The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Car Parking: Is Nowhere Safe?

As I mentioned, we parked our car for our outing just beyond the end of the dead-end road from Mosedale, past Swineside.

We had nearly pulled into one area, but rejected it in favour of one further off the road a few yards further along.

My usual worry about leaving my car in an unknown place overnight is the potential for local youths with nothing better to do, to decide to vandalise it for no reason other than for the supposed ‘fun’ of it. Both Mick and I have had more than one car ‘keyed’ in the past, but there’s always the potential for worse things than a few scratches or gouges.

That concern diminishes the further away from civilisation I get, so parking beyond the end of a dead-end road a significant distance from anywhere in the lakes did not cause me a second thought. It just doesn’t seem like the sort of place where people would take the trouble to go to hang out and randomly damage cars. Nor did it strike me as an obvious place for any other sort of car crime – more organised car parks where it’s more reliable that people will park strike me as more likely subjects.

Even when happy about where we’ve left the car, it’s still always a relief to get back to find it still there and in one piece.

Such was the state in which we found the car yesterday, and having finished our picnic off we set back along the track, passing two other cars which had squeezed themselves into the little parking area that we had rejected.

As we drove by, I noticed that both of them had smashed windows.

Neither car had been there on Thursday afternoon, so no doubt they had both arrived yesterday morning for day walks, had left their cars in what appeared to be such a safe place, and would have returned to have all the good relaxation of their walks undone with immediate anger and inconvenience.

We thanked our lucky starts that our car was again untouched (whilst we were LEJOGging, step-son’s car was broken into on our driveway one night; our car a few feet away was untouched).

Admittedly the beaten-up-ness and the age of our car probably conveys, even at a glance, the fact that it will offer slim pickings to thieves. Then there’s the fact that we always leave it with the boot uncovered and make it quite apparent that there’s nothing inside worth stealing. But, even so, there’s always the potential, if someone’s on a window-smashing spree, that they will also target your car just to check that there’s nothing interesting in it.

Lucky as we were, it’s still disappointing to end a couple of days out with the evidence of recent car crime so close by - and in such a seemingly safe place.


  1. I share your concerns. I was less concerned about parking at Mardale Head as it's such a long way from anywhere, but whenI was in the Lakes in March, I left the car at Patterdale campsite rather than at a public parking place as I was worried about vandalism/theft.

  2. I'm amazed that people leave their cars in any location like that - we certainly wouldn't.

    That particular road seems to be a magnate for yobbish tourist types in summer, where the main risk is vandalism. For any out of the way minor road like that, the risk is thieves breaking in, and in the Lakes that road is a dead ringer.

  3. Geoff - you haven't seen our car. If you had, you wouldn't be so amazed.

    We will no doubt continue to leave the car in places that are apparently dodgy but we think are safe and one day maybe someone will break in (be disappointed in what they find, feel sorry for us for having such a car and leave a fiver on the dashboard for the trouble...)

    Alas, the current car will not live much longer, and it's unlikely that the replacement will be so unattractive to thieves. Then perhaps we'll have to either wise-up in our parking strategy or get local knowledge before we go.

  4. I leave it in Keswick or another town, and get the bus to a start point. Much safer.