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

7th February 2009

I started preparing this report in my normal way by calling up the last one with the intention of renaming it then editing out the old information and replacing it with the latest. However, on opening CW08, I was immediately struck by the difference in the weather.  Ten weeks ago, it had been a beautiful sunny but cold afternoon.  Today, according to the forecasts, it should again have been a beautiful sunny but cold afternoon with crystal clear views of snowy hills. Only the weather gods didn't quite follow the script.

It was decidedly grey as we drove up through the Lakes to Keswick and it felt as if it might snow at any time.  

We havered for a short while in the car park before deciding to make the effort. Even so, had it really started to snow, I think we might not have got past the shops.  

But it didn't and we did.

We made our way up to Fitz Park and tried to find the exit for the way.  

The route marking here is atrocious.  

Fitz Park War Memorial

Just one marker, partly covered by a planning application notice pointing in an uncertain direction and with no follow up. 

Fortunately the Cicerrone guide made better sense and we found our way out of Keswick onto Spooner Green Lane and up the steepish track to the Ewe How view point. 

Spooner Green Lane with Skiddaw and Latrigg ahead

After the obligatory photo-stop we carried on up to the Gale Road car park. 

Ewe How View Point



Mission Accomplished.  

All two miles of it.

"What is all that about?" I hear you wonder.  "All that way for just two miles?"  

Well, yes and no.  

Yes, because it unlocks the logistics of the next stage, enabling us to use the Gale Road Car Park, for, believe or not, parking the car.

The Way forward from Gale Road Car Park

No, because we could now take in Latrigg and return a different way to Keswick.

Latrigg looks quite big from Keswick (though obviously dwarfed by Skiddaw and friends). However, from the Gale Road Car Park it is accesible by a limited mobility path.  This provides an even track with a very easy gradient which could probably be tackled by a wheelchair.  

The views are quite spectacular although it was bitterly cold and not a day for lurking around.  

180 degrees- click on photo for enlarged 360 degree panarama

The other 180 degrees- click on photo for enlarged 360 degree panarama

Having bagged Latrigg as a needed Wainwright, we descended by the more conventional north east path to Bruntholme near which, now out of the wind, we had a very late lunch. There was a fine view of Blencathra and the Cumbria Way winding left before it and a suitable spot for a team photo with Latrigg behind.

The Way forward, left of Blencathra

Team photo in front of Latrigg

We dropped down to the old railway line. 

This is now a footpath with some interesting old bridges and a strange Millenium statue.  

We trundled back to Keswick past the station, which is now part of the Keswick Hotel.

A Millenium Whotsit

Nearing the railway, with bridge




Keswick's erstwhile Railway station

We nearly managed to avoid the temptation of the shops.  Margaret however was drawn into the last one in town- a picture shop.  I decided to read the adverts in the KE Adventure office next door (I think this is the firm with which Bryan goes on his thrill seeking tours- Atlas mountains coming soon).  She was promptly locked in.  Then kicked out.  Apparently it was a very nice shop but the needs of the assistant to close and get back to her warm fireside saved my wallet from a pounding.  As a reward, I offered Margaret eight days snowshoeing at Chamonix but she declined.

All in all, despite only accomplishing two miles of the Cumbria Way, the added six miles and hill made it a real walk and one well worth repeating on a summer's evening- when there might be some washing to photograph.  Not surprisingly, there was none to be seen today.

Don, 7th February 2009

Unrelated Snippet:  

The day before this walk, we undertook a training exercise from Ambleside via Low Sweden Bridge to High Sweden Bridge then down the other side of the valley.  On reaching the outskirts of Ambleside we saw a strange ruin, pictured here.  It seemed to be in the grounds of a rather fine house called Eller How but we could not find out any more.

I was going to ask if you could identify the building or its purpose but first thought I should google for it and immediately discovered that it is for sale, if you have a spare £2.25m.  

Tower of Beauty and Friendship

Here is the story of Eller How, as per the estate agents.

Originally built by local builders as a small country house, Eller How has a distinguished history. It was purchased in 1851 by the Clough family. Arthur Hugh Clough, the English romantic poet, lived here and his sister Anne Jemima Clough, first principal of Newman College Cambridge, established a small school for girls at Eller How. The school introduced progressive ideas on teaching and learning and became significant in the development of child-centred education in Britain. Signs of the school can still be evidenced today in the boot-room and through the shape of a door in the present garden room.

The house was purchased by the Boyle family in 1862. The Boyles were prominent figures in the Potteries where John Boyle was a partner in the then 'Wedgwood and Boyle' factory. His son Henry, a typical Victorian dilettante and eccentric, was a keen botanist with a passion for landscape gardening. It was his ambitious schemes that gave the gardens at Eller How their present day character. He specialised in rockeries and tropical plants obtained from friends at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. He built egg-timer ponds, rustic bridges, flights of stone steps, a fernery, where tree ferns and orchids grew inside an impressive glass house, kept crocodiles in heated ponds, dug underground caves and built what has become known locally as the 'Tower of Beauty and Friendship'. Built on a high mound at the top of the garden, the tower stands as an elaborate 19th century visitors' book. The names of friends who stayed at Eller How, including the Wordsworths, the Arnolds, Harriet Martineau and other womens' suffrage supporters were carved into bricks built into the face of the tower and can be clearly seen today.

Henry's son Harry Boyle became a significant figure in the late 19th and early 20th century British Diplomatic Service, and his biography, 'A Servant of the Empire,' written by his wife Clara and published in 1936 by Methuen, provides much more detail about the house and garden in the two chapters devoted to the Boyles life at Eller How. The family owned the house until Clara's death in 1962.

In the year 2000 Channel 4 Television produced a one hour documentary, presented by Monty Don, in their 'Lost Gardens' series, where the fernery, the underground caves, additional ponds and an ancient home-made water heating boiler were re-discovered. A video of the programme can be obtained from Channel 4 and account of its making found in Jennifer Potter's book of the series.




8.1 miles

57.6 miles cumulative

Height climbed:

1,389 feet

9,100 feet cumulative 

 If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading CW09.


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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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