Day 2 (12 miles)
The rain that started at tea time the previous day continued for another fifteen hours, not finally relenting until well after breakfast. During the night the rain was pretty heavy, with a strong wind. I was glad that I had picked a relatively sheltered spot. Some of the depressions in the wood were flooded, but I was on a slight rise in the ground, so I was untroubled. There was the odd drip on the inner tent, so I’ll need to do a bit more seam sealing!
Nethermostcove Beck was a white foaming ribbon on the hillside. I packed a little later than normal to give a chance for the rain to stop. Today was to be an experiment. Instead of my Goretex lined boots, I was using unlined trail shoes with neoprene socks. Although the path along the hillside was very wet, my feet became damp rather than wet and felt quite comfortable.
Grisedale and Place Fell
Although it wasn’t raining, the tops were under cloud and it was very humid with the threat that it might rain at any time. I retraced my steps of yesterday back through Patterdale making good time. I crossed over the valley to Side Farm and turned left towards Ullswater. There’s a camp site at Side Farm and I was interested to see whether it was worth considering for the future. The camping field is nicely situated at the head of Ullswater, but slopes quite a bit. It was comparatively empty, perhaps another victim of the poor summer weather.
The high path to Silver Crag
A little way beyond Side Farm, there’s a choice between a high and a low path to Silver Crag. As I had walked the low route before, I decided to try the higher route. While it’s a slightly shorter path, it’s nowhere near as good scenically as the lower path and the descent back to the lake shore path is a bit awkward. Once back on the main path, I met a few people. After about half a mile, it started to rain. Fortunately, I had taken my trusty brolly. It was a lot more comfortable sheltering under a brolly than wearing a full set of waterproofs.
Even in rain, the walk along Ullswater is absolutely delightful. Generally good under foot, it switchbacks through woods and ferns, with good views of the lake and beyond. Everywhere was a lush green, softened by the diffuse light from the glowering clouds. I was beginning to wonder if the weather would relent to allow me to eat lunch in comfort and whether there would be a suitable spot to sit. A little later than normal not far from Sandwick, next to a stream, an ideal spot presented itself and, conveniently, the rain stopped.
Suitably fortified, I filled a water bottle from the stream and walked down into Sandwick. Just past Sandwick, it started to rain more heavily. Up went the brolly. Instead of following the road, I took a short cut along a bridleway, which was shockingly overgrown in parts. Just before I reached Martindale, I decided to don my waterproofs. Naturally, within five minutes, it stopped raining! After a short road walk, it was time to start climbing up the side of the valley. As I gained height, I could see the red roofed shooting lodge near the head of the valley built for Kaiser Bill.
The weather was definitely deteriorating by this time. Somewhere along the path, my Paramo cap fell out of a pocket. Realising this, I left my pack and backtracked for a distance, but couldn’t find it. Regaining my pack I pushed on towards Gowk Hill. It started to rain in earnest, so waterproofs were donned again. The path over Gowk Hill and beyond was very wet and boggy and my feet became completely soaked.
The weather was now pretty unpleasant, strong wind, persistent rain and very humid. It was a long sweaty pull up to Wether Hill, which took longer than it should. I passed slightly to the north of Wether Hill and across the White Bog. Not surprisingly with the amount of rain, it was extremely wet and boggy. It reminded more of Dartmoor than the Lake District. It was a tough mile across peat hags and small stream valleys towards Low Kop. The driving rain made it quite miserable.
A murky view to Haweswater
Fortunately, the rain relented somewhat as I approached Low Kop. There’s supposed to be a path that descends to Measand Beck, but it wasn’t obvious, even using a GPS. Contouring down to Measand was a slow process as the slope is quite steep. I found a track though the bracken, which appeared to have been made by a horse, so I followed it down. I was glad to reach the valley floor and walked up the valley for around half a mile along a very sketchy and wet track to where I wanted to camp.
At last, I reached my destination. The rain held off as I pitched the tent and collected some water. As I made dinner, it resumed and the wind freshened. Fortunately, later in the evening the weather calmed somewhat, particularly the gusty wind.
Day 3 (5 miles)
While the night was comparatively dry, the morning resumed with light rain. I had decided the previous evening that I would walk back to the car and go home. The rain delayed my departure again, but the weather started to brighten as I walked back towards Haweswater.
Morning at Measand Beck
The waterfalls on Measand Beck above Haweswater are absolutely delightful. However, I only took a few pictures and didn’t dawdle too long. Progress was slow as care was needed to negotiate some slippery sections. By the time I reached the shore path, the weather had brightened a lot, but there were still dark clouds at the head of the valley.
One of the waterfalls, hidden in the trees
The walk to Mardale Head along the western side of Haweswater is very pleasant, even if in places the path could do with a bit of TLC. There were the occasional spots of of rain, but nothing serious. Before reaching The Rigg, I had a little scout around Speaking Crag and the shore to see whether there were any suitable places to camp, just for future reference.
Speaking Crag and The Rigg
As I approached The Rigg, the sun came out. I considered having a lazy afternoon and camping overnight, but I’d promised to get home, so I pushed on to the car park, reaching it just before midday. I was glad to be able to change out of my smelly clothes into some fresh ones for the drive home.