Walking in England - Keswick, Wednesday 1999 August 18

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August 18th 1999
Published: September 29th 2021
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Free day today. Many of us, including me, needed it, but some people planned extra hikes. I went to Keswick in a Range Rover driven by a professional chauffeur, Tom. He and his brother, John, are Londoners here for a holiday. John is a lift attendant at the House of Commons, although he once was a gas fitter. They are both over six feet tall, and are kind, earnest people. We met at the evening entertainment last evening, and they almost insisted on including me on their drive to Keswick, the nearest big town.

There were lots of “hiking gear” shops in Keswick check out. I wanted some gaiters (£6.99 for nylon), which in another era would have been called spats, although these are much less elegant. They get attached to your boot lace and cover to just under the knee, to keep your pants from getting muddy. Both last year and this year, I have been washing the bottoms of my pant legs each afternoon.

In the same shop I saw a very nice jacket on sale for £35. It’s supposed to be water-proof up to 5000 mm., whatever that means, and breathable. My own jacket is only water-resistant, and the water-proofing spray I put on at home doesn’t seem to help much, plus it may be causing the perspiration to build up. (The first day I put my video camera inside my coat to get it out of a sudden shower and the lens fogged!) Also, the new jacket looks good, and I had wanted to replace my old jacket at home. To shorten the story, at the end of the afternoon (of rain), I went back and bought it - the last blue one left! (Orange and yellow were unacceptable options.)

I also saw some sweaters in The Edinburgh Woolen Shop , and I bought two for Mom of a kind she likes (thin, smooth wool) and a cotton pullover for me. I wore the sweater and the coat for the rest of the day.

In between shopping and buying, the weather forecast came true. I strolled gently along a park and admired the lake – Derwent Water. Right there was the lake boat and ticket booth. Lots of people had recommended the round-the-lake ride. As I bought the ticket, what had been intermittent sprinkles turned into a light shower. Fortunately, there were a few seats inside, and I persuaded myself to be sensible. As the boat departed, the shower turned to steady rain and worsened during the cruise.

Almost immediately after I got on, two people by a window seat went outside, so I changed seats and peered through the rainy window – a natural “special effect”. Of course, the rain worsened and more rain-soaked people squeezed inside. As the clouds lowered, the scenery became steadily more obscured by condensation on the windows. Still, you could see other people out walking, sailing, and rowing (!) with no apparent concern. If it rains every day, you must get used to being wet. (One sailor was being towed in by the safety boat – he looked as if he felt ignominious.)

Lunch was a roast beef sandwich (very good beef) in a hotel pub, with a good Cumberland ale. I did have a packed lunch but needed and preferred to “rent” a dry, warm, spot. The afternoon went by in the various efforts noted, and in my trying to discover which bus to take to Grasmere, requiring walking several blocks back and forth to find the bus information (auto info kiosk not working) and then to the tourist information. The lull in the rain ceased while I was on the bus.

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29th September 2021

We've run into some of the "More hikes please, sir" crowd. I respect their stamina but can't match it. And a figurative change of pace isn't a bad thing, either. I followed the Keswick link and it looks stunning, especially photographed at a distance with the mountains as backdrop. I, too, wondered what the "rain-proof" measure could mean, but Google rushed to the rescue with a page titled: "How Waterproof is my Coat: What Does 5000mm Mean?" What a strange but wonderful world, eh?
3rd October 2021

The Keswick site is lovely to look at, particularly since the photos were taken in the sun rather than fog. I quite enjoyed the day.

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