OH TO BE A
2014: April 22
On Tuesday the weather had changed, emphasising how lucky we had been in Coniston. However, when it is rainy in the Lake District there is obviously still a great deal to do, even if it is not so much savouring the Great Outdoors. However, today was the last day for a direct bus service from Winderemere to Patterdale and Ullswater - what administrative mind places such restrictions on a tourist route? So Patterdale it was for my first destination. When I remembered that the rain seems to get stuck in Patterdale, I thought why not play the tourist and go, via Windermere, to Wordsworth's Dove Cottage, and then perhaps a mini walk from thence up to the National Trust's Alcock Tarn at 380 metres? This worked as you will see.
I think the name "Patterdale" must surely come from the rain "pattering" on the countryside around Ullswater. It was certainly much wetter here than in Windermere. Anyway, today was the last chance, for from tomorrow, there would be no bus from Windermere to Patterdale and Ullswater until the next school holidays - never mind about the visitors to the Lake District! I had hoped to join the Fairfield Horseshoe from Patterdale via St Sunday Crag, or at least to go and explore Patterdale Common (Place Fell, 657 m) opposite. But rain and mist precluded such ambitions.
I am not sure what the collective likes of Wordsworth, Ruskin and Beatrix Potter really thought of living in the Lake District. Today we probably say "Lucky You", without perhaps being fully aware of the day-to-day conditions of those distant times. However, the spirit of Wordworth, because of the proximity of his erstwhile residence, beckoned today.
After a short immersion in England's literary heritage, at least a mini-walk was in order, since the weather was still holding out. Alcock's Tarn (National Trust) was on the cards. For those arriving in Grasmere in the early afternoon, ahead of a stay of a few days, this walk could be a good warm-up. It is attractive in a rocky and arboreal sort of way.
From the Grasmere turnoff it was a short walk into Grasmere village itself - Wordsworth's Yellow Daffodils, Gingerbread, tourists and all. Lots of activity. At the bus stop for Windermere I met a lady from Spain - I hasten to add, not one of Russell Flint's Ladies of Spain. We got talking and exchanged thoughts about some of the linguistic pecularities of Spanish and English. She found it quite amusing that I had found it amusing that Spanish railway stations often have a "Sala de Espera", "waiting room" or "room of hope" - you hope the train will come. Anyway, the bus came, and we parted company. After a pleasant meal in Windermere, complete with a wheaty Cumberland Ale, at the "Lazy Daisy, it was time to think about tomorrow.
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