Monday, 29 August 2011

Gas bottles, jellyfish, midges and high passes.

14th Jul 2011

I was on my way down to pick up Sal  in Coniston when I recieved an SOS text from her. Her father, who had been told their gas bottle was on the verge of running out, had chosen to ignore this advice and consequently the Thomas family were in the catastrophic position of not having any gas and more importantly, not being able to make their early morning brews. No-one was talking to poor old pops and I should imagine both Sal and Moo would have already had a few choice words with him was well. So when I arrived, Sal was stood at the gate of the caravan site with empty gas bottle in hand and we shot to the nearest garage to replenish their supply.

With the possible demise of Sal's dad averted, we set off out of Coniston, heading for Muncaster Castle. Now it was my turn to foul up. For some strange reason I had it in my mind that Muncaster was just at the foot of Coniston Water, however a dinner break in Broughton in Furness later, we seemed to be no nearer to our destination. Broughton is a lovely little town, with everything you could need. A proper bakery, a grocer/deli, a butchers, oh and a couple of pubs and cafes.

Eventually we did pick up a sign for Muncaster but I reckon it was a good twenty miles further round the coast than I though. A snap decision was made too give it a miss so we carried on past Muncaster and into Ravensglass which is a pretty little fishing village on the estuaries of three rivers, the Esk, Mite, and Irt.We spent a very relaxing hour in the sunshine, taking photos of giant jellyfish and old fishing boats before having a look at the Ravensglass-Eskdale Railway and going in search of the elusive Roman Bath House.


I decided it was time to crank up the excitement factor of our day out and took Sal on a never to be forgotten drive to Wasdale Head and then over the Hardknot and Wrynose passes.We only had a short drive up the coast, then on to Santon Bridge and in to Wasdale. No one can be anything other than impressed by the grandeaur of the scenery around these parts with The Screes, the Scafells, Great Gable and Yewbarrow all surrounding Wast Water.

I parked up at my usual spot and out came the cameras. It was the first time Sal had been in these parts and I know it impressed her. We then sat by the Lake soaking up the sun for a while before heading up to Wasdale Head.

Surprising enough there is a pub at the head of the valley and even more surprisinly we decided to take full advantage of it. And so we sat next to the river by the famous packhorse bridge with pint pots in hand and watched the sun go down behind Yewbarrow, it was a lovely afternoon. The stream was overrun with midges but miraculously they steered clear of us thank God

We had a last wander around the valley head which resulted in another bout of Sal giddiness. This time it was over a Victorian Post Box!! We then off we set down the valley towards Eskdale The sun was quite low and the light superb so we had to stop again to take some more photos looking down the Lake before heading off towards Hardknott Pass.

The pass itself is a series of hairpin bends, some as steep as 1 in 3 and rises to a height of 1,289 ft. On its way up out of Eskdale it passes the old Roman Fort. from where the view of the Scafells is unbelievable. I always find the road back down into Wrynose bottom is more nerve racking then the Eskdale side though, maybe it is because you are looking down the steep z bends and you cant actually see the tarmac of the road! Anyway I was complemented on my driving skills and we carried on over Wrynose Pass, which is a doddle after Hardknott. Then it was down Little Langdale in the late evening sun and back to Coniston.

Guess where we said our goodbyes? Yes, in the beer garden of the Sun Inn where we reflected on three great and often hilarious days we had spent together. I took a few last photos from the far side of Coniston Water as the sun set behind The Old Man just as a reminder for myself of the ace times we had before heading back up to my caravan.

I hope you enjoy the accounts of our days out together, we certainly had a great time.

A journey of two halves.

It was one of those all too frequent occasions when the weather forecast had a big wad of thick cloud and rain hanging over Cumbria whilst ...