All The Comforts of Home
Lake District Travel Blog› entry 5 of 9 › view all entries
It was still raining in the morning, and as I was just intending to drop down to the valley I was not in any rush. I waited for a lull and took the time for a leisurely breakfast; it was raining again by the time I finished so I read awhile. It was mid-morning by the time it had eased enough to coax me out of the tent, by which time it was obvious my neighbours had already departed, far tougher than I. I struck camp as the day began to brighten up and made my way to the path which followed the gill down to the valley. I passed the hordes on their way up, many dressed in shorts and t-shirts as the sun had made a rare appearance. It is obviously extremely popular here, especially during the weekend.
There is a lot of conservation work going on in the park all the time, with volunteers and National Trust workers repairing paths on many of the more popular routes. It is impressive to see piles of huge bags of rocks strung along the paths, dropped off by helicopter until such time as the repair work can be carried out.
I stopped off at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel to ask about the campsite and decided a real fresh hot chocolate would be just about ideal right now. I then spotted the specials menu on a blackboard, BLT baguette with chips or a ‘healthy’ option, and decided this was too good to pass up, immediately ordering the healthy version which came with salad and coleslaw. I have to admit it was great to have some real cooked food again and ‘perked’ me up no end. The only problem was it had started to rain again whilst I had made my ‘comfort’ stop.
I began to make my way to the campsite when I had to take shelter from one of the heavier downpours. The pattern of the day had again been set, heavy showers followed by some sunny spells. The next break in the rain and I was able to get to the campsite, reporting to reception and paying for my overnight pitch. My fee was reduced because I had walked in, but as I mentioned in my review, I still believe it could have been discounted further. I had a quick look around the shop as I needed some more fuel for my stove, but was informed by the volunteer receptionist that they did not have any. A trip to Chapel Stile stores seemed on the cards the next day.
I pitched my tent so that it would dry out whilst the sun was shining and then went for a shower and changed into some dry clothes. It is amazing how small things can seem like luxuries and make you feel so much better. I also took the opportunity to wash a few items of clothing and put them into the drying room overnight.
In the evening I headed to the ‘Hikers Bar’ at The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, a bit basic but a great place for a pint and a bite to eat, I was extremely pleased to discover they were still serving Sunday Roast Dinner. There may not have been any roaring fire tonight but it was still very welcome all the same and certainly made my day. I wiled away a few hours here in perfect bliss.
I had arranged with a friend that I would only switch my mobile on daily for any hour to conserve the battery and would also send her a text message with my proposed route each day. There is not unfortunately (or fortunately)any mobile network reception here so I had to make use of the public telephone at the campsite before I retired to ensure that she did not call out the Mountain Rescue Service to look for me!
I then took the long route and more scenic back to the campsite to brush my teeth and struggle into my little tent, a little reading and then see if the campsite ground is any more comfortable than what I had experienced in the hills; it was not.
It had rained pretty much
continuously all night again, but by the morning the sun was out and I was able
to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and shower before heading off taking a footpath
that followed the river to Chapel Stile. I was a little alarmed that the
village stores did not sell Coleman fuel either, as although I had a little
left; I needed some now to ensure I did not have to visit another village for a
few more days after today.
There was nothing else
for it, the weather was still holding out, so I needed to walk into Ambleside!
I was able to join the Cumbria Way and follow it almost all the way to the
The weather had again decided that I needed a little more watering, and the heavens opened for the umpteenth time, with a heavy summer downpour. I found a fairly contemporary looking coffee house serving good coffee and settled down with a newspaper for awhile until it abated. There was also wireless internet access, but of course I did not have my lappy, and decided not to bother with either of the two terminals there as I was convinced they would be fairly expensive. There were several other people in there including a couple, the woman was reading “The Rough Guide to the Lake District”
“The Lake District gets most of its rain in the Summer” she suddenly piped up
I contemplated this statement for a few moments, checking the date on my watch, and looking out of the window. I reckoned we were still in late Spring, either the weather had got the seasons confused or I do not recommend being here in the Summer!
As soon there was a break in the weather I rushed off to The Sportsman’s Inn for a pint of Guinness and watched a bit of footie. The game involved a team that was in danger of relegation to The Championship and there were two couples also watching with interest. One of the guys had more interest than the others and it became clear he was a supporter of the team in danger of ‘the drop’. I will not divulge which team, as by the end of the game they were going to be playing Championship football next season, much to his disgust.
“If it’s any consolation, at least you’ll have the pleasure of playing us again next season!” I bantered“Oh, and who’s that then” both he and his mate chorused“Blackpool!”
They both smiled and they
all collected their things and headed out of the door, through which I soon
followed. I had decided to catch the bus back to the campsite as I wanted
to get break camp and head back up into the hills maybe camping at Blea Tarn or
even better Red Tarn over the far side of Pike of Blisco. The fare was
not particularly expensive but I did feel that if it was even cheaper, then maybe
more people would be prepared to make use of it and reduce the number of cars
entering the Park.
On arrival back at the campsite it soon became clear that my plan for an escape was not looking very promising. It was yet again raining quite heavily, and although there were sporadic periods of lighter rain in which I debated packing up quickly I soon realised that as the hill tops were all covered in clag, and that the conditions would be much worse up there. I watched the conditions carefully in case there was any change and watched the comings and goings of the site in the 'monsoon' rain, campers consoling each other and attempting to remain optimistic about the weather improving. There was a little group of about six young lads who arrived in the middle of the worst of the downpour and had to pitch their tents, I applauded their comradeship. At one point one of their party had a tent which pitched inner first, and whilst he struggled to achieve this the rest held his flysheet over him to provide some shelter, at the same time getting thoroughly soaked through themselves! I however I was well fed, well watered and relatively dry so I might as well make the best of it and enjoy the facilities of the campsite for another night.