No Sign of a Steak on the Stake Pass

Listened to the Radio 4. weather forecast this morning:- it will be a lovely sunny day across the country ………apart from Cumbria and Northumberland’.

How annoying. It actually wasn’t too bad in the morning, just drizzle and the threat of rain. By lunchtime the sun was out. Dropped into Ambleside and did some shopping: new ferrules for my poles (the 4th set this walk), new gas cylinder for my stove, new OS map etc. All from Cotswold as they are such a nice company to deal with. Then Bilbo’s cafe where they sell tea by the pint – excellent.

There was a steep climb out of Ambleside so I stopped at the bottom and took off my jacket as it was now getting quite warm. I also hung my map wallet on the gate whilst removing my rucksack . I’d climbed the hill before realising that the maps were missing so back down the hill I went as quickly as I could. When I got to the gate a fellow walker was looking through the contents for a phone number to call me. Very nice of her. So, rather like the grand old Duke of York’s men, I marched up to the top of the hill again. A little further on I stopped for a breather and to take advantage of the warm breeze to dry my tent which was soaked with dew and condensation.

Borrowdale tent drying
drying the tent in Borrowdale

While this was going on, a lovely old man came down off the mountain beside me. We had a lovely chat. It turned out that he was from Yorkshire and was 86 years old. Some years ago he had scattered his wife’s ashes on the mountain and placed a plaque there in her memory. ‘Every year I come with some Wet and Dry to polish it up, I don’t bother with the wet, I just use spit’.

He said he still had his backpacking tent and gear but ‘I don’t use it nowadays cos I’m knackered’. I commented they he wasn’t that knackered if he could still get up the hill he had just come down.’God gave us this lovely countryside to enjoy…… have a lovely walk boy’, he said and I think he wished he could join me.

I’ve ended up the day on a National Trust campsite near the famous Dungeon Ghyll Pub where I had a lovely meal. I visited this pub some 40 years ago but still remember the great folk music and song session there. As I finished my meal at about 8 30 musicians were turning up but I was too exhausted to stay; it was already a late night by my standards on this walk.

A other very steep climb tomorrow on the path to Keswick


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