Thu 12 Sep - Keswick / Lake District, England

Silver service hiking around a lake in the Lake District...

We were pleased to read that the weather forecast for today was predicted still, mild conditions and no rain until about 3pm. Perfect to hike if we started early, which of course was no problem.

After breakfast in our room, we were "booted up" and ready to go just after 8am, to do the Dewentwater loop trail, which started nearby so no car required (very nice). We were not exactly sure how long it was as we didn't have a map for the western shoreline, but guesstimated 10-12 miles. Good guess - once finished door to door it was just under 18km or just over 11 miles.

We took 6 hours (a slow pace) to enjoy the views and facilities available along the way - more on facilities later.

First the views... Stunning morning looking east over Derwentwater at the south end. We almost had the western trail to ourselves as it was early, except for ducks, sheep and cows. Our favourite way to walk.

The path was very easy, almost all flat and well marked by gravel and/or signs. Di still felt the need to try out her new hiking pole before we put more pressure on it (and her) in tomorrow's planned hike.

The forest and moss were soo green...

Occasionally the path dodges around farms and you were basically walking on the dry edge of the lake. As a result you pass through a lot of farm gates. We saw many many different ways to keep a gate closed to sheep - everything from a kissing gate (a gap where the gate swings around on either side of you), a piece of string, a fancy handle that gently pulls a lever and your basic gate latch which sticks sometimes.

We noticed at several locations that docks were in place where you could "flag down a launch". The launch service sounded more like "phone for a water taxi" so they must then tell you to wait at the pier.

The sign here was very very explicit - be at the end of the pier to flag down the launch, be off the pier if you are not catching it.

This section of the trail went through a National Trust woodland that has been in place since 1902. These big hands don't belong to Hans, but are a tribute to the National Trust's 100th anniversary.

We gave it the thumbs up...

The regional council had established a "Cumbria Way" which is a combination of public footpaths and permissive paths all over the area. Sign posts are clear, for now, but you can see that the words are soon covered over by moss growing on the timber. Maybe signs in metal would have been better but they are probably done this way for historical reasons.

Through another gate and into a marshy paddock full of these birds...hundreds of them.

We think they were a type of grouse but despite a later check on Wikipedia we could not be certain (could Di's mum or step-father help?) We were later informed that they are Asian Phesants Phasianus Colchicus introduced to Europe for hunting (thanks Mum and Alan).

Now we mentioned silver service hiking and lots of facilities - and it was true. Never before have we hiked literally from tea room to tea room, getting silver tea pots and a nice break in the bargain. We had snacked on some of our own food (fruit and cookies) but morning tea just beckoned after a few hours of hiking - very civilized.

The Chalet Tearoom had a nice sign outside which said hikers with muddy boots and cyclists were welcome there. Fine by us.

After tea and use of facilities, we soon found ourselves at the north end of Derwentwater. This area was far busier on the paths as people walk between Keswick and nearby hamlets. It was also much later in the morning.

The trail was varied, which made it interesting and here included a suspension footbridge to cross one stream.

The path goes into Keswick just for a short little while and almost past the front door of the Chinese restaurant and the Co-Op supermarket where we had dinner and where we bought our supplies the other day.

Keswick's Main Street in the photo below. The Chinese restaurant is where the couple are walking on the left.

We headed towards the Derwentwater Lake again and crossed Crow Park which was strangely filled with sheep instead of crows.

This self portrait looks south along Derwentwater.

There was quite a crowd near this section of shore and the reason became obvious - the small island opposite is owned by National Trust and today was one of 2 Open Days they have for this place each summer season.

The crowds here were strolling, lunching or waiting for a boat for the island or a cruise on the lake. Very busy but good to see them out walking. No car in sight. Very British.

For those who felt more energetic you could go by canoe to the island, but they kept you safe by rafting the canoe to a guide's canoe. Sounds too easy!

The busy path ended at Friars Crag with lovely views down the lake. For most people this is the return point and as we walked further on to the Lakeshore Path, the crowds diminished significantly.

We ate our lunch a few minutes further down the path where there were not that many people. Like the gentleman in red in the pic below, we found a log, sat down and ate our John West tuna pasta salad.

Now we are on the homestretch heading south on the eastern shore. A couple of more kilometers to go.

Back on the path again. Not sure why everyone was looking right. Di could not recall... Nessie...? Nah, wrong loch.

About 2 miles from home the path crossed the road and we walked through the Great Woods for a short while. Di stopped to admire the moss regularly as it was almost like being in a rain forest.

Suddenly, there was a sign advertising tea and coffee again, just across the road at a resort called Mary Mount, and again welcoming walkers with muddy boots. Yes, they do use the word "muddy".

Well it just had to be done - afternoon tea beckoned and this time coffee was served in a silver pot. Very civilized. Again!

Almost finished. This is our local hamlet "High Ladore" which is the name of the farm to the left. The large building in the distance is the Borrowdale Hotel and our guest house is on a small rise just beyond it which you can't see from this angle.

We were back at the guest house at 2pm after being out for 6 hours. The rain had held off, the sun shone, boots were all good, hiking pole was trialled, no injuries and 18km walked. All up a nearly perfect walk.

After cleanups and research for a potential walk for tomorrow (weather permits), we drove into Keswick for an early dinner at that Chinese restaurant again. Having walked past it earlier today, Di was very keen on Chinese food again (and it was really good too). Hans ageed.

Early back at Greenbank Guest House for the night at 6.30pm for a quiet night. And by now, the daily drizzle had started. Good night.


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