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Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Frank Sinatra Walk.............June 12th
 We are off to the Lakes today as the weather girl on local TV has promised a warm, dry sunny day.
I asked for a "Nice and Easy" walk and Brian came up with today's adventure, a walk from Seatoller to Keswick via several thwaites and crags. A thwaite is Old Norse for a piece of cleared land. It is common in English names too, I went to school with Eddie Cornthwaite;  there is, or was, a Thwaites brewery in Blackburn,  Lancashire, town of the four thousand holes.
The walk requires either a bus pass or two cars or maybe more as there are six gadgies out today, Ben, Brian, Harry, John H, Dave and me.
From Newcastle head west on the A69, South down the M6, west on the A66 to Keswick, stop for refreshments, leave your car and take the bus (no. 78) to Seatoller, they run at 15 minutes past the hour, currently.
We started the day at the Coffee Lounge in Keswick. Brian swears it still sells the best bacon sandwich in the world, I have given up on extra breakfast and had a pot of tea. Over the drinks Brian asked for a team photograph today, requested by Sue of Forest Hall. Harry wondered if she had been named after an American Indian tribe, Brian said not that one, she was Christened Anne late in life and having always been rather reserved was  usually referred to as  shy Anne.

Two car parks today, this one in Keswick, £7 for a whole day but it does have Skiddaw in the background as a bonus.
The bus journey to Seatoller takes about half an hour in an open topped double decker bus, great for views over Derwent  Water but be careful you don't stand up or you will get slapped in the face by a tree branch.
                                     Taken from the bus
                                               Car park number two, Seatoller.
The walk, at last. A map could be useful; OS OL4 English Lakes North West Area covers the trail which starts in the Seatoller car park.
At the back of the car park a footpath takes you through the woods to the Youth Hostel at Longthwaite. The woods are the remains of the ancient forest that once covered most of our little island, deciduous oak, beech, birch etc. and this is one of the best times to see it, a sunny day in spring when the leaves have that fresh green look, the ground has flowers instead of the deadness of the coniferous plantations we see in Northumberland.  The footpath is very rough, made with an assortment of large stones and chunks of in situ rock. I thought I was in trouble until I realised I was wearing my distance vision sunglasses. I never learn.
                                       Woodland at Seatoller
The Youth Hostel at Longthwaite. One of the best in the country, purpose built and very comfortable. There were several groups of primary school children setting off for a day's adventures in the hills. Nice to see them and their enthusiastic but tired teachers. 
Beyond the hostel the footpath continues on the west bank of the River Derwent for a short time, following the Cumbria Way, before a set of stepping stones cross the stream and the path goes to Rosthwaite (yes another thwaite).
In Rosthwaite there is a cafe, the Flock Inn which does bacon but also specialises in lamb from the many Herdwick sheep that are bred in the Lake District. The farm doubles as a B and B and it said that Prince Charles has stayed here, there is a picture of him in the cafe.
                        Ben and Harry cross the stream.  Love Ben's hat, it's a Tilley
At the end of the road turn left and after a few hundred yards take the lane on the right hand side of the road that crosses the Stonethwaite Beck. The footpath just over the bridge begins the steep climb that finishes at Watendlath.
 Across the small divide, looking west towards Borrowdale before starting to walk down to...........................
 The barn at the end of the lake, otherwise Watendlath, pretty as a box of Kendal Mint Cake.
                                                 Bridge at Watendlath, teas and ice cream available in the old farm
                                                   The tea room
                                              Heroine of the Rogue Herries novels lived here
This is for you Sue, of Forest Hall Newcastle upon Tyne.  Brian waves, Harry stands out of respect.
Hope this is what you wanted. I am not on it because I can't work the self timer yet. The dog on the right stole Brian's pork pie. Fortunately I had a spare, it's the sort of thing gadgies carry.
  As you can see we called a Herbie Spot and sat in the sun feasting on Ben's ginger biscuits, flapjacks, Mrs A's extra chocolatey cookies, chocolate and from Dave, pork pies!! Fortunately I had taken a couple for my lunch (they're only small) so was able to help Brian out when the collie pinched his. (Down to 177 pounds, for now.)
Back to the walk; The footpath down the Watendlath Beck heads north down the valley through fields and woodland, deciduous. If you wish take time out to visit Lodore Falls above the Lodore Hotel.We didn't but paused some way on to admire the views over Derwent Water.



            Down the Watendlath Valley, me at the back again taking pictures.
                                Looking Down on Dewrwent Water, Mary Mount Hotel
                                                  Ashness Bridge.

We paused for a while at Ashness Bridge, it was hot , but the sight of a beautiful grey wagtail on a rock made the day. From the bridge the footpath leaves the road on the right  and starts the second climb of the day, a steep path up to Walla Crag which has magnificent views of the Lake and Skiddaw beyond. We paused for more water at Lady's Rake.   Harry, poor man, has contracted Lymes disease but is recovering well, thanks to the NHS. He needs to go to hospital for antibiotics, given intravenously. Brian has advised him to make sure he is the third man in the seating area so he is called first.  Work it out yourself.                                                                                       The path crosses a stile and several fields in a north east direction. Look carefully and you can see the stone circle at Castlerigg. Leave the fields and follow a farm trail but look out for a signpost on the left pointing the way to Keswick and going through more woodland. Pass the ice cream shop if you can at Springs Farm and follow the road back into Keswick.
Changed we opted to drive most of the way home before stopping for liquid refreshment. We headed for the wonderfully named Carts Bog pub near Hexham but they were having a music festival called Bogstock so we continued to Wylam and called at the Boathouse, pub of fourteen different hand pulled beers which make choosing difficult. I settled for Northumberland Gold, and it was.
This walk would qualify for "A Good Walk" in the Saturday edition of the Times. Great gadgie day out in the sun.

The Matrix MMXV   NN
                                                                  steps                              miles
LIDL3 D                                                  29413                             9.35  (I am 3' 11" tall today)
Dave's LIDL3D                                        21501                             9.16
Dave's USB                                               20930                            8.91
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                             9.1
Ben's Bragometer                                                                            9.5
Brian                                                                                                9.7 with a slight diversion

Yes they have slightly different scales.
PS the total scent is about 2000 feet