As is often the case in the Lake District, one day is dismal and the following is fabulous. On the penultimate day of our time in Cumbria, we were woken by birds singing and sunlight peeping through a small gap in the curtains. It was still very cold but never slow to take advantage of good conditions, we dressed appropriately and set off towards Whinlatter.
There is paid parking at Whinlatter Forest Visitors Centre but we continued along the B5292 and found ample space in a free car park at Darling How, near Spout Force. I would estimate it could accommodate about ten considerately-parked cars.
We walked next to the beck for a while and just to reinforce how chilly it was, the ground underfoot was quite slippery in places where the frost was lingering.
Our first fell was Graystones which was accessed via a steep climb alongside a stone wall. This necessitated several stops to ‘admire the view’ whilst I attempted to regulate my breathing.
We then made our way to Broom Fell. An internet search suggests this is no more than a small hill which connects Graystones with Lord’s Seat but Wainwright, in his wisdom, decided to award it separate fell status; who am I to argue?
From there, we walked towards a snow-covered Lord’s Seat. We were reassured that there were hikers approaching from the other direction which indicated this would be a safe climb.
This is the time to assess how much energy is left in the tank. Lots to look at while you’re making up your mind…
After a sandwich and a mug of tea, you might decide to tack Barf onto your day’s adventure. This is an extremely pretty little fell but the route is boggy in places. Although this is a far safer way to climb the fell than attempting the ‘Bishop of Barf’ ascent. The ‘Bishop’ is a large stone, painted white and visible from the road from Cockermouth to Keswick. It is a notoriously dangerous climb and many who have attempted it have had to be rescued.
After scaling Barf, we retraced our steps to Lord’s Seat. We then walked through the forest, crossing Aiken Beck three times, as it wound its way to and fro across our route. To do this we made use of some very interesting features – logs and foliage laid across the beck to provide water flow management to the area.
This walk was very safe but steep at the beginning. It took us about six hours at a comfortable pace with stops along the way.
Our final day saw the rain return with a vengeance so we visited Keswick. Incidentally, no need to take loads of 20 pence pieces for the public conveniences as they now take payment cards!
Join us again in September when we venture to the south west…