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]

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Weekend in Keswick - Sunday

If you’ve never been to the Flock-in tea shop at Yew Tree Farm in Rosthwaite, then I would recommend that you pop in the next time that you’re in the area. Their small and simple menu is very tasty and they also sell Borrowdale Herdwick Lamb, vacuum packed, for you to take home and enjoy at your leisure.

Our original plan for Sunday involved a trip to Rosthwaite with the purpose of buying some of the excellent lamb, and we had thought that whilst we were in that area we would pop up Haystacks.

Having unthinkingly done the Haystacks walk on Friday, we needed to find a different reason to be in Rosthwaite on Sunday. Fancying a low level and short route (so that we could journey on home at a reasonable hour), a quick consideration of the map gave the obvious plan of walking along the Cumbria Way to just-before-Grange, then walking back along the Allerdale Ramble route via Seatoller and back to Rosthwaite. As that route goes straight past Castle Crag it would have been rude not to pop up it whilst we were there.

We set out sufficiently early from Rosthwaite that the paths were empty. The only people we met before Castle Crag were a couple out dog-walking. Oh, and the group of campers who we guessed were not there legally (and the scar of the fire they’d had, plus the beer cans lying around gave us the, perhaps unfair, impression that they wouldn’t make a good job of cleaning up after themselves).

Our jaunt up Castle Crag was most pleasant and the summit surprised me, as it looks from the approach from Grange as if the views will be completely obscured by trees. That is far from the case and for such a little protrusion it certainly boasts some fine views.

Our sojourn on the top was shared by a photography group (who for a while seemed more intent on reporting home via their mobile phones than they did on their sizeable collections of camera equipment), however, I was soon distracted from that when Husband won a few ticks in the good books when he pulled two surprise Tunnocks Caramel Wafer bars from his bag. He’s getting good at producing surprise chocolate treats from his bag when I least expect them.

Making our way back down, we heard before we saw the group of twenty or so ramblers. There must be something about a big group that causes such an exaggeration of volume. Perhaps it’s self perpetuating in that everyone has to talk louder to be heard over everyone else, or perhaps it’s just the element of sharing banter with someone who is fifty yards ahead of you. Either way, they made their approach known and we were glad to have enjoyed our time on the top before they arrived.

The rest of the route into Seatoller was reasonably unremarkable, but alas, the good weather was not to last, and on this section the ominous sky decided to deliver a bit of drizzle onto us and the sky showed no promise of brightening back up again.

From Seatoller a couple of backpackers at the riverside made me jealous as they broke out their stove and kettle for a cup of tea (although after passing them by, I did have to question why backpackers would take a separate kettle with them, in addition to a collection of pans – for this couple did have a proper kettle on the go, plus a couple of pans in evidence; now, even if you’re not a believer in lightweight, why would you take a separate kettle when you already have pans?).

From the number of people on the path between Seatoller and Rosthwaite, and particularly the number of people who were clutching guide books, we had to surmise that I had chosen a route that also features in one of the main guidebooks. Unsurprising really as the route does rather leap off the map as being an obvious 5 or 6 mile, low level, easily accessible walk.

Back in Rosthwaite lunch was enjoyed in the Flock-in (half pints of tea chosen over the pint size mugs – another virtue of this tea room), and we left clutching our bag of lamb to take home.

And then home was the destination. It had been three excellent days of walking in good weather. You can’t ask for more than that, can you?

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