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Windermere Weekend - October 2017

At the end of October 15 members braved the Lake District weather to enjoy a stay at the Windermere Hotel. Although the hotel administration was a little chaotic we made the most of our stay with two walks on the Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday dawned with cloud low over the lake and shrouding the hilltops but after a hearty breakfast both A and B groups set out undaunted.

Four members made up the A party which walked the Kentmere Horseshoe. We parked in Kentmere by the church and were lucky to take the last of the limited parking (would have added an unwanted couple of miles if we had to park further back down the road). The route took us up the Garburn Pass and into the cloud, this unfortunately stayed with us all day with a few short breaks where we could admire the stunning views. After turning North on to Yoke (706m) and along the ridge to Ill Bell (757m) and Frostwick (720m) we finally ascended Thornthwaite Crag (784m). Having turned East and crossed over the Roman Road of High Street we passed over Mardale Bell (760m) and stopped for a welcome lunch at the shelter of Nan Bield Pass. Having seen virtually no one all day we were joined at the shelter by two other parties, which could not accommodate everyone at once. After lunch we ascended steadily up Harter Fell (778m) and then turned South to cross Kentmere Pike (730m) and descended over Shipman Knotts and then West back into Kentmere. Total distance 13 miles.

All ten members of the B party walked from the Windermere Hotel northwards to the Orrest Head viewpoint, then on to the A592 and northwards again to the village of Troutbeck, and then westwards to Waterhead (immediately south of Ambleside). Having walked about 7½ miles, seven members of the party opted to catch a bus southwards back from Waterhead to Windermere village. The remaining three got on a boat to Bowness. From there, after the leader had eaten the largest jam and cream scone he'd ever seen, the three walked eastwards onto the Dales Way and then northwards back to the Windermere Hotel, a total walking distance for the day of about 10 miles.

Before dinner was taken in the evening everyone attended a short memorial service for Vanessa consisting of a prayer, a poem and a couple of readings from the Bible. Chris also projected a number of photos on various walks over the past years.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and so after another substantial breakfast both parties headed out to enjoy the changed weather.

The A party, now bolstered to 5 intrepid members, drove up the Kirkstone Pass out of Ambleside and walked back down towards the town before ascending the ridge North to Low Pike (508m). There was then quite a hard climb to High Pike (656m) followed by a more gradual climb to Dove Crag (792m). Lunch was at Little Hart Crag (637m) and digestion was aided by a descent to Scandale Pass and then a steep climb up to Red Screes (776m). We then turned South down the ridge and followed the path back to the Kirkstone road.

The B party transferred by car to the village of Elterwater and walked southwards to Colwith Force (waterfall), then eastwards to Skelwith Bridge, then north-westwards back to Elterwater village, a total walk distance of about 5 miles. An additional loop northwards of about 3 miles had been offered, but everyone opted out, including those who had earlier expressed an intention of doing it, apparently preferring to spend time in the tea shop at Skelwith Bridge and at the Britannia Inn at Elterwater. However, it must be admitted that good practice was followed in the buying of a pint for the leader/event organiser.

Our thanks go to Chris for organising the event and Chris and Julian for leading the walks. Thanks are also conveyed to Chris and Colin for organising the evening entertainment. However, the last word should go to a new member who commented 'that the weekend made him feel twenty years younger.'