Day 2 Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite

“Whistling in the Wind”!

As with yesterday’s tale, I’ll tell the story of today’s odd title later! Here are the Day 02 stats:

Left Ennerdale Bridge: 09:10 Arrived Rosthwaite: 16:10
Distance (kms): 25.20 Distance (mls): 15.75
Moving Time: 6:15 Minimum Altitude (m): 91.5
Stopped Time: 0:45 Maximum Altitude (m): 602.4
Moving Average (kph): 4.0 Total Ascent (m): 633.5
Overall Average (kph): 3.5 Total Descent (m): 642.2

Day 2 GPX file: c2c02 (right mouse click and “Save link as…”) – includes the route I should have taken as well as the actual route! They’re not actually much different.

Just a Lonely Boy (sob)

Had a pretty decent breakfast with The Boss, Goughie and Julie at about 7:30 am and then bade them a fond au revoir as they headed south for the drive back to Bolton and the dreaded work for both of them. There’s a saying in the Lake District that if you can’t see the tops of the fells it’s raining and if you can see them then it’s going to rain. Well, this morning the tops were covered in a heavy grey mist and I had that feeling that it was going to be one of those awful days when the wet weather gear has to be repeatedly put on and taken off for the whole of the walk. And there’s very few things, when it comes to walking, that I hate more.

Anyway, after the obligatory starting photo outside the Shepherd’s Arms I left on my own (so, come on you clever people, who had the hit with the song “Just a Lonely Boy”?) without even any other C2Cers as company. The walk begins on roads and heads to Ennerdale Water. On the way to it I saw the Cockney Sparrows in the distance, heading down another road towards me, but I turned off before we met. The following day they told me that they hadn’t been able to find a campsite at Rosthwaite so had climbed over a gate into a Forestry Commission wood, found a clearing and camped there for the night. Just as they were getting ready to leave a Forestry Commission Land Rover approached so they made a quick exit the way they’d come in!

Martin Wainwright’s book “The Coast to Coast Walk”, which guided me a fair few times over the twelve days, says that the north shore of Ennerdale Water is very busy with day trippers during the summer months and advises C2Cers to use the southern shore path, which, at the time, seemed good advice to me. So I followed it.

I’m sure that Ennerdale Water is very beautiful in good weather but on a wet and miserable day such as this then all I can say is that it looks, well, wet and miserable. In fact that’s how it seemed at the time but as I sit here writing this a couple of weeks later, and looking at the photos, I can see that this lake (or is it a reservoir?) is very beautiful indeed.

So I took Martin Wainwright’s suggested south shore path. But I found it very stony, bumpy and in what had become “pissing down” rain, slippery too. In places the path had become a stream and the descent down Angler’s Crag (very steep, narrow and, in reality, a climb) scared the scheiße out of me (see, all those German lessons I had some years ago weren’t completely wasted!). Eventually the rather unpleasant path ended and after crossing the River Liza (who was Liza? And what’s more, who were Angie and Kirsty after whom a tarn and some pikes were named? – see Day 04) the path continued in a much more friendly manner, through a Forestry Commission coniferous plantation. Along the way I passed a few other C2Cers, all of whom had followed the north shore route around Ennerdale Water and were full of tales about how pleasant it had been, even in the rain (grrrr!)

After entering open country I came across the Black Sail YHA hostel, a wonderful little place, absolutely isolated. The rain had, sort of, stopped so I sat outside the hut and started eating my lunch. Just as I did so, of course, the rain began again. So, being a YHA member, I went inside the hut and there met four young guys, who must have been no more than 16 as they’d just finished their GCSEs. They’d stayed at Black Sail for two nights and were very enthusiastic about it. They were spending a week, after finishing their exams, walking in this part of the Lake District, and going from hostel to hostel, their next destination being Honister. Also, in the hut, I met a part C2Cer who was, like me, heading for Rosthwaite but was today taking the alternative high level route over Hay Stacks. I (mentally) immediately gave him the name Giant Haystacks, although, the next day he was to turn out to be my Guardian Angel! Well, with weather as it was there was no way I was going to climb any higher than needed so I continued along the low level path which, naturally enough, began to climb, but not before I had gone more than slightly off course into a very boggy area and almost into a stream, Liza herself, I believe.

