CW08: High Brandlehow to Keswick

29th November 2008

It was all rather impromptu, really!  The weather forecast for Kendal was quite strange. Sun at 10 a.m., fog at 1 p.m. but sun again at 4 p.m..  However the forecast for Keswick said sunny all day.  Let's do it, we agreed.

It would be touch and go whether we could get ready in time to catch the 12:25 Borrowdale bus from Keswick and previous experience (CW07) said that if the sun is shining then by midday there will be nowhere to park.  However, there are two ways to use a bus and the alternative of parking in Borrowdale, walking to Keswick and catching the bus back up the valley seemed much more attractive and less time bound.

There was a bit of mist over Windermere as we drove up England's finest road but otherwise the scenery was magnificent.  Lakes very still and snow on the fell tops- more in the south, particularly on the Coniston fells, than further north.  

As we started to drop down to Keswick I stopped to take the same panorama as I had snapped on CW07 for comparison purposes.  There did seem to be some mist on the lake.

Same view as on CW07 but a lot colder!

We parked at the Lodore Falls Hotel, formerly known as the Swiss Lodore.  There is a rather intimidating notice saying that parking was £5 for up to four hours, get a ticket from the porter or you will be clamped. We needed longer than four hours; how much would they want for that?

I presented myself at Reception and a nice young lady asked if I was using the facilities? I said we might possibly, at the end of our walk. She asked for the car number and that was it. No request for money. Well done, Lodore Falls.

We crossed the marshy land at the head of Derwent Water to pick up the Cumbria Way. There was some warmth in the sun, which was just as well as the ground temperature was close to freezing.  

Skiddaw dominated the view to the north, as it would all day, with a strange cloud lurking over Little Man making it look like the volcano had erupted!  The view south into the Jaws of Borrowdale was very atmospheric but directly into the sun.  Using Margaret as a sunshade gave a nice "contre-jour" photo but obscured the view!

The Skiddaw volcano

The view south!

The jetty at High Brandlehow seemed to have been repaired so maybe we could have used the ferry this time.

High Brandlehow landing stage looking across to Bleaberry Fell

We took lunch just before the Low Brandlehow jetty, realising that once past there, the sun would be lost behind Cat Bells. In fact where we sat on a little premonitory we had double sunshine, so strong was the reflection of the low sun on the lake. Using a tree as a sunshade enabled a southerly photo to be taken, at last!

Sadly the Way leaves the lake shortly afterwards, although there was an interesting sculpture of a pair of hands to admire.

The view south!

Hand in hands!

Robinson and Causey Pike

Once past the foot of Cat Bells, we emerged into a field and regained the sun and a fine view of Robinson and Causey Pike.

We stopped at Nichol End jetty for our team photo with the inevitable Skiddaw as the backdrop.

On through Portinscale and then, as it was still icy and very slippery, we had some mild excitement on the Portinscale suspension bridge over the River Derwent.

Nichol End team picture

Skiddaw and the Portinscale suspension bridge

There were hundred of geese in the field and fine evening views all around.

Geese with the Derwent Fells in the evening sun

The Helvellyn range beyond Keswick

And which hill might that be?

Well done to the local councillors of Keswick.  I think those of Kendal should be sent there (at their own expense) to see how to make a town look attractive for Christmas shopping.  Good festive lighting and a tented market outside the Moot Hall.  Not quite full marks however- no stall selling gluhwein and sausages!

The Skiddaw volcano

..... Causeway Foot

After switching off the gps so that shopping mileage was not included, we did our bit to keep the local economy vibrant before catching the bus to Lodore.  We did go into the hotel with the intention of having a thank-you coffee but we were in boots and rather muddy and thought they might prefer that we came back to do the decent thing on another day.  However, the hotel looked really inviting, both inside and out with its Christmas decorations.  Thank you again, Lodore Falls Hotel, we will return!

The A591 is still a nice drive, even in the dark, with the snow-capped hills silhouetted against the night sky.  Until we reached the fog, that is!  The Westmorland part of the journey home was rather more challenging!

And challenging is the word for the next section- Keswick to Caldbeck via Skiddaw House.  Just how we will tackle this 16 mile journey with no obvious break point remains to be seen.  However, I have a cunning plan....!  All will be revealed in due course.

Don, 29th November 2008

PS Sadly no washing worth mentioning.  Must do better next time!

PPS If you haven't had your fill of Skiddaw photos, shown below is a bonus picture, from Nichol End!


Skiddaw from Nichol End


5.8 miles

49.5 miles cumulative

Height climbed:
465 feet

7,711 feet cumulative 

 If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading CW08.


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 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

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