Very grand indeed! Wordsworth's old house from childhood i think it was. Now a grand hotel inside. (09)
Wordsworth Day (aka. Pain Day)
We walked today, all in all about 6 miles it said on the leaflet...but if you include getting lost several times i'd say more like 12!!! From the waist down every inch of me aches. My right knee is on fire from where i fell in the dark but we'll get to that later. My feet are throbbing at twice their pulse rate but it was all worth it.
I learned alot about William Wordsworth, his work, affairs and family. We visited three of his homes, 2 of which are now hotels and the third a historical preservation of his existence in which no photos were permitted. We also visited one of his gardens which had been preserved and was very beautiful even in the cold and snow, very suiting for a poet indeed!
We walked from Ambleside along the "Coffin Trail", which in olden times they used to carry coffins by hand from Ambleside to another town miles away which had the nearest church and my goodness it was a tough enough treck coffin free! It led right through Rydal and up to Grasmere where i got mum some gingerbread and we got lost.
Me being a lady on wordsworth's wall ^_^ oblivious to the terror awaiting me (09)
Having seen all the sights by now it was steadily nearing evening and darkening quickly. Along our torch lit journey after getting lost and going round in a complete HUGE circle on ourselves we got directions at a hotel after much persuasion from me as the boys of the group were insistant they knew which way to go...low and behold after asking, they hadn't known at all! haha. The hotel sent us up and down a windy road which after enough time for it to get completely dark, and i mean pitch there were no streetlights or houses nearby for dim lighting or anything, led to a footpath down by the lake on a stoney shore.
This part of the walk was quite plesant when our eyes adjusted to the glow and reflection from the lake. That was soon lost however and we were thrust into complete darkness along a narrow icy lane (it had snowed heavily today) which had obstacles of many to try and trip you up, sending you plunging into the river at the left of us.
Parts of his very well kept garden looking very trim and proper (09)
We survived however and came to moss woods, even darker still with only a small torch between all of us and the sound of the river to guide us. It was freighteningly fun and reminded me of so many scary movies, i could lie and say i wasn't even a little bit scared but i was a tiny bit, all i hoped to see in the trees was deer and rabbit but they must've been scared off by the tiny torchlight as i saw neither. Tree roots covered in snow, ice or water lurched from the pebbly path and tried to make us stumble almost casting us into the roaring river. It was hard to keep to the path because of all the ice and tree roots disguising it and making it really difficult to follow. It seemed like we'd been walkign for hours already and we kept having to go back to find the path.
Wordsworth's very grand fountain. 09)
By this point i was sure Wordsworth was evil, they had said he was grumpy in nature so in spirit he may still be grumpy and had created some evil binding curse on all who visited his home and disturbed him that they may never leave and if they did then never in one piece!
My theory on Wordsworths evil ghost became ever more plausible when once again in the woods we got lost, with no path. Luckily we had no so long ago passed a bridge and the distant sound of cars came to my attention. After navigating the ice covered bridge and only falling in the river twice, getting soaked in icy cold water and twisting both ankles and one knee we made it to the other side, half of us rather soggy but thankfully to the bitter cold, numb to any pain.
More wordsworth walking along the 'coffin trail' as it begins to snow, seemingly innocent with daylight.(09)
We found our way to the road cleverly and followed it for some time, the occassional passing car lit more path and aided us just as the occassional approaching one blinded us. We passed a couple of sleeping houses and a calming hotel before coming to a familiar gate, one which we had passed through that morning on our coffin route, the gate had led to a field and a river where at one end there was a crossing made of large circular stepping stones that would now be icy and wet in the dark...which may have seemed like a ridiculous idea. But not when it's dark, wet, snowing, you're cold, acheing and tired and you don't know where the road leads. But you DO know that field leads back to the hostel...so we entered the field.
The field was soaking, long grass quickly wetted the rest of my jeans that the river had missed and froze my legs and bum to the core, after heading towards the river we stumbled through rocks, grass, molehills, branches, twigs, bushes and long grass to find a gap in the fence and the stepping stones.
In hindsight this is the way we should have returned from the Wordsworth walk...i may have arrived much drier this way!(09)
..but they weren't there...we were lost...again! So we acheingly made our way back uphill in the field and searched around for a while, eventually we found an open gate...but one we hadn't before encountered so kept it in mind and tried to find another way around this new found field next to us...to no avail. So we returned, stumbling and soaked, with numb legs and feet slamming into the soggy, icy ground beneath us, feeling every step as an effort by this point to the open gate and into the next molehill filled field in the dark trying not to fall over each one. We walked painfully to the bottom of the field and to our amazement and confusion, there were the stones to cross the river just to the right of us, leading to the first field...and a gap in the wire fence! Rather than re-navigate and potentially lose the supposed disappearing crossing we climbed over the barbwire fence on our side and shimmied to the crossing on the bank of the river.
Frozen lake where Wordsworth used to iceskate as a boy according to the little sign...it too was not frozen enough to stand on for longer than about 5 seconds lol (09)
As i crossed the river on the icy stones my suggestion of the ghost of William Wordsworth re-entered my mind, was Wordsworth a part of it? Either way it was ok now, we were homeward bound (well, hostel-ward), another hour of stumbling and slipping up and down the never ending road and finally, as it felt like my mind was having to physically lift every morsel of strength and energy it had left just to keep my knees bending, legs lifting and feet pushing me in the right direction we reached the church, the glorious and large warming glowing church where the whole journey had begun this very morning. Just a 15 minute up-hill struggle later which felt like physical torture to my frozen, twisted, bruised and no doubt by now swollen legs and bodyand we were back warm, dry, light and able to sit and shower and eat.
Leaving Grasmere at darkfall after a point in the right direction!...it took us 4 hours to find our way back, should have taken 1 i think.(09)
it really makes you appreciate those things, all in all i had a very good adventure but i'm glad to be laid down upon my bed! (Even if i did choose top bunk...why oh why?!) As for Wordsworths part in the time it took to get back...and the fact we got lost in unlikely places and the vanishing stepping stones...well, i'll never know for sure.