Monday 22 May 2017

Cumbria Way. Part two

The following morning saw me away from the campsite fairly early. The walk around Derwentwater is a pleasant one, popular too. Being a Sunday there were a fair few folk out and about.
Rain threatened and there were a few bits of drizzle. hardly enough for waterproofs, enough to make things damp!
A middle aged couple, clad in lycra came up the track at great speed. Arms and trekking poles going nineteen to the dozen, a look of total concentration on their faces. Supposedly nordic walking is good for one, but it must be said, it does look a little odd!
.It would appear that backpackers are not such a common breed in the Derwent Water area. At least it seemed that way by the looks I received from a few people?
Coming around by the car park below Catbells, I could see literally, columns of people heading up the hill. How glad I was that I was not heading in that direction.
Keswick was heaving with people. It was a case of picking up a bit of food, grabbing a bite to eat and heading back out.
It is a steady pull walking up through Latrigg woods. A nice surprise was found at the carpark at the top.A lady had set up business with a specially adapted van and was selling a variety of hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice creams.
The path that runs around the side of Lonscale Fell is a lovely walk. It winds around the hillside high above Glenderaterra Beck. Higher up and about a mile short of Skiddaw House are the remains of buildings and sheepfolds. Whether they are agricultural or industrial, I am unsure? They were my goal for the afternoon. Having been that way before I knew I could find a spot to camp. A bit close the path, but I was certain no one would bother me. One downside of seeing other people out on the hill was the amount of times I was told that rain was forecast for the morning!
As I was setting up camp I heard someone coming down the path. It was an elderly gent and he was having a right barney with someone. Arms waving all over the place, he was going for it bigtime. The only snag was, he was on his own, odd?
In the early hours of the morning I had severe stomach cramps and was decidedly ill. My suspicion was the food I had to eat in Keswick, a meat and potato pie that had obviously been heated in the microwave? The onset of rain at five in the morning decided me, I was going to have a day off. Later in the morning, sitting with a cup of tea, I could hear people heading up the hill. A guy in a very strident voice loudly announcing, 'The forecast is for the rain to clear by late morning'! Unfortunately the weather gods were working to a different script! It rained all day and was still wet on Tuesday morning, It was windy too.

The CW splits at Skiddaw House. One section runs east and goes over  High Pike. The alternative runs west and is lower. Both link up again at Nether Row, not far from Caldbeck, which was my goal for the day. It was the eastern route I really wanted. A last day on the high fells before heading in to lowland countryside. However, with the tops clad in thick, blue, black clouds, coupled with the wind and rain, common sense had to prevail. Thus I opted for the western alternative.
The Whitewater Dash waterfall looked splendid and several folk were heading up to view it.
The CW does another dogleg at Peterhouse Farm, looping off on footpaths over to Orthwaite. This section saw more road walking than other part of the whole route. It was nice scenery over to Nether Row

. It was then on down to Caldbeck. Here I threw a total  wobbly and booked in to a pub, horrors! It was deliberate though. My special treat and the fact that I had fifteen miles to cover the following day. A bed, shower and clean clothes seemed appropriate. The Oddfellows Pub at Caldbeck was very reasonably priced for bed, breakfast and evening meal. Also, they were walker and dog friendly.
It was risky but I went for the full breakfast in the morning. A bit of a faff actually finding the route out of the village. Once sorted it was a steady climb up through the woods of Parson's Park. Lovely views all round and some good walking. Along drop back down following a path damaged by erosion, parts of the river bank opposite also had suffered storm damage. Once over the bridge at Sebergham, I paused for a check of the map and a wee breather. Sitting by the busy road, I noticed a group of smartly dressed people heading down the pavement. Odd in a rural environment! They stopped to say hello, ask were I was heading and so forth. Suddenly one of the chappies offered me a leaflet and asked if I knew anything about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Making my excuses, I hurried away. Really, I had enough on my plate without meeting up with the four horsemen!

Making my way over to Bell Bridge I hit a problem. There was no bridge, it had been washed away. Unless I was prepared to swim, I had to divert.
A dogleg via Hudbeck, Breconhill and back down to Bog Bridge brought me back on track. It was now all gentle rolling countryside to Carlisle. The amount of storm damage wreaked by the river Caldew in the recent floods, was very apparent. Great areas of river bank swept away, swathes of land  bearing the results of flood. Massive islands of debri. Boulders, rocks, mud, shattered tree trunks and tangles of tree roots. Nature can be very destructive when she wants! Mind, time will heal the scars.!

A pause for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake at Dalston. It was then head down and go for it mode. To be honest lowland walking has never been a favourite of mine and I wanted done. Thus it was that the pace increased as I tabbed the last few miles. After signing the book at the Tourist information office in Carlisle, it was just a case of heading to the station and a train back. My calculations later showed that I had covered seventeen and a half miles from Caldbeck.
That last section had to be my least favourite. The highlight of the journey was from Chapel Stile over to Borrowdale.


  1. Sounds like you had a really good trip, except for the food poisoning interlude. It was quite a few years ago that Mick and I walked the Cumbria Way, but I remember us commenting at the time that it would be better if it finished in Dalston. Neither of us thought much of that final trog into Carlisle.

  2. Dalston would certainly be a better finish Gayle. Those last few miles in to Carlisle were not that pleasant.

  3. My personal view is that the best way to do the Cumbria Way is to start in Keswick, walk to Ulverston, then train round to Carlisle and walk south back to Keswick. This means that when you finish, the stretch from Carlisle to Dalston is a distant memory.

  4. My personal view is that the best way to do the Cumbria Waynis to start in Keswick. Walk south to Ulverston, then train round to Carlisle. Walk south to Keswick. Thatbway, the stretch from Carlisle to Dalston is a distant memory.

  5. Now that would be an interesting way of doing things

  6. I think I would have ended it in Dalston, so well done doing the last stretch. I think it only goes into Carlisle as it's a transport hub. Your pictures are great btw. I agree with you about Keswick, get in and back out asap.

  7. Enjoyed accompanying you on the walk - some good stories told :)

  8. Thank you Alan, glad you enjoyed the write up Andy.

  9. Another trip down Memory Lane, thanks Dawn! I agree with the comments of others regarding the bit into Carlisle, it was a bit grim when I did it around 10-12 years ago - it doesn't seem to have improved. Having said that, I found the Keswick to Caldbeck section to be quite lovely. Apart from Keswick of course!

  10. The Keswick to Caldbeck is nice John but I would suggest the eastern route if possible