GRASMERE & LOWER EASDALE

 


Summary

Date - 12th March 2014 Distance - 4 miles
Ascent -
380ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Broadgate car park, Grasmere (NY 388 077)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Allen and Little Eric were looking thoughtfully out of the window, as Grizzly and Shaun arrived with the cakes and tea.

"Ooh great", cried Allen, "I'm gasping for a cuppa."

"Did the chocolate coconut and cherry slice, I made turn out OK?", asked Little Eric.

"Yes thanks pal", replied Grizzly, "it has saved me a job today."

Accepting the steaming mug, Shaun then took a bite out of a slice. "Mmm, it is really scrumptious. Thanks Little Eric."

"You are welcome", he said taking a slice himself. "It was such a shock when Dad was rushed off to hospital, and I was so worried."

"So was I", added Allen, "but all is well and he is making a good recovery. Although it will be a long while before he is completely healed up inside, as it was a major operation, even though it was done by keyhole surgery. It is amazing too, that the pain he has suffered for a long time in his right shoulder was caused by the gallbladder, and not as Dad thought from carrying his rucksack on all the walks. I say good riddance to Dad's gallbladder!"

"Quite", cried Shaun.

"He managed to do a walk with some of our other pals, during the stay at Armathwaite Hall, only three weeks after the operation. Dad was OK, afterwards, though unusually tired he said, but as you say Allen, he is still healing", said Grizzly. "I wonder though if he might feel able to take us out this week?"Then looking round, he said, "where's Tetley."

"Well that's the thing", said Allen. "That is exactly what he is asking Dad, just now."

"Well we had better make sure there is some cake left, stated Grizzly, firmly closing the lid, after seeing Little Eric take a third slice!

A few minutes later, Shaun called out, "here he comes", as he poured a mug of tea.

"Thanks pal", Tetley said as he accepted the mug, and then, "thanks Grizzly", as the cake was offered to him. After eating the cake, he then went on, "Dad is getting better each day, but unsurprisingly as present he does not feel like doing anything too long, and just yet not climbing a fell. But he definitely wants to walk, and has found one in the walks binder that takes in the environs of Grasmere and Lower Easdale, which we have not done before."

"That's great", cried Little Eric. "I don't mind where we go, it will just be so good to be out walking again. I guess too that we will be going to the Wordsworth Hotel afterwards, and hopefully we may get to see Kim, which would round the day off to a tee."

"Roll on Wednesday", shouted Shaun.

 

The Walk

Although the walk was not long and it was only to Grasmere that Dad had to drive, we were up early, eager to be walking again after six long weeks.

Throwing back the curtains, Shaun exclaimed, "it's clear blue skies, so it looks like were in for a good weather day."

And so it was, with glorious sunshine and no wind either.

The drive was uneventful, and the views of the fells were just magnificent, standing out sharply against the blue skies. The start was from the Broadgate car park. Dad went to the machine to pay and was a little while longer that we had expected.

"Was there a problem?", asked Tetley.

"Not really, it is just that you have to type in the car registration number, before the ticket prints. I also noticed there are cameras overlooking the entrance/exit. They are ANPR to detect visitors that overstay, and if so send them a fine!

"Really", exclaimed Allen. "Sounds a bit big brother to me."

Soon Dad was ready, and meanwhile we had settled in the rucksack, with our pal Southey, who had come along too, zipped up in the front pocket. Shouldering this, Dad then walked out of the car park, going left along the road into the village, where shortly he came to a halt, hauling out the camera, to take this picture.

"That's Silver How", called out Shaun. "It was Dad's, Tetley and my last Wainwright."

"And, can you believe that that was July 2007. Nearly seven years ago", added Tetley.

"My lad, how time flies" breathed Dad in reply.

Reading the instructions, Shaun called out, "we are to take the second right, for once not the Easdale Road, but the one that leads to the gateway to Allan Bank."

As we approached we could clearly see the sign on the gatepost that reveals the house is owned by the National Trust.

Strolling the peaceful drive the view to the right suddenly opened out. "Wow", cried Southey, "that is stunning. What is the name of the fell?"

"Seat Sandal", replied Little Eric, promptly.

"Well done pal", said Allen, giving him a pat on the shoulder. I told you the names would start to stick in your mind, soon."

And looking left, there was Allan Bank.

Allan Bank was once the home of William Wordsworth, who described it as 'the loveliest spot that man have ever found', and later Canon Rawnsley one of the founders of the National Trust. Rescued in 2011 from the ravages of fire, it has been partially restored, and was opened to the public for the first time in 2012.

Approaching the junction, Shaun called out, "we take the right fork."

The narrow road led round to the left above the valley, passing this old stone gatepost, now long redundant.

Then just a few yards further there was a seat to the left, Dad saying, "let's just sit here a few minutes and enjoy the peace and tranquility."

"Will you take our picture?", asked Grizzly.

"Sure lads", Dad replied, lining up the camera.

Although it may not look like it there was room for Dad to sit next to us, and then we all just sat in quiet contemplation, with this magnificent view of Helm Crag across the valley.

Little Eric looked longingly, saying, "summiting that will mark my completion of all the fells in Book 3-Central Fells, including Steel Fell, Calf Crag and Gibson Knott that will we bagged in the same walk."

"Aye lad, it will not be too long before I am taking you on the hills again, but that round may have to wait a couple of months yet", responded Dad.

"I fully understand. I would not want you to take that walk on until you have healed up a lot more."

Reaching a cottage, we passed through the gates, to follow the path leading to Silver How, but soon reached a junction, where this sign indicated directions.

"Our route is right to Goody Bridge", instructed Shaun.

The muddy path descended steadily to a gate in a wall that brought us beside Easdale Beck, which Dad crossed via the sturdy stepping stones.

Looking left as we crossed, Tetley called out, "the view upstream with the little falls, makes a pleasing scene."

On the far side the path led beside a fence and then through a signed gate on the left, to pass some houses and so soon exit on to the Easdale Road, by Goody Bridge.

" It's left here, over the bridge", called out Shaun.

Fairly soon we came to the footbridges on the left that took the path over Easdale Beck. "We should cross them to get on to the track that leads up Easdale", advised Shaun.

The track ultimately leads to Easdale Tarn, climbing up by Sour Milk Gill, which we could see with twin summited Tarn Crag rising beyond.

"That view has good and bad memories", mused Allen.

"Yes lad. I well remember the day I slipped on the boggy ground below the start of the climb to Tarn Crag. Ooh it did hurt."

"Yes but you still attempted the ascent", replied Tetley.

"Aye, I did, but very soon realised I had really twisted my ankle. Still I made it down to the car, but driving home was very uncomfortable. It kept us off the fells for about five weeks if I remember", said Dad.

"However the good memories were returning six months later, summiting Tarn Crag, and reaching four other summits too", said Allen joyfully.

Today we were not going very far up the valley, soon coming to New Bridge on the right, which we crossed, then on the path to a walled section, that brought us to a cross path.

"Left here, then immediately right", called out Shaun.

The right turn was signed Helm Crag, the path to which was beyond the gate at the end. However our route was right just before, through a gate into the grounds of Lancrigg.

As can be seen the sign reads. 'please bolt the gate behind you'. Well we would if there had actually been a bolt!!

Then followed the sylvan path through the woodland...

and passing this delightful and pretty pond...

"This is like heaven", breathed Southey. "how lucky I am to be able to come on the walks. It is thanks to Kim, coming to work at the Wordsworth Hotel, that Dad saw me and I was adopted."

Further on a sign indicated that going left led to the memorial to Dorothy Wordsworth.

"Well the school I went to did not teach Latin", said Dad. "How about any of you lads?"

He was met with complete silence, so thank goodness for the Internet, where we were able to find a rough translation -

'Dorothy Wordsworth used to sit at this spot, writing down the poems that her brother dictated as he walked nearby'.

After pausing a short while to try to imagine Dorothy Wordsworth sitting and writing down her brother William's words, we walked on the path curving down right, to a junction where it was left, as the path then arrow straight descended towards a small gate ahead. We all thought we would be going through the gate, but this was not the case, as the path swung right before it, to descend to the terrace in front of Lancrigg, that since 1985 has been a vegetarian hotel.

Although there has probably been a dwelling on this site since ancient times, the oldest part of Lancrigg as it is today dates back to the 1600’s when it was a farmhouse. In 1840 William Wordsworth, acting as the agent for his friend Elizabeth Fletcher of Edinburgh, paid the then farmer £1030 for the house and surrounding land. Wordsworth was instrumental in the renovation, carefully retaining many of the original features, including the traditional round chimneys for which he made a particular personal crusade. Lancrigg soon became a favourite place to William and his sister Dorothy, who wrote in her journal: “We had only been in Grasmere four days when we discovered the terraced walk at Lancrigg, which long remained our favourite haunt”.

Elizabeth Fletcher, lived here until her death in 1860, followed by her eldest daughter Mary and her husband Sir John Richardson. Elizabeth had a wealth of prominent friends in the literary and political life of the 19th century. As well as the Wordsworth's she was a close friend of Sir Walter Scott, Tennyson & Robert Southey. Also spending much time with the elder and younger Coleridge and Humphrey Davey. All who met her, talked of her charm and beauty. Her autobiography contains a fascinating account of the famous Literati visiting Lancrigg and enjoying the surrounding valleys and mountains. Her son Angus was a great friend of Charles Dickens who used to stay at Lancrigg on his visits to the North.

It was wonderfully peaceful here, and we stood a while in quiet contemplation, looking out at the views across the valley.

Breaking the reverie Little Eric then asked, "where now?"

Shaun was quick with the reply, "we follow the drive down to the Easdale Road, where we crossed the footbridges earlier, and then retrace the route over Goody Bridge, and walk the permissive path along the wall beside the road."

It was here that Dad talked with a lady who had been up to Easdale Tarn. The conversation started by her commenting on us, and enquiring if we told Dad the way.

Dad replied, "well yes, Shaun is the guide!"

At the end we rejoined the road, to come to the path on the left just after the house Silver Lea. "This is my route", Dad said to the lady. Then he said, "goodbye it has been nice to meet you."

The path was quite idyllic, through the trees above the Easdale Beck, and passing its confluence with the River Rothay, eventually reaching the road into Grasmere.

"There's more walk to come, so I guess we must be going left over the bridge, otherwise we would arrive at the car park very shortly", remarked Grizzly.

"Spot on pal", replied Shaun.

A few yards after the bridge, Shaun said, "we go right here."

This was clearly indicated by the wooden sign fixed to the wall.

Forest Side is the area on the opposite side of the A591, to which this path led. A lovely way between fences with pastures either side, in which were some of our most favourite sheep, Herdwicks.

Reaching the main road we could see the area known as Forest Side, behind the Catholic church of Our Lady of the Wayside.

Just a few yards to the right another signpost pointed across the fields back towards Grasmere. "That's our route", called out Shaun.

However Dad's eyes had been drawn to the skyline behind the church and a prominent outcrop. "What is that hill called", asked Southey who was anxious to find out more about the area where he had been adopted.

"It's Stone Arthur", replied Tetley. "We last climbed that in 2005."

"That means I still have to bag the summit", called out Little Eric.

"Well lad, when I have recovered a bit more, I fully intend to make that one of the climbs to get me back into the groove", said Dad.

"Ooh thanks", replied Little Eric gleefully.

"Can I come too?", asked Southey.

Of course", said Grizzly,

Turning his eyes north-west, Allen then called out, "that is a mighty fine view of Helm Crag, and the rocks known as the Lion and the Lamb, for which it is famous and so recognisable to people."

"So it is", replied Dad , snapping off a shot.

So finally now we set off over the fields and through gates. By one in a wall, there were to the left a number of our lovely Herdwicks and Dad walked a few yards off the route to get a picture.

The path finally brought us to the Millennium Bridge that spans the River Rothay.

"OK", said Shaun, "We cross and then follow the path right, by the river. This magical path meanders by the river skirting the rear of the grounds of the Wordsworth Hotel at one point, and on to come to the car park.

"Thanks so much for taking us out Dad", said Little Eric. "I hope you are alright."

"Yes lad I am fine, but it has been enough for today. But as time goes by my stamina will return, of that I am sure"

After Dad had changed, he then drove to the Wordsworth Hotel, and we all went in too, settling amongst the cushions on a large leather sofa in the corner of the cocktail bar. Albert was serving, who Dad knew from his time working at Armathwaite Hall, and he made quite a fuss and they chatted. A large pot of tea was brought, and a lovely bacon brie and tomato ciabatta with a bowl of chips. Just what Dad needed to revive him. Then we just sat taking it easy until Kim came on a little later. He got to chat a little with her, before it got busy at reception. She was sorry that Dad had been ill and pleased he was on the mend. She told Dad that with a friend she had nearly got to the top of Causey Pike. They had started from Portinscale, which really had made the walk much longer than it would have been had they parked at Stoneycroft Bridge, immediately below. Here first real climb and after the long walk in, her legs would not carry her up the final steep climb to the summit. Still we were all proud of her!

It had been a lovely and interesting walk with stunning views, and not all the paths had been walked before, so that was some more of Lakeland explored.

Thanks Dad, as always.

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