We've just returned from Kendal in the Lake District. It wasn't a holiday — we were there to help Carmen's mum recover from surgery. But on Saturday I did manage a five-and-a-half hour walk in and around the Kentmere valley. It was windy and misty on the tops, but the valley itself was clear.
|Barn at Stile End.|
|The curiosity of sheep.|
|The cart track from Kentmere to Sadgill.|
Halfway along this track I branched left onto the fell, climbing steeply up to Wray Crag and Shipman Knotts (1926 ft). The path followed first a wall and then a fence. Which was lucky. Visibility was very poor, and a navigational error could have been serious. The wind roared at my back, but I was wearing my merino wool base layer, long-sleeved technical shirt, fleece, rainshell and waterproof gloves, so I kept quite warm and dry.
The whole area was turning into a huge peat bog, and I had to skirt countless boggy pools and sucking quagmires, often by clinging precariously to the wall or fence. After what seemed ages I reached the summit of Kentmere Pike (2397 ft), and after another age the cairn at the top of Harter Fell (2539 ft). Some patches of snow nestled in the hollows, and a much larger snowfield covered the fell's northern slopes above Mardale.
I ate my sandwiches with freezing fingers in the lee of the cairn. I didn't stay long. It was time to descend and find some better weather. Thankfully I quickly located west of the cairn the zig-zag path which led precipitously to Nan Bield Pass (I'd been worried about finding it in the mist). Three other walkers were taking refuge in the stone shelter there. But it was no place to linger. The wind screamed through the gap. I headed steeply back down into the Kentmere valley. Gradually the incline eased, the wind dropped and the mist cleared.
|Old quarry on the western slopes of Kentmere Pike.|
|Unmistakeable Lake District mountain scenery. It doesn't get much better than this.|
|A burst of sunlight lights up a sward of tussocky grass.|
|The Kentmere valley looking north.|
|The Kentmere valley looking south.|
|A simple bridge — both practical and beautiful.|
|The long and winding road: mossed stone walls line the way.|