Friday, 15 October 2010

Escape to the Mountains, Part 2

So where were we?

In a hut, in the middle of nowhere, with wet boots, wet trousers, wet undies, a long walk ahead and only a stale teacake and a banana for breakfast.

Oh, and it was still raining.

The wind had died down, thank goodness, and the rain had become a continuous misty sheet of water. We set off at 6am and the sky was heavy and obstinate that it would remain that way. Though I had no will to walk anywhere (ever again), some sort of automatic plodding mechanism inside me kept me walking. Up and up and up, slipping and battling against the wet but with no need to think or feel; just plodding and plodding and plodding. My feet were saturated after about 20 minutes, but even that didn't matter. What kept me going was the promise of a warm bed and breakfast only 14 miles away; a B&B with its own brewery, an amazing menu, and a bath and bed with our deposit on it.

We crossed Scarth Gap Pass in a bleary obstinance, focussing on our pub destination with depressing directness. As we made the final descent of our three-day walk, the beautiful Buttermere came to view. Buttermere is one of the tourist hubs in Lakeland, mainly because the scenery is just stunning, even in grey mist. We stopped for a cereal bar and took in the view for the first time in over a day - quite a feat when you're in an area of outstanding natural beauty!

We opted for the road route as we simply couldn't be bothered with the inevitability of flooded mountain paths, and this lead us nicely into the village of Buttermere. We arrived at 9:45am, and headed straight to a local farm cafe for a hot drink. Still closed, we waved the attention of the owner through the window, giving her the thumbs up as she signalled that she'd be open in 10 minutes. The best hot chocolate of my life was consumed shortly afterwards.

After that there is not much to tell of the walk. The winds picked up and we were knocked about a few times, but the rain cleared and the views were incredible. The B&B is located in a relatively un-visited area of the Lakes, which happens also to be my favourite area. The mountains are less grand but the colours are captivating, changing with every passing cloud.

We arrived and were able to get to our room almost immediately. I took an indulgently hot bubble bath (my eco-ways seem to go out of the window as soon as I stay in any hotel or B&B) and I munched on stale bread and an apple before enjoying the free tea and biscuits. The views out of the window were perfect. Bliss.

After a delicious nap on the delicious bed, we headed down to the pub to begin some indulging of my favourite kind. Local beers were sampled (and I found my favourite beer ever so far - Loweswater Gold) and, a little tipsy, we tucked into a huge and proudly prepared meal, with three bowls of veggies between us because "we haven't had any vitamins for days, we need our vitamins", as I hurriedly explained to the waiter. We were too full for pudding, but we had it anyway - nectarine, raspberry and apple crumble with custard, followed by beers which knocked us slightly over the edge and heavily into our bed.

The next morning was dry, thank goodness, and I justified a really very greedy amount of breakfast (me + breakfast buffet = danger zone) with a plan to walk another few miles back to Buttermere, before finishing our trek with a ride over Honister Pass on the wobbly bus of terror - two near death experiences in three days; we were living on the edge!

Needless to say, it was a relief to arrive back in York, car stuffed full of porridge (we found a 5kg bag of oats in the local supermarket!!!) and local jam, chutney and ales. An eventful trip, a harrowing trip, with stories I never intended to be telling. Still, I'm glad I do have them to tell, in more ways than one - I've learned some important lessons about limits and nature and the purpose of waterproof map-holders, that's for sure.


  1. Just read both posts. I was terrified for you both reading them!
    o glad you enjoyed it ll (in the end) and got home safe and sound. And with a huge bag of oats! Bonus!
    Lisa x