Saturday 12th April – Gowbarrow Fell Trail (5 miles)
The big test from yesterday’s ‘Shazza’s Expedition’ was whether I would be able to move, let alone get out of bed to put the kettle on for the morning cuppa’s ! I had a text from my daughter the previous evening simply asking “How is Cumbria“, and my response was equally as simple, “Knackering, I think Shazza is after the Life Insurance she keeps taking me on LONG walks” !! I am glad that when we made our wills last year that I told my Solicitor that should anything happen to me within the first twelve months, treat it with suspicion and involve the police, she thought I was joking !!
As it happens, it was Shazza that got up and made the morning cuppa’s, but only because I pretended to still be asleep, I really didn’t want to get up but when she brought the drinks through and I opened my eyes it was good to be able to know that my legs were actually still working, perhaps I was actually beginning to get fitter with all this exercise ?
It was another chilly one this morning and Shazza had remembered to turn the heating on before climbing back into bed. I think we both would have liked to have had a rest day today but I really wanted to go and re-visit ‘Aira Falls‘ to retake some photographs to replace the ones I stupidly deleted !! When I went to the shower block it was grey and misty, but dry. However, in the short time it had taken me to complete my morning ablutions the weather had deteriorated and the grey mist had teamed up with light rain ! Back at ‘Big Momma’ we decided that it would be pointless venturing out in this weather so unfortunately my blog of our day at ‘Aira Falls’ would sadly have to remain picture less. But just when you think you are going to get a ‘rest day’ things happen to thwart your plans, and on this occasion it was a case of the rain stopping, although the grey mist remained. Shazza’s plan for today’s expedition was to do a ‘circular’ walk which started near ‘Aira Falls‘ but involved taking a climb up to ‘Gowbarrow Fell’ (481 feet) and then back down the other side of the fell and around to rejoin part of the Aira Falls walk. The walk guide had stated that this would be a mere 4 miles !! At that stage I don’t think Shazza fully appreciated that whilst it was a shorter walk than yesterday’s expedition, this one involved a very steep climb over a much shorter distance !! Anyway this walk would enable me to re-take some photographs at the falls, but there would be one major difference, on our original walk the sun was shining and that made a very big difference to the effect, the sunlight through the forest, the light on the water etc.
I was still a little concerned about the weather, it was already poor visibility and although 481 feet may not sound a great height it could be a difficult walk in the wet conditions and visibility could be down to zero as we climbed towards the summit. Then those immortal Shazza words, ‘Don’t worry, we will be alright’, now I really did know that I was in trouble, but she hadn’t finished and she went on to tell me that ‘It’ had said it was going to clear up‘, “Who or what is ‘it’“, we had no WiFi so she couldn’t have checked the on-line weather forecast, we had no meaningful mobile phone signal so she couldn’t have used that and we hadn’t had the radio or TV on this morning so just where did ‘It‘ appear from. Oh well, I know better than to debate the point and there was no way that I was going to let her accuse me of ‘wimping’ out, so whilst she made the doorstep sandwiches from her home-made bread I made the flask of coffee and packed the rucksack with some additional essential items, ‘just in case’ you understand, things like an Ordnance Survey Map of the area, a compass and a fully charged mobile phone !!
By the time we reached our ‘start’ point at the ‘High Cascades‘ car park, the drizzle had started again but we could see sun shining on the hills high above us, so perhaps ‘it‘ had got it right. The first part of our walk took us down from the car park and onto the footpath that formed part of the ‘Aira Falls’ walk so I was able to take some photographs, but as quick as I was wiping the camera lens clear of the rain spots, they were back on again so I was not happy but hey I needed something !!
We were soon onto the route of the circular walk, out of the woodland which had protected us from the worst of the weather and up onto unsheltered open farmland that was very wet and boggy, however, visibility was still pretty good so we commenced the steep ascent towards our ultimate destination, a ‘Trig Point’ marking the top of Gowbarrow Fell, our calf muscles and knees were already feeling the strain and we had only just started, only another three hours walking until we would return to ‘Wuxly‘ once again.
It was a hard climb, here there were no flat bits or descents to give our legs a rest, it was uphill all the way and no nicely paved paths to follow just boggy mud and slippery grass, where there was some solid ground it was loose shale and we had to be careful with every footstep, all it would take would be one slip and a twisted ankle and life would become very uncomfortable ! I am sure we have all been there many times, you get to the top of the hill only to find another and another. This was turning out to be a much more demanding walk than the one around the lake !!
The weather had not improved and it was rapidly deteriorating, the mist was already closing in, the wind on this high exposed ground had a crisp bite to it so we had to make a final push for the summit then start our descent.
We had thought that our route down would be straightforward but it was not to be, we thought that it would be downhill all the way but it was not to be !!
We were feeling pretty windswept, the damp mist and drizzle were now beginning to seep through our ‘rain jackets’ and our energy levels were sapping. On hindsight we should perhaps have not attempted this demanding and strenuous walk straight after the long walk the previous day, but we had so now it was down to sheer rugged determination.
And so once we had reached the bottom we ate our lunch and drank our coffee, but we had not quite finished, we needed to climb back up the ‘Aira Falls’ footpath to get back to ‘Wuxly’ at the ‘High Cascades’ car park !!
We have never felt so pleased to get back to ‘Big Momma’ but I did have an unanswered question ? Remember ‘It‘ as in “It said it was going to clear up” as in the weather !! I think that ‘It‘ and the weather forecasters are related !!
once we had got out of our wet clothes and ditched our muddy boots we went and warmed up in a piping hot shower then returned to a nice warm ‘Big Momma’. I collapsed on the leather settee with my camera and downloaded all my photographs to my iPad. And Shazza, well she relaxed by making a ‘Pecan Fudge Cake‘ and then cooked us both a Steak dinner, what a star she is !!
It was moving on day tomorrow, that meant a well-earned ‘rest day’, tomorrow we cross the border and enter Scotland !!