Now began a good old climb alongside a very swollen stream (Loft Beck) in pouring rain and with wind blowing it into my face. After crossing Loft Beck I continued up a very steep path to where, in the now distant past, there’d been a tramway, I suppose to service the slate quarrying industry which is still active lower down at Honister Pass. At the top, near what’s called, I believe, Fleetwith, I could hear whistling and shouting and eventually came upon a shepherd using four dogs, commanding them with whistles and shouts, to round up a flock of sheep in the pouring rain combined with a howling gale. I was mesmerised and stopped for several minutes entranced by the sheer skill of what was taking place. I think this small tableau was the highlight of my day.

At the Honister Pass Slate Mine Experience (or whatever they call this enterprise cum tourist attraction) there were more people than I wanted to be near and I eschewed the warm and friendly looking café, instead sitting away from the madding crowd, on a rock near the mountain rescue donations box and eating my lunch in pleasant solitude. Now that the rain had stopped this seemed just the thing. As I sat, a helicopter came across from the direction in which I was walking, hovered over the fell, picked something up on a rope and headed back the way it had come. Just as I set off walking again, it did the same thing, even though the weather had become wet and blustery once more. In fact this continued all afternoon and, as I continued to Rosthwaite, it dawned on me that it was probably moving rocks to repair a footpath. And there was me originally thinking that something exciting was going on!

I passed by the Honister YHA hostel, the second of three that I was to see during the day, and continued downhill to Seatoller, along a bridleway and paths, taking one of my “imaginative” special routes to the back of houses at Rosthwaite. Just before there I passed the third YHA hostel and clambered precariously across a large boulder to which had been attached a chain to prevent walkers from falling into the River Derwent before crossing the river itself over a rather nice stone bridge – one of many on the C2C. I reached the day’s destination, the tiny village of Rosthwaite and crossed the B5289, to the starting point of tomorrow’s long walk to Patterdale, then tried to phone The Boss to come and pick me up. Because I’d booked accommodation late I hadn’t been able to find anywhere in Rosthwaite itself so we were staying a few miles away, close to Derwent Water. Whilst I waited for my beloved to arrive I walked around the village, resisted the temptation to go into the pub (we were to return there later) and contented myself with watching the helicopter dropping the loads it was picking up from Honister.

Eventually The Boss arrived and we headed for the night’s B&B, Greenbank Country House at Borrowdale. Greenbank is wonderful – it’s in an ideal location, away from the road, in beautiful gardens with spectacular views over the fells. We were welcomed by a young Thai lady who showed us to our room. But immediately The Boss noticed that instead of a double bed our room had two singles which had been joined together. Now one thing that The Boss really hates is hotels and B&Bs that are not up to her, slightly exacting, standards. So, she mentioned to the Thai lady that we had booked a room with a “proper” double bed and asked to change rooms. Eventually this was done and we hauled our bootful of luggage to the very nice first floor room. We went and sat in the garden where I busied myself cleaning and waxing my very wet boots and to where we were brought some very welcome tea by the aforementioned small person from SE Asia. All seemed well in our little world. Then the owner of the B&B arrived and proceeded to lambast us for daring to suggest that two single beds zipped together were not, in fact, a proper double bed. She made Basil Fawlty seem meek and mild! The Boss and I just gaped at each other in amazement as she stormed off.

One of the best things about Greenbank was that the bathroom had a heated towel rail. So I switched it on and balanced my very wet boots on it, as a result of which they were completely dry in the morning, which they were not to be so again until Muker! I followed my usual routine of downloading the GPS route I’d followed, uploading the one I should follow tomorrow, downloaded the day’s photos and then we headed for the bright lights of Rosthwaite for dinner.

We went to the Scafell Hotel’s Riverside Bar, which was pretty busy and staffed completely, as is often the case in the Lake District, with Southern Hemispherers. It was busy but not crowded, pretty good and the food and beer were just great. Perfect fuel for tomorrow, methinks!

Back at Greenbank I applied the ice pack to my left ankle, which was still swollen, but not especially painful, committed these inane jottings to my little notebook and fell into a wonderful deep sleep (slightly aided by the beer and the Night Nurse I’d taken for my cold!).

The following day, from Rosthwaite to Patterdale with over 1100 m of climbing, according to Martin Wainwright, was to be the longest and hardest day so far (and probably the hardest and longest of the whole C2C) so I fell asleep with a little trepidation in my mind.

AccommodationBeverages & Comestibles
Greenbank Country House
CA12 5UY
017687 77215
Pumpkin Soup
Game Casserole

(very good ~8/10)

Thirst Rescue Bitter - brewed to support the mountain rescue service
Scafell Blond
(both very nice)

Some Day 02 Photos