakeland!  

Down 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.  

Skelwith Bridge chimneys

Skelwith Bridge

In 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.  

The 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.

Holmeshead Farm

He immediately transported us a mile to the south west, to the other side of the Drunken Duck.  

When 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 it?" 

We 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.

He 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.

We 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!


Wednesday 23rd April 2008

One 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 car trick.

The 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 clear visibility.

We left Jamie's car at Skelwith Bridge and headed down to park mine at Coniston.

It 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).  

This time, I am pleased to say, I was moving quite freely and the weather was perfect!


A friendly mother and child

At 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.


This fine building turns out to be.....


.....a fox hound shelter and information centre

It 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!


Tarn Hows cottage


Masochists left, kind folk right

On 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.

Next, 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 found!!


Being buzzed!


Tarn Hows team  picture

Despite 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.

I 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 was correct.


No-one falls in for the photographer!


Wetherlam in the distance

The 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 (BB0814) before the day was out.


Margaret cools down


Colwith Force falls

Having 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.

Climbing 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.


Not the Hidden Mountain peeping round Wetherlam


Definitely the Langdales!

There are some lovely cottages along this stretch, including the very tempting four star Elterwater Park guest house.


Elterwater Park Guest House.....


..... and garden

Sadly, no doubt due to the morning's rain, there was no washing to be seen.  Just a washing line with a wonderful view!


The washing line (empty) with a view


Losing the Way

As 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.

Jamie 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 hard life!

Don, 23rd April 2008


3.7 miles (non-qualifying)
6.6 miles (qualifying)
25.5 miles cumulative

Height climbed:
558 feet (non qualifying)
1,217 feet (qualifying)
3,641 feet cumulative



Wednesday 16th April 2008



Wednesday 23rd April 2008



E-mail addresses on this web site are protected by

 Spam Trawlers will be further frustrated by
Spam Blocker: help fight spam e-mail!  


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

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


CW01:  Ulverston to Blawith

CW02:  Blawith to Coniston

CW03: Coniston to
Skelwith Bridge

 CW04: Skelwith Bridge to
the Old Dungeon Ghyll

CW05: Old Dungeon Ghyll to Rosthwaite

CW06: Rosthwaite to
High Brandlehow

CW07: What's Thirlmere
got to do with it?

CW08: High Brandlehow to

CW09: Keswick to Gale Road Car Park (and back)



The Washing Lines

as seen by Margaret:




BOOT boys

Home Page