From Valley to Clouds

From Valley to Clouds
Ennerdale Bridge to Scafell Hotel, Rosthwaite
25.2 km
8:15 AM to 3:45 PM
Thursday, May 26, 2016

We donned partial rain gear when Jim dropped us off at the Shepherd’s Arms Hotel where we left Brian’s backpack for Sherpavan to deliver to the Scafell Hotel. A kilometre down the road we started removing the same gear, not because it was sunny but we had generated enough body heat. We were fortunate that we did not have rain today. Black clouds threatened most of the day.

We were warned against taking the high route as winds there were 25 mph, it was raining and the summits were encased in black clouds; so, even if we could have saved ourselves from blowing off the top, we would not have had beautiful vistas. So no high route for us.

We scrambled over the rocky terrain on the south side of Ennerdale Water and climbed up to Robin Hood’s chair. His rock chair on an outcrop at the middle edge of the lake had a great view to both ends of the water. We were accompanied by bird song, sheep and black lambs with magnificent Angler’s Crag rising on our right and green pastures then forest across the water to our left. Further along we walked through Frodo territory where the trees hung gnarly branches and all the rocks were covered in bright green moss. Streams raced down from the fells.

We crossed back to the north side of the valley and walked through a forest where giant hemlock were being logged. Much of the already logged forest had been replanted and each new tree was surrounded by a plastic tube to keep the sheep from eating it.

We sat down on a bench outside Black Sail Youth Hostel. Brian protected me from the cold windy side. Such a good man! I was envious of the hot coffee a young couple was drinking from their thermos. Always a happy occasion to change socks and have new feet. We were engulfd by high green fells, their summits hidden in clouds.we only saw five hikers today.

And then the adventure began. We could not see our trail as it proceeded further into the steep sided valley. The trail looked more like a sheep track. The sheep were probably laughing at us. They are much more fleet of foot. It is most fortunate that we had the Gaia GPS app on our phone or we would still be wandering in the wilderness.

Margaret would have loved the hundreds of steep stone steps we climbed up Loft Beck to Grey Knotts. I was less enamoured. We could not see the summit from the valley nor the valley the higher we went up. We even questioned whether or not there was a summit because even when the steps ended the trail kept rising. We had to follow loose stone cairns to find our way. Sadly we were in so much cloud that we had trouble seeing where the next cairn was. The wind was cold. I donned gloves, hood and an extra jacket. Just think that this was not the high route!

Again, happy to have GPS. The descent to Honister slate mines was easier for me than for Brian. Descents always are, but we made it. Instead of admiring the beautiful wares in their gift shop, we gravitated to a sad excuse for a coffee which satisfied us only because it was hot liquid. We pressed on. Five or so easier kilometres through very green valley lined with dry stone walls, populated by sheep and lambs led us to our destination. The hot bath was perfect.
At the hotel desk we learned that the Sherpavan driver had arrived without our bag but he returned to fetch it from Rosthwaite. We were happy that it arrived before us.

We spent the rest of our day drinking and dining with our Irish Camino friends, Marie and Jim. An absolutely delightful evening!

WIFI is terrible. I don’t know when I will publish this blog.


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