A Lakeland Round (2011): Day 11 – Thursday 14 July

Glenridding to Penrith

I feel awful. An early night was a waste of time as I couldn’t get to sleep, and with the 4 bunk dorm full, anytime someone moved on the uncomfortable beds all 4 were aware of it. And the banging and crashing upstairs didn’t help.

I woke with raging hay fever, courtesy of the location and a window wide open all night. Breakfast was pretty bad too, and I’m sitting here not really wanting to get on with the day.

Despite this somehow I’m packed and ready to leave by 9. I heft my pack onto my back and inwardly groan. After a few steps, the ball of my right foot, which has been hurting whenever I put pressure on it overnight, is protesting. As the track starts to descend to Glenridding, my right knee has some disturbing twinges, and even when I take a footpath down a gently sloping grassy field I’m feeling the load going through my legs in general, and my knees in particular. I walk along the road in the direction of Gowbarrow Fell, spy a shady spot by the lake and cross the road to it. I slump onto the bench and consider my options.

I definitely can’t do the full 14 mile, 3 Wainwright walk – the mile and a half I’ve already done is enough to make that clear. I don’t think cutting a bit of the distance off by taking the bus to the bottom of the first fell, is going to make much difference either.

I could sit here and paint, as I’ve not done much of that on this trip. Yes, but I’ll need to find a better spot as this view’s not too good. Place Fell is directly opposite and is just a load of relatively indistinct greens in this light – I couldn’t do it justice. And sods law that my art kit is at the bottom of my rucksack today.

I could, however, just go to Penrith and get the train home a day early. But my B&B is already paid, and that really would end the trip on a downer. There’s no point doing this.

So, I’m definitely not getting the bus to Penrith, at least not until later in the day. If I’m going to kill time, it’s going to be here, not in Penrith.

In the end I’m sat on the bench overlooking Ullswater for nearly 2 hours, and then I move back to Glenridding, have a pub lunch and then sit out the remaining time waiting for the bus under a shady tree. I get the 2:15 bus and arrive in Penrith just after 3.

So the last day ends with a whimper rather than a bang, but that’s ok. One way of looking at it is that on tuesday I had the rest day I should always have planned in, and that in effect yesterday I made a choice to do the 3 extra fells in preference to the 3 I should have done today.

In total I’ve done 29 Wainwrights, about a whole book’s worth, which when added to the 11 I did on my Cumbria Way trip earlier this year makes a nice round total of 40, in the year that I’m 40. That seems rather neat, and I won’t dwell on the fact that if I’d been able to meet my original plan for this trip I could have been touching 40 Wainwrights on this trip alone. My grand total is now 158 – so 56 to go.

Lingmell and the Scafells
Lingmell and the Scafells

Lingmell was my favourite Wainwright, largely because of the viewpoint, and as it’s also a Nuttall, it is joint winner with Striding Edge in that category.

Striding Edge
Striding Edge

Red Tarn easily wins the prize for best tarn on this trip.

Red Tarn
Red Tarn

The best day of the trip has to be day 10, the day of Striding Edge/Swirral Edge. However, day 8 (Lingmell) was good too, at least until it got spoilt by descent issues. I paid a heavy price for both of these days, as in both cases I did no fells the next day. But they, and the view from Steeple, are the stand out moments of the trip.

Looking down Steeple to Ennerdale
Looking down Steeple to Ennerdale

There have been no really bad days, largely because the weather has been good after a few showery days at the start. But almost all of the days were hard work, and all days had their less positive moments – usually late in the day when tired and descending.

So to bed now, travel home tomorrow, and then begin the process of converting all of my photos and video clips into artworks and a trip video.

Today’s stats

Distance: 1.77 miles / 2.845km
Ascent: 0
Descent: 140m
Time: 40 mins

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