When – 7 May 2013
Where – Grasmere to Patterdale
Distance – 8 miles
Walking with – Annette
Home for the night – Patterdale YHA
Weather – Hot and sunny all day. I’m not even lying.
Today I discovered that every man walking the Coast to Coast is called Steve. Ok, not EVERY man. But I swear, every second man is called Steve. Why is that? No Steve that I know has any inclination towards long distance walking. It’s a mystery. The Steves on the walk that I’ve met also enjoy a drink. That, at least, they have in common with their London cousins.
Here’s another weird thing about today. The weather was unbelievably gorgeous – 20c, sunny… I’ve got my first sign of a tan since last September. It was sunny from the start of the day to the very end. And the visibility was extraordinary. It was, in truth, a perfect walking day – and in perfect weather, in a perfect location. Although every single Brit we met today said ‘ooh yes, it’s lovely today but have you seen the forecast for tomorrow?’. I didn’t want to think about that. I’m on my holibobs. It’s all about today. And today was sublime. Think I’ve made my point, but just in case I haven’t check out the photos at the end!
So… started later today at a lazy 10am as we didn’t have that far to go. Left Grasmere behind via a pretty but easy climb up Tongue Gill, up past some waterfalls to Grisedale Hause. Had an early lunch in the sunshine by Grisdale Tarn and watched a helicopter pick up bags of boulders (praying they didn’t drop them on me!) and a few dots in the distance (AKA people) make their way up the climb to Helvellyn – yup, the hardcore were heading to Patterdale via Striding Edge. Luckily I have two great excuses for not going via that (frankly terrifying) ridgewalk myself: a) I’ve walked it before, my 16 year old self swearing at my teacher every single step of the way & b) the St Sunday Crag route that we took is actually on Wainwright’s Way, and is therefore dead authentic, or something. So up we went, and up – until we got to the 841m high point ‘The Cape’. It was a bit windy up there in places but it was largely quite still and the views looking over to Ulswater and across to Angle Tarn (part of tomorrow’s walk) were exceptionally good. It was a great afternoon for feeling smug, all in all…
Bits of the climb down were a tad steep, but the pints sitting in the sun at the Patterdale Hotel at the end made it all worthwhile. And by the end of day 4 we’ve made so many Coast to Coast walking friends (I am the youngest. I think Annette’s the second youngest…) that it was like walking into a really friendly local pub. All these new chums mean I’m drinking a lot more of the local ale than I’d been intending to though, but what the hell – don’t want to leave people with the impression that us London-types aren’t sociable!
Photos, in order are: waterfalls at top of Great Tongue, Helicopter picking up bag of rocks at Grisdale Tarn, views down to Glenridding and Ulswater from Harrison Crag on St Sunday route