I had a surprisingly quiet night in the YHA, with one other person there and thankfully he was not a snorer I had a good nights sleep, with morning dawning I had a little lay in and planned to set off around 7 am with only 18 miles planed for today I was afforded a little extra time.
I packed as quietly as I could, headed down into the bowls of the drying room, a warm and musty smelling caves below the YHA, collected my semi dry clothing and set off into the dry and sunny morning. I knew from the Met office that the sun was not to last and with a forecast for high winds and rain on the lower levels, gaining any significant height was not a wise idea today.
I set forth from the YHA and just a few minutes down the road I cut up along a nice and simple path towards High Barn and was treated to a wonderful sun rise across the valley and off into the wilds of Claife Heights, a few sheep kept me company along the gentle stroll up the mild hill and wet fields, I crossed a minor road and into the wooded confines of Hawkshead Moor, the forest offered a wonderful break from the past terrain and I always enjoy wandering and running in vast forests.
Before long I was cutting across the forest on various tracks and met with a fantastic view of the Old Man of Coniston topped with a moody and dark mist, the outlying fells did not look anymore promising, I made may way into Coniston along the shore line of the large and magnificent lake and was soon entering the little town, with a cafe found breakfast was on my mind, I ordered pancakes and bacon and a brew to wash it down and sat down to recheck the weather, as I did the rain came and then went, came and then began to shine in sun, I was starting to get the feeling that the weather was purposely testing my resolve now.
I changed into my waterproofs, fully aware that the weather was going to be closing in and set off in the direction of the looming mountain, passing a familiar spot, I remember the last time I was here, with Kerry her fist mountain walked, by the time we were finished neither of us could walk properly. The walk up and onto Walna Scar Road was slow and as steep as I could remember from the past, a few walkers appeared in front of me wandering off and into the depths of the moody mountain, the wind began to pick up and I was glad that I was wearing the extra layers.
Walna Scar Road belongs to a geologically distinct stripped slate, used through the North West as flooring, today it provides a surface for walkers easing their way along the lofty hills, I passed 2 walkers and said hello and off I trotted sticks in hand to provide extra purchase and support. At Torver Bridge I stopped and took in some water and small bite to eat, I loved sitting by the raging water, just stopping and listening to the sound roar past.
At the meeting of Walna Scar and Brown Pike I was greeted with an amazing view of my next route along Ulpha Fell, the route cut steeply down a rocky path towards Long House, to the right of me the path ran alongside a raging and beautiful watercourse before it disappeared under a bridge, I couldn’t help but take a moment to refill my bottle.
The road was an easier option here and so I followed its quiet little lane around the valley for around half a mile and cut off down towards Fickle Crag, now I have to remind you that for 2 days now I have suffered the rain, this means that all the waterfalls and rivers are currently in full flight and while looking magnificent, I hadn’t really planned for the next part.
On the OS map it had shown stepping stones across what appeared to be a narrow stream, in true parkrun style, this was now a raging river, the stepping stones were now more and hidden under the cold and deep water, a singular wire rope spanned the 20 ft wide river. In my mind I just thought ‘fuck it’, there was no umming or no thinking this mite be bad mike, I just went for it. I grabbed hold of the wire for dear life and began the tenuous task of fording the waterway, first ankle deep, then shin deep and knee deep, Cold and now wet I plunged forward the water at one point began to gently and worryingly touch my arse. I managed to jump onto the stones that I could see and safety made it to the other side, stood on the opposite bank I couldn’t help but laugh at what I had just done.
A few pictures of my hardcore adventure moment and I was surprisingly dry apart from my feet, the waterproofs did an amazing job, it seemed that once I had passed the river the weather had decided that I could cope with more rain and wet and so from the heavens came the clag and constant drizzle. The path wound it’s way through an ancient and green woodland, native species were very much the stars here and even with the rain it was a wonderful place to be walking. A small farm appeared soon after the end of the woodland and another, thankfully, shallower ford was crossed before setting off over the open expanse of the fells.
The paths across the fells were nothing more than water with a little bit of mud underneath, each step held my foot fast and attempted to relive me of my footwear, there was nothing for it but to carry on, the path joined another towards Kepple Crag where I met a couple wandering the more sedate forest tracks, we made conversation for a little time before I set off at a run across the paths which resembled nothing more than streams, the path merged into open fells with Hart Fell to my right, I negotiated the rocks and bogs. But it was not to be that simple, putting my foot down I fell into a bog around knee deep let out a rather loud exclamation and carried on, the next few miles were a mixture of what appear to be hard paths but in reality were a clever disguise and again on my arse I went as my feet vanished into the mud below.
Quickly down the path and onto Whahouse Bridge where many day trippers took the chance to capture a selfie for insta and facebook promoting how adventurous they were, I did feel a little put off by them I’ll be honest but never the less I ignored them for the most part and carried on my merry way. The YHA was a little distance along a narrow and winding road and with it being only 2pm I had amde good time over the 13miles today.
A fellow traveller made me a brew as I hung my wet clothing in the interestingly smelling drying room, now if you have ever had the pleasure of a communal drying room, you know what I mean, its an experience that any backpacker will be familiar with. Thankfully I was granted an early check in and made good use of the shower before a quick nap.
I woke and headed down for some lunch of pasta and a brew, a quick natter before I took to my bed for another nap and was informed that there was no power in the valley, around 500 homes were now without power, I wasn’t to concerned as my bed was comfy and sleep was easy.
Around 7 pm the power came back on and I joined other travellers for tea and we swapped storied of our journey’s before we departed for our rooms,. My last day awaited me, more rain was forecast for the day but with only 12 miles left I could have breakfast here and set off a little later.