The Lakes : Circular Walk
CLOG: 16th April 2017
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The weather today gave us another, quite attractive, view of Lakeland scenery. The mist lent an air of mystery and presented us with ample photo opportunities. We experienced scenery, history and even a short journey on Windermere (the lake or mere) itself. We fitted all this into a relaxing ten-mile walk.
In the morning we caught the bus from our hostel in Ambleside to Windermere (the town), from whence we took the Windermere Ferry, a type of cable ferry, from Bowness Nab to the start of our walk on the opposite (west side) shore of (lake) Windermere. Our walk was roughly north-south. For weather reasons we first took the shore path to Wray Castle. However, in the afternoon, we returned by an interesting rocky higher-level path at almost 200 metres above (lake) Windermere. On this path, our feet got that that nice "crunchy slate" Lakeland feel, and, in addition, we had some more nice views, this time towards Windermere town on the east side of Windermere lake.
So, here's what this page has in store for you. Enjoy your browse!
From the hostel it was a short walk, via the Ambleside Pier, to the bus stop for the journey to the Cable Ferry in Windermere (town). Our short walk was not without interest. We absorbed more of the Lakeland scenery and found that the drinking fountain and the red Edwardian pillar box were among greetings from times past.
The Windermere Ferry from Ferry Nab in Windermere town takes less than 10 minutes and saves a 15 mile detour around either end of Windermere lake. As mentioned, it is a kind of Cable Ferry. In fact, it is a "powered cable ferry"; it uses an onboard engine to pull itself along by the cable(s) by using one or more onboard drums (or powered cogs). The ferry was built in 1990 and is named "Mallard".
O the other side of (lake) Windermere we headed north along the western shore, deciding initially to eschew higher ground in recognition of the misty weather. However, the path was picturesque and offered us photo opportunities made special by the very nature of the weather. We would take to the higher ground in the afternoon.
We then came to the northern extremity and aim of our walk, namely Wray Castle. This castle, and its associated church of "Low Wray - St Margaret's", were built in 1840 in the Victorian neo-gothic style for a James Dawson. The views from the castle across the landscape are indeed impressive, which no doubt explains the chosen location of the castle. However, we would have expected the interior rooms to be furnished in the style of the 1840s. Not so. The castle within seemed to be one large childrens' playground and amusement area. There is, of course, nothing against catering for the inventive development of the younger generation, and the National Trust was quite probably wishing to make itself attractive to our citizens at an early stage in their lives. However, the almost total lack of an historical and cultural interior of this Victorian building was unfortunately a major disappointment. Interestingly, one of Dawson's relations, Hardwicke Rawnsley, was a key player in founding the National Trust.
For the return "leg" of our walk, we thought we would take the "High Road" to add some undulations to the day's experience. We gained almost 240 metres and some nice east-facing views across Windermere (lake) to Windermere (town). This "higher" option gave our feet that nice "crunchy slate" Lakeland feel. Ferns, birches and conifers added to that sense that we were indeed in Lakeland!
The "High Road" started after "Red Nab" and "Bell Grange Cottage". Once we had reached "Claife Viewing Station" marking the southern end of our "high path", we knew that the Ferry was not too far away.
To get back to the ferry for our return trip, we visited the viewpoint on which the Claife Viewing Station stands. It was actually built in the 1790s as a tourist attraction and for us it provided a scenic marker on our route. On the way to the landing stage we enjoyed some more fine north-facing Lakeland views. On the ferry itself we crossed paths with the former steam yacht "Tern" with its curved bow. For our ferry there is sufficient slack in the ferry cable to ensure the cable stays clear of crossing boats.
When we got to the other side of (lake) Windermere, we found a waiting taxi, which, for four, was a convenient and reasonably priced means of getting back to our accommodation in Ambleside.
For this particular day, I would like to thank participants on the walk for their company and for putting up patiently with me as not only devising the walk, but actually - for my sins - leading it! But then, actually "leading" a walk, should always be viewed as a joint enterprise as it was today; we are out to enjoy ourselves and to regard navigation merely as means of doing the walk. In a way, the misty weather added a touch of mystery to the proceedings! So, another successful CLOG day out!
We had several days in Ambleside and the present web page describes just one of those days. Whilst I cannot remember the precise details of what we did each evening in Ambleside, we often dined in. The food at the Hostel was good. In addition, it was interesting to talk to the other hostel visitors and exchange experiences we each had had on a particular day.