Lakeland Break 28th June – 2nd July 2012

Silver How 28th June

Carol and I arrived in Chapel Stile in time for lunch. As we drove near Windermere a big storm had started up. We got unpacked without getting too wet and the storm only caught up as I walked back from parking the car. We are staying in the annexe to Inglewood House which is Jane and Malcolm’s holiday cottage that they let out. They have very kindly allowed us to come here to the annexe. It’s compact but has all mod cons. C has a ham and a cheese sandwich lunch and I have tuna salad that I picked up on the way in M&S at Lancaster services. I sit and continue with Wolf Hall on my iPhone while lightning and thunder perform a merry dance. The rain is bouncing up about 6″. About 3 it starts to brighten and the rain stops so we quickly get out.
Just along the road is a path up to Spedding Crag which rises steeply to a col. From there we bear to the left to avoid the bog but miss the good path which is indistinct at that point. We descend a little through tall bracken and cross the first of several raging torrents. We skirt round a plantation where several big trees have been uprooted. Looks like the ground has been loosened by the vast amounts of wet and then a big wind has toppled them.
At a wall corner we turn left up a good path towards the clouds. I am expecting Wainwright’s scramble but the path continues to the top of Silver How. C says she is pleased she’s done the summit. As we turn and descend the clouds head away and we get good views to Grasmere. We return via the good path that avoids big bog and bracken to the col. Then a fast descent, all done without the use of an anorak!
We’ve got Look What We Found chicken curry with rice, sugar snap peas and ciabatta for supper. I wasn’t quite sure what the cooking facilities would be so played easy. It’s a microwave with grill and oven and 2 separate and fast heating electric rings and all work efficiently. So well that I am now thinking about getting one myself. As well as varifocal contact lenses (these would be easier for seeing up mountains in the rain.)
Down to Chapel Stile
Big cloud on top of our heads


Townend and the Grasmere Hotel 29th June

We got into the Nat Trust’s Townend on a “bring a friend for free” offer (NT BOGOF!). It’s a 17th century farmhouse that stayed in the Browne family for yonks and then one of them went mad for wood carving in Victorian times. Beatrix Potter knew the family and was scathing about the carving. Nearly everything oak had been attacked so you can see her point. I liked the house and old barn opposite. Mr B had made up his own coat of arms and installed his own pew in the church but the other parishioners said “stuff that” and ripped it out and burnt it.
Picnic lunch in car. Pitta bread with salami, tomatoes and crisps for me, ham roll, crisps and tangerine for C.
We went to Grasmere and Ambleside shopping.
Dinner at the Grasmere Hotel run by poofs. 4 course dinner for 2 for £45. Pâté appetisers. C had duck and orange pate, then tarragon chicken then Grasmere gingerbread and meringue. I had sardines (3) because had only the other day said I’d never had one. The fish was nice but very fiddly to eat so won’t bother again but might try tinned to see if they don’t have bones. Then beef in beer with spuds and veg. Sorbet in between first and second courses. Then almond frangipani with almond and brandy ice cream. C made friends with everyone. So we heard all about the people who got soaked to their underwear. Coffee which came with mini choc coated Kendal mint cake. Finding it hard to move….
Down the street from our door
Townend, fab chimneys
Very old barn at Townend

Holme Fell 30th June

We parked in a NT car park at Tarn Hows on the road from Ambleside to Coniston. A short stretch along the busy main road to Yew Trees Farm which was used in the Renee Zellweger film about Beatrix Potter and although BP didn’t live in it, the farm was one that she bought and gave to the NT. The walk goes along a flat section above Yew Trees Tarn and then rises through Harry Guards Wood. The path follows the stream up to Uskdale Gap which is a col with views across to the Langdale pikes. We then climbed a bit more to the cairn which gave us views to Coniston Water. We descended to get out of the wind and nipped down to “Reservoirs (disused)” to sit on a rock for our picnic lunches. Mine was the same as yesterday’s and I think C’s was too. Some Belted Galloways were munching about 100m away which was fine but then they gathered on our path back. They belonged to Yew Trees Farm who sell the meat. The cows mostly moved away but as we set off about 5 of them were on the path and we had to walk between them. Ahead of us was a party of 5 people who watched our fearlessness in the midst of cattle!
We got down quite quickly meeting only a group of DoE silver medal candidates. I considered getting some beef but the logistics of keeping it cool, fresh etc. not so easy.
We popped into Coniston and popped out again so took a circuit drive round the lake going past Brantwood, John Ruskin’s house which looked interesting and now thinking about going there.
Home for lamb dinner whilst the locals bang away at the pre gala dance. Grilled lamb steaks from our farm shop with spuds and steamed broccoli and carrots.
Across to Pavey Ark and some Stickles
Reservoir (disused)
Coniston Water


Tarn Hows and Iron Keld 1st July

We survived the pre gala dance by playing Scrabble in the kitchen downstairs where mercifully the noise was less. I was beaten. But very tired so drank wine and whisky. Just after getting into bed it stopped promptly at midnight.
This was a day for trying to dodge the rain so we had a look in Rock Bottom in Grasmere whilst firming up our plans. Decided to park in same NT car park as yesterday (this weekend I’ve recouped nearly half my NT membership fee!). Just as we set off a man asked us to keep an eye out for his camera so we took his phone number and promised to do so but we didn’t find it. The footpath to Tarn Hows goes through woodland up the side of a stream that turns into a waterfall and then Tom Gill which is quite a high fast force. Tarn Hows itself is a man made lake with manicured paths but also ducks, geese and water lilies and islands.
Usual lunch on a wet bank looking at the rain on the lake.
Then we got away from the main drag and onto AW’s “rough old road” to the Iron Keld plantation. Here we headed north to Iron Keld. A keld is a source or spring. We then turned back and retraced our steps. We saw 2 stoats running along a wall for a good few metres.
Finished off the day at the Jumble Room in Grasmere. Great resto and recent diners have been Vint Cerf (our waiter said he was the head of Google, but as a founder of Arpanet he goes back before Google was even thought of and without which Google would not exist) and Sting! I had gnocchetti with cheese sauce and truffle for starter. Never had truffle before but am a convert – totally delicious. C and I both had lamb koftas served with couscous, cherry tomatoes, cucumber yoghurt sauce and rose petals (another first!) C had sticky toffee pud and I had pannacotta with strawberries and shortbread. All very delicious. If you go there, which we both heartily recommend, the upstairs is quieter.
Tom Gill
Many gloves for foxes
Near Iron Keld
Iron Keld plantation


The Monday was too wet for anything much so we drove around a bit, Brantwood looked too busy so we had our sandwiches in the car looking at some wet cows and then headed home.
We had a lovely few days eating our way round Grasmere. We had some good walks up the smaller fells and managed not to get badly wet. I now need to not eat for several weeks to get this belly down!
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.