Lulled Into a Sense of False Security
Windermere Travel Blog› entry 1 of 9 › view all entries
I woke to a beautiful clear morning in Manchester, I had a quick shower and double checked my kit before I picked up my pack and headed for the bus stop into Manchester city centre. I was planning on having a full breakfast in the Weatherspoons located close to Piccadilly Station, and this set me up for a great start to my trip. It may not be the best cooked breakfast in the world, but it is great value, quite tasty and very satisfying. My train was on time departing just after noon, and with only one stop in Lancaster I was soon standing on the platform at Windermere station.
I made a short stop at tourist information, making use of the internet access there, which was about average, but that actually means expensive to me. I also purchased a British Mountaineering Council 1:40,000 map, which covered the vast majority of the National Park. All of my own maps of the United Kingdom are already in storage in preparation for my planned ‘Grand Tour’.
I had already decided that a bus to Ambleside was not an option and wanted a steady walk over relatively low hills as a bit of a warmer into the bank. I had not used this pack for some time, and to be honest it is not my favourite pack. The rucsac I had wanted to use had proven not to be large enough for this trip, so I needed to ‘make friends’ with my choice of luggage.
I settled on a footpath almost opposite the tourist information office which if I chose my route wisely would take me on a winding and undulating little trek into Ambleside with very little contact with the dreaded tarmac involved. I enjoyed a pleasnat, steady climb up to Orrest Head in fine sunny weather with a slight breeze; the view from the top was well worth the effort. There was a Chinese family at the top taking some photographs, I offered to take a photograph of them all together, and was left drooling after using their Nikon professional digital SLR, very, very sexy! I am beginning to sound a little like an anorak there aren't I?
I headed down to Crosses Farm, overwhelmed occasionally by the masses of bluebells that would suddenly appear right alongside the path. Passing quickly through Troutbeck Bridge I took the path past Middlerigg Tarn up to Robin Lane, by this time the weather had begun to change and the first drops of rain began to fall.
I stopped for the view at Jenkins Crag and continued on through Skelghyll Wood which eventually brought me to the outskirts of Ambleside. The Youth Hostel I was staying at was extremely easy to find, it was signposted almost as soon as I hit the main road. I was soon checked-in, which was pleasant and friendly and busily making my bed in the large room I had all to myself, as the receptionist had moved me from my booked occupied room............ what can I say, I must have a nice smile!
I had quite a struggle with the quilt cover, it took me several attempts to get the quilt in satisfactorily, and I am normally quietly proud of my quilt cover handling skills. These were learnt from an episode of Celebrity Big Brother some years ago. This had been quite fortunate as I never usually watch this programme, but despite my ‘lesson’ from Anthea Turner, my current attempt at this usually mundane domestic chore resembled a cross between crocodile wrestling and fighting my way out of an exceedingly strong paper bag. I did eventually succeed, but I was glad there was not anybody else around to witness my struggles, and there were repercussions as I would discover later.
I got a shower and dressed quickly, but could not find my watch; I looked everywhere, and could not understand where it could be. I decided it must have dropped off somewhere within the hostel, so I asked at reception and the bar if it had been found and handed in. It had not, and I was quite concerned as this is my favourite watch, which included an altimeter and barometer, the staff however, seemed even more concerned than I was. I returned to the room and took another look around but to no avail, so there was nothing else for it; I might as well head into town.
The hostel is close to the Lake, but a good ten minute walk from the town and it was beginning to drizzle now. I did toy with the idea of a meal at Zefferellis followed by a film, however I had enquired about the closing time of the bar in the hostel and as it closed quite early decided against this. I had a little wander around the town and opted for fish and chips, cheap and cheerful, and the chippy in Ambleside is quite good. I sat down to enjoy my fish supper wrapped in newspaper and drown out in salt and vinegar, just as it should be!
I then returned to the hostel, glad to be out of the rain. I purchased a glass of red wine and settled down to read a magazine I had bought earlier. I enjoyed a chat with the receptionist and the bar tender, both of which still seemed genuinely very concerned about my missing watch, which I found quite touching.
The bar closed a little while later, which although I was already aware of this, it still put a bit of a dampener on proceedings. I was not looking for a full session, however another wine or two would have been very tempting. I ordered another glass before the bar closed and once that was finished there was nothing more to do but head up to bed.