Yesterday, my Dad and I made a bet about today’s weather forecast. On Wednesday, the forecast had been calling for 40-50 mph winds and rain with temperatures near freezing in elevated areas of the Lake District. I was sure that the forecast would improve, allowing us to bag Kidsty Pike, the peak that lies between Patterdale and Bampton Grange on today’s route. By today, the weather had only slightly improved, and the winds were still supposed to be a serious factor for any alpine ascent. Cloud cover and high winds are not a great combination for summiting even the smallest of peaks. As a result, we decided to take Wainwright’s alternative route along the lakeshore and around the valleys to Bampton Grange. We set off in full rain gear expecting both blustery gusts and horizontal rain. I should note that many of our colleagues, fellow Coast to Coasters, decided to take a steamer instead of walk in the iffy conditions. Sadly, they missed a truly wonderful day on the trail.
Neither the rain nor the winds came. Blustery winds pushed us along the lake, but nowhere near as strongly, or dangerously, as they would’ve been atop Kidsty Pike. The rain spat every now and then, but soon we had taken off our rain gear and were back to our normal hiking attire. With the weather cooperating, we began to follow our trail as it wound alongside Ullswater. Unlike Striding Edge or some of the ridge trails outside of Grasmere, this path was mellow, undulating gently over valley and meadow alike. It shepherded us from one end of the lake to the other without any aches or pains. And since we were already off route, we decided to chart our own course, linking public footpaths and bridleways all the way to Bampton Grange. We walked past steamship landings, wilderness institutes, decaying farmhouses, Roman roads, mysterious stone circles, and over heathered moors. The latter marks our obvious departure from the Lake District as we enter the Westmoreland Plateau, a stage of flat, rolling plains of fields and moorlands. Although I would happily stay in the Lake District for a few more weeks, I am excited for what lies ahead!
Onward and eastward.