From Windermere to Kentmere and back12th July 2007
A sunny Saturday escapade was out of the question because my driving lessons continue so I took my chances on Sunday. Despite the threat of thundery showers, a trek to the Lake District appealed and it didn’t disappoint either. In fact, the weather in the area can do its own thing and I have been clag-bound on days when the forecast was for fabulous sunshine. This time, it was the other way around: the clouds were in plentiful supply at times but they never threatened with rain and the day turned out to be one that I will remember and treasure.
The travel arrangements involved bus journeys to and from Crewe with trains taking me from there to Windermere and back, with a change in Oxenholme. It was all fairly straightforward and I was in Windermere before 12:40. I have no idea how I managed to get this into my head but I have never thought of Windermere as a place from which to start hill walks; I had always voyaged further by bus. It took Jim Reid’s Tour of the Lake District (Cicerone) to put me straight. Sunday’s trek proved that there’s nothing at all shabby about the hill country north of Windermere.
My walk took me up and over Orrest Head and the views from this modest little hill were sublime; I can see why Wainwright rated it. Its location more than makes up for any lack of height and proves that height is no prerequisite for enchanting vistas. Views up and down Windermere and the hills surrounding it are in ample supply with northern vistas also being packed fully of craggy and not so craggy delights. With sunshine in abundance, getting myself off it to continue on my way was a lengthy process.
From there, I made my way to Moor Howe by a mixture of roads and public footpaths and made my way onto a track called the Dubbs Road. Deep pools almost occupying the whole width of the track in places were abundant as I walked onward to join another track, called Garburn Road. By then, I was on the slopes of Applethwaite Common above Troutbeck and road noise was percolating up from the valley below. Views of Ill Bell and other fells abounded to the north and I was soon to leave behind the bustle of road traffic to cross over Garburn Pass. A tempting track to Yoke and Ill Bell headed off to my left but I was content to leave such an excursion for another day.
I lost height as I dropped into Kentmere valley but by then the scene was being set for a wonderful evening. I didn’t go into Kentmere village itself but cut off towards Kentmere Hall and started gaining height again as I began my return to Windermere. The surrounding views were enchanting and stopping and staring slowed progress as did photographic exploits. Distractions and climbing soon became less of an issue and steady progress was made along mainly good tracks (some waterlogged patches were encountered, but that was to be expected given the weather that we have been having) until I reached High Borrans farm. From there, it was road walking all the way to Near Orrest farm and my feet weren’t thanking me for it. A tramp along public footpaths offered some respite as I skirted Orrest Head took me back to Windermere where, having missed a train by ten minutes, I had a spot of time to stroll into Windermere to buy a few bits and bobs before I headed home satisfied after a good day out.
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Orrest Head – yes a little gem