Skelwith Bridge to the Old Dungeon Ghyll;
15th May 2008
cynics might complain that today's section was little
more than a one trick pony. They might have a point,
if no soul.
But what a trick! Of all the Lakeland Fells,
the ones that punch way above their weight are the Langdale
Pikes. This part of the Cumbria Way is a showcase
for the Langdales. "Look at me!" they scream until
you are virtually at Dungeon Ghyll and only then do
they make way and allow higher but less bold hills into
was a stunning day, as good as May can get. Hardly
a cloud in the sky and Rhododendrons and Azaleas coming
into full bloom. We
waited for the bus at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Or
to be more precise, the bus arrived but we waited for
the driver to have her break. Driver and Margaret
both sat sunning themselves. Not a bad life is
left, and Margaret sunning!
awaiting driver and passengers
Break over, one notable feature of the day (for me at
least) was the first use of my NoW bus pass,
saving a full £3.60 on the trip from the Old Dungeon
Ghyll, where we left the car, to Skelwith Bridge.
machinery at stoneyard
the bridge our interest in matters lavatiological was immediately
rewarded, albeit on a discreet dryer rather than a clothes line.
We made our way past the gallery complex (untempted,
fortunately), through the stone yard with its ancient
equipment and down to the
path by the river. Skelwith Force was surprisingly
forceful given the lack of rain recently. The
route along to Elterwater is very familiar but it was
the first time that Margaret had done it in this direction
(and only the second time for me- see BB0811).
broke the team picture rules overlooking the lake- normally
we politely decline offers of having someone take our
photo as the protocol is that you should not have to
rely on other folk for it. But they were a nice
couple and we didn't want to hurt their feelings- they
were doing a recce with a view to bringing their grandchildren
to a spot that we often used to visit with our children.
Cicerone guide book reckons that Elterwater (the village, not
the lake) used to produce most of the Britain's gunpowder.
I find that hard to believe. It also refers
to the site of the gunpowder factory and encourages
you to look down from the south west side of the river
on its present usage which it describes as "controversial",
i.e. the Langdale Time Share complex. Well it
might have been controversial in 1981 but hardly today.
And it's a far better use than a mass of derelict
Chapel Stile the Way went by a more conventional example
of our lavatiological studies. Do you like that
word? Margaret hastens to explain that the interest
is in the setting of the washing, not the contents of
the line. Rather than us being thought some sort
of deviants, I thought such a study deserved a proper
Latin name; hence lavatiology. Interesting undies
Inn. What would AW have thought of that? I
think he would have been appalled- a place of such conviviality
is the opposite of what he was about and the thought
of people going into what might loosely be described
as his house would have driven him to apoplexy!
stretch between Skelwith Bridge and Chapel Stile had
predictably very busy, mostly, but not entirely, with
people who could not be bothered to acknowledge our
existence. Further upstream, there were fewer
people to be seen and those who were there were unfailingly
courteous. There was one group that we saw on
three occasions, walking up and down. About eight
people in pairs, talking earnestly and not paying much
attention to the wonderful scenery. When one of
them announced in a loud voice that they would all change round in one minute,
it dawned on us that they were on a management team
building exercise. But if they are not allowed
to enjoy the scenery, why waste money sending them to
the lakes? Never mind, at least they are supporting
the local economy. Ironic as all
around were examples of the old economy (screes of mined
slate) and the present day (sheep).
screes and sheep
took a late lunch picnic by the beck before Oak Howe,
after which the terrain changes, being more
lower fellside and less meadow.
changes at Oak Howe barn
cheating team photo
As the Way curves round
towards Side House, at last the Langdales start to yield
centre stage and allow the Crinkles and Bowfell to make
a guest appearance.
o'Blisco, Crinkle Crags and Bowfell appear
cheated slightly on reaching the road; officially we
should have gone up through the New Dungeon Ghyll complex
onto the higher path to the ODG. However, we discovered
a direct route up to the path from the National Trust
car park. Quite a steep climb for a gentle stroll!
This achieved, it was then an easy return past
a third (and best) lavatiological specimen to the ODG for a celebratory
drink. The bar had changed little from when we
(i.e. Don plus various work colleagues, not Margaret)
were thrown out in 1974. On the other hand, the
drinks had changed- one J2O look-alike as opposed to
multiple pints of ale!
guide book reckons that the section is over 6 miles.
The computer begs to differ- both Memory Map and
Anquet make it no more than 5.2 miles.
lot of washing
is the easy part of the Cumbria Way completed. From
hereon it becomes physically and logistically more challenging.
a bit of variety on the way back we drove over to Little
Langale with its two tarns and far less familiar scenery
before rejoining the usual road at Skelwith Bridge.
On a day like today, it really doesn't matter
which way you go- it's all magnificent.
15th May 2008
30.7 miles cumulative
E-mail addresses on this web site are protected
Spam Trawlers will be further frustrated
help fight spam e-mail!
the progress of
Don and Margaret
along the Cumbria Way.
Click on the photos
for an enlargement or related large
Ulverston to Blawith
Blawith to Coniston
Skelwith Bridge to
the Old Dungeon Ghyll
Old Dungeon Ghyll to Rosthwaite
got to do with it?
to Gale Road Car Park (and back)
seen by Margaret: