It is a tradition that providing the weather is reasonable Dad takes Uncle Brian to the Lake District on Boxing Day. They have a picnic sitting in the car and then Dad usually goes off for a short walk, while Uncle Brian sits and enjoys the view. The rucksack stayed firmly in the cupboard so STAG quite adamantly decided to stay at home. Instead we went along instead. They usually go to Thirlmere and park at Armboth just a few feet from the edge of the lake. Two years ago we went with them here but the views were obscured by cloud. Today it was clear and sunny with wonderful views. Being Lakeland bears from Bowness we are very familiar with this region and it was great to be "home" again. I, Ruskin am named after the famous poet who lived at Brantwood on the shores of Coniston Water. My friend Langdale is named after the two beautiful Lakeland valleys Great and Little Langdale that are surrounded by high fells.

While Dad sorted himself out with his camera we waited patiently on a seat that had been created out of a felled tree trunk.

We were facing a quite magnificent view across the lake, which Dad obligingly photographed for us.

These are what are known as the "Dodds", being from left to right Great Dodd, whose summit is hidden behind Watson’s Dodd from where one walks to the summit on the right called Stybarrow Dodd. Dodd is one of a number of words meaning hill.

We set off now along the path heading south beside the lake. Suddenly Ruskin said "Dad just look at that superb view to the north. "That is Raven Crag standing high on the left and in the distance is Blencathra, both of which you and STAG have climbed".

We had to stop a while to enjoy this and Dad took our photo again.

Continuing on again we came to one of the many streams that empty into this lake and we used the bridge to cross. It was quite narrow and indeed would be single file for humans, but we were able to walk side by side.

It is good that there are so many streams to fill the lake, as it is in fact a reservoir that supplies water to the City of Manchester. We imagined that Uncle Eddie and Aunt Tish might well get some of their water from here. A huge underground aqueduct carries the water to Manchester, amazingly on a continuous downward slope so that it uses gravity, and no pumping stations are needed. On a walk near Kendal, STAG saw a bridge that carries the pipes of the aqueduct. They happily contribute this picture to our story.

We now took a side path that led to the road. It is a very quiet road but nevertheless we walked along very carefully, soon passing the entrance to the car park. A little further on the left a gate gives access to the path up to the ridge of hills to the west. Indeed if followed all the way down the other side you come to the tiny hamlet of Watendlath in the Borrowdale Valley. This and other locations in the valley were used by the author Hugh Walpole in his books known as the Herries Chronicles. One of these is about Judith Paris, and this is the house where she is supposed to have lived.

We were not planning such an expedition today, as there was not enough time. Dad and STAG had been to a number of the summits on this ridge in late August. We contented ourselves with scrambling up on to some rocks where we could examine the lichen that had grown on them. Apparently it is a testament to the quality of the air if lichen grows.

We were also able to look up to the path towards the ridge. The way is through the gap in the wall.

On the opposite side of the lake is perhaps the most well known of the fells in the Lake District – Helvellyn, rising to 3118ft. Dad of course has been up there a number of times with STAG, but what he does not know is that we go off walking on our own and have climbed it too. We asked if he would take our picture with it in the background. We think the light on the mountain is quite magical.

Well we had been out long enough and it was not fair to leave Uncle Brian on his own any longer so we made our way back to the car. On previous visits here they have always seen a robin, and today was no exception.

Well that is the end of our tale and we settled in the car for the ride home. Being Boxing Day the tea shops were shut, so Dad had to wait until he got home for his tea and chocolate biscuits.


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