I made a spontaneous decision to visit the Lakes again and got up at ungodly hour on Saturday to catch 5:38 to Kendal via Warrington. Disappointingly, there was no direct bus to Keswick so early, only to Ambleside. It was still nice and quiet in this prettly little town around 9 am, but it soon started filling with visitors, mostly Asian groups taking selfies at the pier. I left my Pentax at home, hence the crappy phone pics below.
I caught the next 555 bus to Keswick eventually… Saturday is a market day and so the town was crammed with stalls offering everything from local foods to woolen jumpers and sheepskins. Keswick is lovely but gets overcrowded so very easily. I wanted to get some advice at the tourist information about how to best utilize my 5-6 hours. To my surprise, they didn’t have free maps showing the walks directly from Keswick. In fact they had no free maps of any kind. I find it strange, because every town, village and hamlet in Ireland seems the exact opposite and the Basque Country we recently visited was the same. I ended up buying a £1.25 National Park guide to Walla Crag – just a thin leaflet really – a £7.99 calendar and a fridge magnet. A good selection of free leaflets and maps explaining local walks would be very desirable. ‘You have to buy a book’ – I heard from the lady at the counter. Who carries a book with them when doing hillwalking ? What about people who only popped in for one day and have no need to take books back with them to USA or Japan ? Not the best marketing strategy for the Park.
Many years ago, when I used to work in Borrowdale Valley, my co-worker said about Seatoller: ‘there is nothing there’. How wrong she was. There is everything there, everything that makes me wake up at 4 am and suffer drunken troglodytes on a delayed train back home just to see these views:
I sat on a stone and stared at the mountains for a while, then walked downhill and headed back to the bus shelter. It was very wet and muddy at places, streams became mini rivers. I met a group of men attempting to carry their mountain bikes up a rocky hill and I wondered how on earth they were going to cycle there. I met a friendly shepherd with two dogs, calling his sheep in what must have been old Cumbric 😉
I still had a few hours left so I followed directions on my phone to Castlerigg Stone Cirle. It took me roughly 40 min to walk there from town. According to the information boards, this stone circle could be 4500 years old. Mind boggling, isn’t it ?
I waited for the tourists to go back to their minibuses and leave before I started wandering around the stones. It was still a bit crowded; the lady on the left was trying to detect ancient energies. As far as I am concerned, energies are not ancient and neither are they new. They simply are and maybe the circle attracted as well as amplified and stored them for gifted humans to access and use. Or maybe the stones were simply there so people could lean on them while smoking pot. Who knows ? I touched a couple of stones and felt that the whole site was, for a lack of a better word, balanced. Ok, enough of mumbo – jumbo for one day.
Derwentwater looked gorgeous in that warm afternoon light. The weather was so pleasant for mid October, I had to take off my down jacket several times. No wonder all the ice cream parlours were open.
It was a day well spent. The sun was still shining at 5:30 pm but soon this will not be the case so my next trip will have to be shorter. But there will be the next trip and many more, for sure.