The forecast for the day was rain, and that pretty much summed it up, constant drizzle with the occasional sun beam poking out, as it does in blustery condition. But it wasn't the sort of rain that got you soaked. It wasn't going to ruin my day. I planned a low level route so I could still enjoy some views. I have wanted to follow the Ullswater Way since it opened a few years ago. Although there are a lot of lakes in the Lake District few have a continuous path which you can follow reasonable near the waters edge, and actually leading the whole way round. I started from camp and headed to Glencoyne Park where Wordsworth gained inspiration for some of his poetry. From here the path links to Aira Force, a 65ft waterfall, made even the more impressive by its wooded surroundings and red squirrel inhabitants! It was quite busy here, it's owned by the National Trust. But I enjoyed seeing the waterfall and we soon lost the busy touristy section as we climbed out to Hind Crag. This gave way to impressive views over Ullswater. The path continued through Swinburne Park, which used to be a medieval deer park! Although we had journeyed quite far away from the Lake by now, there were still glimpses of its shoreline. Only from here do you really appreciate how big it is! Onwards, and 10 miles later we made it to Pooley Bridge. My initial intention was to continue to Howtown and get the last sailing back at 5:30 to Glenridding but I wouldn't have made it, being a further 5 miles with only an hour to spare, so instead I caught the bus from Pooley Bridge back to Glenridding.
At this point the rain begun to pour (even more!) but we still had time to explore somewhere else before tea! Just above the campsite was a sign post to Lanty's Tarn. With a name like that I had to visit! Wainwright mentions it in his recommended diversions whilst climbing Birkhouse Moor. Along with Keldas (a view point over pine forest to Ullswater), he says it is not to be missed. The path climbs through woodland to a secret tarn surrounded by mostly dense forest. It's really pretty, and at 5pm on a wet afternoon, very peaceful! I nearly went the wrong way, and started to climb Patterdale Common! Sensing my error I turned back and returned to camp but it was a nice little adventure to end the day. Lakeside walks are not my favourite type of day trips but with the weather like it was it was the best option, and turned into a lovely walk. The waterfall, medieval deer park, and secret tarn made it interesting. And Pooley Bridge made a nice mid afternoon break from the rain where we were able to get an ice cream and window shop at all the Beatrix Potter merchandise!
Throughout the walk there were signs that nature's summery delights were past their prime, and that Autumn was just around the corner. The bracken was turning brown, there were berries on the Rowan trees and the 'lambs' trying to suckle on their mothers looked, frankly, ridiculous! I can't believe summer is nearly over – when I was younger the summer school holidays seemed to last forever. It was a chance in the year to press the restart button, a fresh beginning. I suppose now I'll just have to go by nature's restart button – spring. Summer isn't my favourite season so I'm happy Autumn is close. I love the vibrant leaves falling from the trees, looking for the different seeds (you are never too old to collect confers!) and, most of all, the sunsets. Oh and camping is all the more fun when you have the whole site to yourself!!
Photos of this walk below, day three to follow in my next post……