Lake District Bank Holiday Weekend

3

MAY, 2016

Category
Trip Reports

For the early May bank holiday we visited The Lake District. It was a fun weekend with good weather Saturday but heavy rain Sunday and early Monday morning. I guess it’s not called The Lake District for nothing, all that water has to come from somewhere!

We left London Friday evening for the long and busy journey to the Lake District. Our accommodation was Grasmere Independent Hostel, somewhere we have used a few times before. There is a lot to like about this hostel, it’s good quality accommodation though at only 24 beds it’s smaller than we would normally like for a bank holiday. Grasmere is also a great base since it’s so centrally located, allowing you to tackle any of the mountain ranges without long drive times.

Before we had even left for the Lake District our planned walks had already been modified. During the winter storms a landslide had closed the road between Ambleside and Keswick, just north of our accommodation. The road was not to to open until later in May and the diversions would have made a couple of walks impractical.

On Saturday the weather was on our side as we headed to our start point. The disused quarry just outside Coniston was already fairly busy with cars as we parked up and began our walk. Earlier that week the area had received a late dumping of snow which was gave the mountain tops a lovely appearance. The snow however would mean we would have to change our route as progress would be slow and there were warnings about conditions on some of the ridges.

As we neared Levers Water we could see some fell runners hurtling down the hill in front of us and heading our way. Our group shouted lots of encouragement but this had definitely slowed our progress down. We then began to ascend towards the peak of Wetherlam.

Levers Water
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Looking back towards Levers Water

Photograph by Gary Box

“Grasmere is also a great base since it’s so centrally located, allowing you to tackle any of the mountain ranges without long drive times”.

As is often the case the steep uphill section and a couple of boggy sections underfoot caused the group to slow down. Finally though we were at the summit of Wetherlam and fortunate enough to have great views into the distance. It might only be 762 metres high but with good visibility and a dusting of snow it was still an enjoyable place to be.

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Group photo at Wetherlam

Photograph by Gary Box

Since it had taken us longer than expected to reach this far we decided it would be unwise to attempt the whole series of peaks including the Old Man of Coniston. We would instead make a leisurely descent back towards the cars. The quality of light if anything got better with a more golden quality about it.

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Descending back to the valley

Photograph by Gary Box

On Sunday we had hoped to do another high level route but the whole day was a washout with heavy rain. Some in the group decided to head into Ambleside rather than get soaked to the skin. Most however did undertake a lower level valley walk that included the village of Grasmere, Grasmere Lake and the Rydal area. Since we finished this walk by mid afternoon most of us then decided to head into Ambleside and visit Zeffirellis cinema where we watched Jungle Book.

Monday was to be our departure day. The original plan was to do a high level but short route in the Langdale Pikes area. With more heavy rain there was little appetite for the hike so some took the chance to head back to London early in the hope of missing most of the bank holiday traffic.

Some of us though decided to head to Grasmere village to the famous gingerbread shop. I then headed to Bowness on Windermere where ironically the clouds parted and blue sky appeared. After an hour in Bowness it was time to think about leaving. Hopefully we would have better luck with the weather on our next visit to The Lake District.

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