What a week we had!

Borrowdale September 2021

In spite of a year’s delay, hold-ups on the M6 and an initial forecast of inclement weather, our week in Borrowdale couldn’t have turned out better. The weather was glorious all week and Peter’s choice of The Borrowdale Hotel was inspired and was the perfect base for our fell-walking holiday.

A few statistics that will set the scene for our adventures:
Total miles walked: 110
Longest walk: 13 miles

Total peaks reached: 14
Highest peak: 3,209 ft
Total courses for evening meals: 680 (!)
Total bar drinks: Refuse to divulge

Day 1:
The whole party set off to walk round Derwentwater with glorious views in all directions. We stopped off for drinks and snacks at Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden where we read about its connection with Beatrix Potter. Our route was shared by runners taking part in the Keswick Mountain Festival and we all decided that our pace suited us quite well. We had picnic lunch by the lake, before setting off again via Friar’s Crag and the Hundred Year Stone, both photo opportunities. Four of the group stayed to explore Keswick, whilst the rest headed uphill, climbing away from the lake, to reach Ashness Bridge and ‘Surprise View’ which lived up to its name. A steep descent brought us back to the hotel0 in time for cups of tea and a welcome shower before meeting for our evening meal.

Day 2:
We set off again directly from the hotel to walk through Grange before following a rocky path, climbing gradually towards Castle Crag. Here the party split with some walking steadily on towards Seatoller whilst the rest braved the steep and rocky path to the summit of the crag. Reunited, we retired to the gardens of The Flock-In Tearoom in Rosthwaite where we sampled their speciality lamb burgers, Bakewell traybake, chocolate cake and other delights. We returned to the hotel alongside the River Derwent, with a slight diversion to visit Millican’s Cave, for many years the home of a local hermit.

Day 3:
We again headed for Grange, this time taking an indistinct path through the ferns to arrive at the Bowder Stone, a large andesite lava boulder, once thought to be an erratic but now confirmed to have fallen 200 metres from the Bowder Crag on Kings How. A short climb took us over a pass, followed by an easy descent to Watendlath Tarn and yet another welcoming tearoom. A chance conversation with an angler resulted in a diversion from our planned route towards the top of High Tove for a lunchtime stop and magnificent views. We decided that the angler had told another ‘fisherman’s tale’ as his claim to be able to see the Isle of Man was unfounded. Having returned to Watendlath, we continued our original route, following a delightful beck. To avoid Monday’s steep descent to the hotel, we carried on over Ashness Bridge to the shores of Derwentwater which we followed back towards the hotel.

Day 4:
On another gloriously sunny morning, we parked our cars at Seathwaite and headed up the steepening valley along the side of Styhead Gill to reach Styhead Tarn. Here, four hardier members of the party (Tony, Richard, Carl and Geoff T) diverted to climb Scafell Pike, whilst the rest continued up to Sprinkling Tarn for lunch. Dark clouds began to gather over the higher fells but cleared away just as quickly. All day the views had been magnificent and we couldn’t have wished for a better day on the high fells. Reluctant for the day to end, we eventually turned to descend alongside Grains Gill to arrive back at Seathwaite.

Day 5:
Cat Bells was the destination of the main party, whilst five members (Tony, Carl, Glyn, Geoff T and Alan) departed by car to tackle the Newlands Horseshoe. The views from the top of Cat Bells were stunning, and certainly worth the steep and rocky descent to follow. We rewarded ourselves with an extended picnic lunch in the sunshine, still enjoying the views across the lake and towards the Newlands Valley where our afternoon route beckoned. We came upon an unexpected tearoom in Little Town which was an added bonus. With teas, coffees, ice creams and more under our belts, we headed off around the valley and then up the fairly steep Hause Gate, sharing part of the route with a group of llamas. To our surprise we met Alan and Carl walking in the opposite direction en route to pick up their cars, with the rest of the Newlands Horseshoe party having opted to return to the hotel by the direct route.

Day 6:
On our final day on the fells, we drove over the Honister Pass to Buttermere, all setting out together to walk along the western side of the lake. At the head of the lake, the party split with the main group continuing round the lake and on to Crummock Water, whilst seven tackled the original programmed route to Haystacks and Innominate Tarn. Haystacks was a challenge with its scrambling and rock climbing to reach the summit, but all felt a sense of achievement as we sat by the tarn for a relaxing lunch before making our way back down a steep track to eventually pick up the east lakeside path back to the village.

This is a brief account of our planned walks, and during the week members enjoyed different trips, routes and challenges taking in the high fells and other delights that this part of the Lake District has to offer.

Alan & Pauline