So Sally, Julie and I were sitting in the pub waiting for our grub and reflecting on the day. I could not recollect eating anything at all since breakfast, just a carton of coconut water, at a slightly precarious moment in in time, and some regular water. But I was still feeling only slightly peckish. Eventually I remembered the flapjack piece and banana but that still wasn’t a massive amount. Likewise both the others had only done a little bit of grazing. Given the day we’d had it was surprising we weren’t famished.
Okay, we had started off with some very good breakfasts. The Shepherds Arms was proud of its substantial array, including some lovely salmon and scrambled eggs that I tucked into. Our host did look a bit crestfallen though when Derek asked for brown ‘trout’ instead of ‘toast’ accidentally. You could see him wondering momentarily if that was a special Sunderland delicacy (Derek originates from there and definitely not Newcastle).
Our glorious afternoon of yesterday was a dim memory as we pulled on our waterproofs and set off around the south side of Ennerdale water which is the rougher, rockier, more challenging path. And it was a bit challenging; there was a steady rain and the mists were low and the way was sometimes a little slippy. Still we formed a colourful line against the grey as we trudged and scrambled, mainly single file, along the edge. We found Robin Hood’s Chair, a large jutting rock set in a rare patch of greenery. No idea why it’s called that as it’s nowhere near Nottingham. But then neither is Robin Hood’s Bay.
The rain lightened a little as we left the lake and said goodbye to Simon here as he was heading back home. Heather, Paul’s wife had waved us off at the B&B! We headed along the forest road for a few miles of wide, fairly easy walking. This was the nice and gentle in betweeny bit where we managed to cover some miles at a slightly faster pace, although my pace always seemed to be slower than everybody else’s. I would blame it on the length of my legs but Julie’s little too and she’s a dynamo. Paul’s legs are so long that he just looks like he’s slowly ambling along when I’m practically running alongside! I had my first comfort break of the trip along this route because, as Derek pointed out, there were a lot of trees to hide behind here but it was all open land when we got to the hills so I shouldn’t try and wait. Wise words.
The wind was really starting to pick up when we came out of the forest and reached Black Sail Hut, a hostel sitting all by itself at the foot of the line of hills. If I’d managed to hold my trousers up long enough this would have been a good place to go but never mind. We had a mini break to psyche ourselves up for the climb and so I opened my coconut water, for a fuel boost. In the Wainwright book it says to go past the hostel and head up to Loft Beck which leads nicely to Honister Pass. But either John or Paul (I’m blaming both of them) started going up from the left. It’s not a problem making a mistake and backtracking. God knows my sense of direction is non-existent, but. To still be drinking from my carton and grabbing on to the nearest bolder so that I don’t get blown off the hill UNNECESSARILY and THEN to have to slip slide gingerly back down to the right track one handed is NOT my idea of fun. It’s true. Colourful language was heard.
To be honest though, even the correct path up through the Pass proved to be seriously scary. A Canadian we met, who probably knows about real weather said that she’d not experienced winds like these. It wasn’t quite a hurricane but we did hear after that there were some injuries incurred and some people even turned back. Our six pack all made it to the top though. I have to say I found it quite exhilarating going up because the wind was, mainly, behind us, so it felt like I was being pushed up and as most of the ascent was a winding stepped path it looked like I was running up but only because I found it almost impossible to stop for breath.
Going over the top held no respite from the gusts and it was really hard work getting down the other side. In fact once we were down and still had to walk a few miles to Rosthwaite, mainly on lumpy rock paths (which feel reeaally sore underfoot), my legs were dog tired and my grumpiness had started. That seems to follow the same pattern for me as yesterday where the last part of the walk, even though it’s on the flats, seems the hardest part of the day and I’m properly wingeing. I’m thinking now that perhaps I need to eat more on the way.