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Published: June 14th 2017
Geo: 54.3568, -3.03676
Don't you just love it when the sun comes out?
We woke to the most perfect morning this morning - some mist on the lake when we got up, clearing to a beautiful crisp day! So, making the most of the sunshine, we bundled the kids out the door and up the mountain behind the cottage, to walk the Loughrigg Fells.
The walk was generally easy, with some muddy bits and a few steep bits - and it is always a little nerve wracking watching kids charge along on the side of a mountain! The guest book in the cottage says that others have seen red squirrels and stags on the path - I think that three noisy kids may have given the animals advance notice of our approach! We went up quite quickly - and the views!!!!!! Every time I looked, I couldn't believe the wonderful views. the day was absolutely perfect, and we even took our jackets off - it was quite warm in just a long sleeve shirt.
We went like mountain goats, from one craggy peak to another. If this is bagging Wainwrights, then I'm hooked! (I think I'd be less keen in winter or even on a
rainy day like yesterday!) Wainwright was a fellow who wrote 7 books, a veritable encyclopedia on the 214 peaks around the Lakes District. Climbers "bag the Wainwrights" by climbing them all (the Scottish equivalent is bagging Munros). There were even a mad group from Grasmere who counted the tarns (little lakes at the top of the fells) - over 400 of them. Oh, and did I mention that they had to swim in each one of the tarns to "bag" it? The water is really freshly melted snow!
The walk down was a little hairy - kids wanting to go faster than we considered safe, soggy ground and water leaking in the side of my shoes (luckily, everyone else's shoes were more waterproof, but I haven't regretted my super comfortable boots that I have worn every day since we got here!) All in all, the walk up to the fells and back took 2 hours, including lots of time at the top - it was wonderful! And whilst we didn't see any wildlife, we all just about fell over when we saw an army jet screaming down the valley at a level lower than our eye level - it was one
of two jets that we saw, and I reckon I heard another two - it must have been party day for the pilots!
Then we jumped into the car, and decided to drive towards Hardknott Pass. Matthew said "now that we've climbed a mountain, can we drive over one?" We aim to please! The drive out to the pass was itself very pretty (and everything is so much prettier with the sun shining!) But I had forgotten how narrow some of the roads were - quickly, the lanes went from 2 lanes, to a single lane, to "should I pull the mirrors in to get through here?" And up and up we went, through Wrynose Pass (at 25% gradient) to Hardknott Pass (sometimes 30% gradient!). The views were amazing - at the top, we parked the car, and walked up to another peak (does this count as another Wainwright? I think it does! Only 212 to go!)
We stopped at the Roman fort at Hardknott Pass - it was very interesting! It was wonderful to just explore it by ourselves (no-one but us and 30 sheep, which the boys kept chasing - they told us that they just wanted to pat the
sheep, but Tom was singing "Waltzing Matilda"!!) There were good signs, and Steven just loves this Roman history, and painted such a vivid picture for all of us.
By then, it was nearly 2pm, and not only was I hungry, but starting to worry if there would still be lunch options. We were in luck - at the bottom of the Pass, we arrived at the village of Boot, where a new pub had opened at Easter - the Woolpack Inn and Hardknott Brewery (lots of the little pubs advertise that they are also breweries - they must be microbreweries everywhere!) The Cumberland sausages were great (even if the aging hippy barman only brought us 4 meals instead of 5 - lucky the meals are so large that we just shared to feed all of us.
I drew the short straw and drove back over the Pass to Ambleside - the drive was MUCH more scenic without my white knuckles! I really appreciate my wonderful husband! Home to our lovely cottage, for a quiet evening, enjoying the beautiful cottage and some down time - the kids did mention that there were some sore legs!
Then, just as we were putting the kids to
sleep, another RAF jet screamed down the valley - nothing like our own private air show!
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