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.

This was my Windermere residence (B&B) for the next two days.
The weather was already somewhat suspicious and not auspicious.

This is the old entrance (covered for horsedrawn broughams, landaus and the like) to the old Windermere Station. Thanks be to Booths for preserving this interesting bit of Victoriana.
The rare (calendar-wise) bus would soon be leaving here for Patterdale.

The heights of Patterdale Common in all their misty damp majesty. C'est manifique, mais c'est ne pas la guerre. At least not for mountain walking.

Anyway, there was a return bus to Windermere leaving shortly
close to the rain drenched Patterdale Hotel.

The return bus stopped a while at the highest point, the Kirkstone Pass Inn, perhaps to cool off from the - for the bus - steep climb. This was the opportunuity for a quick picture, with Lake Windermere just visible in the distance. The weather does different things over there.

As the bus started to move from the pass onto the snakey road on the Windermere side, I got this quasi-impressionist picture of Lake Windermere nestling in the lap of the distant hills.

A Touch of Wordsworth

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.

Wordsworth's Dove Cottage. No pictures inside please - we are not the National Trust.

Dove Cottage from Wordsworth's steeply sloping garden.

Before the historical and literary significance of Wordsworth and his cottage were fully appreciated, some eager house builders plonked the fruit of their labours right in front of Wordsworth's view of the distant hills that lead to Great Langdale.

Alcock Tarn

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.

The walk is about 3.5 Km or 2.2 miles, modest but nice, with nice views.

Maximum Elevation is 371 m (1217 ft) with a total ascent of 297 m (974 ft). Doable.

On the way up, the rain came - not too much. Before this, I met a party of about eight American College Guys and Guyesses. They said they hailed from New Jersey. I admit, my knowledge of American accents is limited to the "dees" and "doses" of New York and the drawl of Texas. Flint (you know, the old "Flint" and "to Flint") in North Wales was their next destination - they were touring "Yurrup", or least, the British part of it.

This is Alcock Tarn, and behind Yours Truely ...

... a distant view unfolds ...

... a view extending to the very Lake Winderemere itself.

Here's looking towards Great Langdale ...

... and here's Alcock Tarn again ...

... with the appearance, on the other side, of spilling over towards Rydal and Ambleside.

The view into Grasmere's valley and across in the direction of Great Langdale, ...

... accompanied me, ...

... with rocks, ferns, grass and spindly trees, on the way down.

This tree has eked out its existence over Grasmere for many a year.

The End of The Day

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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