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, 20 September 2008

Day 4 - Patterdale to Shap

20 Sept
Distance: 15.5ish miles
Number of ticks pulled off my body: 5
Number of ticks pulled off Mick: 1

It had suddenly (and somewhat belatedly) occurred to me yesterday that we would be staying on a Lake District campsite on a Friday night, and that is something that I would usually avoid. The chance of encountering people out to party through the night when I want to sleep is just too great.

To the campsite we went, however, and we found it reasonably busy - and very sloping indeed. Tents were perched at all sorts of jaunty angles and I doubt that there was a single person there who didn't suffer a slipping downhill incident in the night.

Despite being reasonably busy it was all quiet quite early, and so it remained until about 11pm, when up pulled a car about three feet from my face and two girls (who were soon to become the Ignorant Cows) set about pitching their two tents. It's a process that necessarily involves a bit of noise, but all would have been fine had they then (around midnight) done the right and proper thing and shut up and gone to bed.

What they actually did was sit outside their tents and chat for the next hour.

I was awake for over three hours. The most annoying thing about it was that ordinarily I put my audio book on and promptly fall asleep. In the middle of last night I managed to listen to three (long) chapters and was still wide awake.

What I would always like to do in such situations is to make lots of noise myself the following morning when we're up early. But I can never bring myself to do that, for fear of disturbing someone else. This morning, however, I knew that our other near neighbours were also getting up at 6, so when our alarm went off I made no effort to keep my voice down or minimise rustling of carrier bags.

I was most pleased when one of the Ignorant Cows emerged at 7am, looking very tired and throwing daggers in my direction.

Anyway, enough ranting about camping experiences. This is supposed to be about the walk - and once again it was lovely.

The Trailblazer guide says to expect to feel very tired at the end of this section, to curse the name Wainwright and to question why you ever took up walking.

Admittedly there was a lot of ascent. Up and up we went, going from the warmth of the valley to a fresh breeze up higher and then up into the cloud just after the island-festooned Angle Tarn.

The path was momentarily lost in the poor visibility and because it's so blindingly obvious (almost motorway-esque) in most places we hadn't been paying too much attention to where we were. We pondered a while, made a decision, went twenty yards forward, realised we weren't right and soon were back on the clear path, wondering how we had lost it to start with.

The cloud started drifting in and out as we progressed and by the time we got to Kidsty Pike we were getting some excellent views in between the clouds. Some of those views included herds of deer, which is something I had not expected.

Even worse than the ascent was the descent down a very eroded path from Kidsty Pike to Haweswater. My knees started to complain on that bit, but soon settled down once we started along the side of the reservoir.

I've often found that walking the length of a lake feels much further than it is, but today that phenomenon didn't occur. It was a very pleasant walk made better for the fact that the sun finally won through.

It was a day of three distinct elements. After the hills, then the lakeside we left the fells behind and were on farmland.

We made short work of the fields, mainly because we bumped into five other C2Cers at the end of Haweswater and it seemed a bit unmanageable to have seven people walking together, hence we put a bit of a pace on.

A pause was had to admire Shap Abbey then there we were, in the village. We're pitched at New Ing Lodge, where the camping toilet facilities are the worst I've ever encountered anywhere. Fortunately, before we found that out we'd already opted to spend the extra £2 to use the Dorm kitchen and bathrooms. It was £2 well spent. We've had more cups of tea in the last two hours than we've had in the last two days.

The only potential fly in the ointment is the proximity of the train track. If I get another disturbed night I could be very grouchy indeed.

1 comment:

  1. A hilarious (I am sorry) description of how much fun (!) can be had with camping with cows as bedfellows!

    I thought therefore I could convince you to try a cottage next time so here are a couple we have tried in the past.

    These Lake District Holiday Cottages are very good and we took our pet their last summer. This summer.... wet as it was... we tried these Cottages for rent in Cumbria which were a little different but gave us great access to both the Lake District and North Yorkshire.

    I can
    recommend them both.