This was the beginning. The beginning of my time in The Lake District, but also the beginning of seeing more of the world. Where better to start than one of England’s most loved national parks. The trip would last 4 days, Monday to Friday, so I knew it would be difficult to cram lots in. Especially when walking and even more tricky when the weather wasn’t on my side!
I set off, not at the crack of dawn but early enough to miss nearly all of the rush hour traffic. My journey was last around five and a half hours, so was well prepared with snacks and drinks. My intention was to visit Castlerigg Stone Circle on the way to where I was staying in Manesty, but the weather was so awful, I couldn’t get out of the car without being instantly drenched. “We’ll leave that for the return journey” I thought to myself.
Still with high enthusiasm, not letting my spirits be defeated by the worsening weather, I greeted my hosts Alan and Cheryl, who ran me through all there was to know about the Shepherds Hut I would be calling home for the next three nights. Alan’s family have lived in Manesty for six generations, so he naturally oozed with excitement describing the best “walks from the door”, along with places to eat and where to see the most wildlife.
After we had chatted, they left me to unpack and settle in. As you can see, there wasn’t much room in the hut. But it felt just right, just enough to escape and enjoy the great outdoors. Time for a cup of tea and a browse of the walking routes Alan had left me. By the time I’d had a quick flick through, the rain had considerably slowed. Enough for a wander, so on went my water proof clothes and off I went for a wander round Manesty Woods.
Manesty is at the base of the Catbells Fell and after a 15 minute walk through Manesty Woods you reach the south shore of Derwent Water. Regardless of the weather, the views were stunning. Realising I’d not eaten a substantial meal, I headed off to the Borrowdale Hotel.
On my return from the Borrowdale Hotel, the rain had started to come down hard, so hard that the river had burst its banks. The path to the left of the bridge in the picture above had flooded and with that being the ONLY PATH BACK to the shepherd’s hut, the boots and socks came off.
Once back, the log burner was lit and all was well. Arrival day was over.
As I pulled back the curtains to see what Tuesday had in store, It was unsurprisingly raining. My intention was to hike the Catbells Fell, and that is what I did. Because it was horrific weather, the camera didn’t make an appearance. But for perspective, this is where I was hiking in such awful conditions.
Although I couldn’t take any pictures of the view looking down on Derwent Water, it was still a great experience and sense of achievement on reaching the top. Whether it’s the Catbells or another fell, I’ll definitely be hiking up another one in the future.
Not wanting to let the weather defeat me, I dried off and hopped in the car and headed for Ashness bridge, a spot that’s attracted photographers, professional and amateur alike.
After I’d got some shots of the bridge, I headed off for some food at the Mary Mount Hotel, which looked out over Derwent Water. By 4pm, the weather had started to considerably improve, I think the sun even made an appearance. On the way back to Manesty, I stopped off and took a few photos of the journey.
After a positive second half to the day, I headed back to the hut to have a play around with editing some of the photos from the day. The forecast for Wednesday was sun, thank goodness.
Waking up to bright sunshine on Wednesday morning was such a refreshing feeling. Today I would walk the whole of Derwent Water, about 8 miles in total. My route would see my rise half way up the Catbells fell, to try to at least get some nice views over the lake.
So, the circuit of Derwent Water had begun. I’ll now just post some pics of the journey round..
The weather continued to be kind on my last morning, so I set off to find the Castlerigg Stone Circle I had sought out on the first day, only to be delayed by the weather. It’s like the Lake Districts version of Stone Henge..
All in all, despite the crappy weather, which was embraced 100%, it was a fantastic trip. The location was perfect, the shepherd’s hut was all I needed for this little escape and Alan and Cheryl were wonderfully helpful. I must admit next time I would stay for at least an extra night, giving you some breathing space for activities if bad weather should strike.
Lake District – Done!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
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