Ennerdale Bridge to Borrowdale (13.5 miles / 28.1 miles)
Day 2 of my epic journey of discovering things people have already seen before. Today, a 13 and a half mile jaunt from the Fox and Hounds at Ennerdale Bridge to Borrowdale Youth Hostel, Rosthwaite.
Having been in bed by 9pm yesterday, I woke up early, refreshed, ready and eager to get on my way. Breakfast consisted of a ration pack of chilli-con-carne giving me a whopping 600 calories to start the day with. The other campers around me were stirring, but they were more interested in waiting for the pub to open its doors for breakfast rather than eating out of a foil packet. Can’t honestly think why . . .
Having commandeered a table to lay all my stuff out, ready to repack it and to attempt to remove all the slugs that had attached like limpets to the underneath of my tent, I started speaking to the other campers about their journeys and more importantly all the techie stuff we were carrying. One guy was doing just the Lake District section of the Coast to Coast and was most disappointed about the fact his tent, which he paid ‘top dollar’ for, had suffered terrible condensation during the night. I had no such issue, but did I mention the slugs? Euughh. His tent pegs were really cool though and made of titanium.
Another guy I spoke to said that he swore by his Water to Go filter and only ever filled up from streams, which frankly would have been more convincing had essentially I not been speaking to a man down a pub about it. Luckily he didn’t try and sell me a microwave and I was still feeling pretty good despite my wild water sourcing shenanigans yesterday.
This method of getting water on the go would mean I could keep the pack weight down, an issue I had been thinking of quite a bit yesterday. So in pack news, I have decided to eat my 26 energy bars I had brought along, at a weight of 1.3kg, as quickly as possible rather than my previous plan of rationing two per day; I am going to only fill my water up from streams using my water filter and I am going to throw away my pants and socks when I have finished with them. I have rationed them so they last four days each: judge me all you want, I don’t care.
So having moved out, the first three or four miles along the southern edge of Ennerdale Water were spectacular and I can’t begin to describe its beauty. Unfortunately, I’ll have to because my phone, and therefore my camera, was out of juice and the sun, although out in fits and starts, wasn’t quite enough to kick start it through the witchcraft that is my solar panel. So here goes: it’s very nice. Oh come on, I am a northern male born in the 70s, what do you expect?
Further exciting news on the backpack front: I discovered it’s bearable for around three miles at a time. I have also come to the realisation that I am in no hurry. These facts combined have allowed me to seek out nice rocks every hour or so to and soak up the scenery! Now, a quick check of my 3 times table for this 13.5 miler meant four stops which included a flapjack at the Black Sail Youth Hostel and bacon and brie panini and carrot cake at the Honister Slate Mine. I don’t how this must be for those reading this, but for me, I am just living the dream.
Not too far from Black Sail is Loft Beck after some hillocks and drumlins (my favourite of the glacial landscape features). Loft Beck is a stunning place as long as you’re not climbing it with a rucksack that has a preference for gravity and reaching the bottom of any hill in the quickest possible time. This was one of only two real climbs of the day though and seeing Buttermere to the right and Ennerdale Water to the left made me forget I was gasping desperately for air.
Getting over and around Robin Hood’s Chair, alongside Ennerdale Water constituted the first and most ridiculous climb of the day though, complete with steep, slippery rocks, no hand rail and unexpected scrambling. Now, two things:
1) Robin Hood never went to Cumberland
2) It’s a stupidly sized chair for a human being
Oh, and 3) Robin Hood didn’t exist (not even in the form of a Disney fox).
In the stories Robin Hood died in two of them. Once, probably climbing over his chair. Now I realise that contradicts my previous statement that he never went to Cumberland, but let’s not let continuity get in the way of a good moan.
Anyway, tonight I am cheating. I couldn’t get into the YHA campsite at Rosthwaite, but they had a bed for a mere £6 more than the tent would have cost and I can have a shower. Although it does mean a pair of pants is going to get chucked a day early though!
This is a thoroughly excellent and lively Youth Hostel and I can’t recommend it enough. After soothing my feet in the River Derwent with a pint in hand, I went back in to the lounge area and started speaking to all manner of interesting people including Coast to Coasters, Cumbrian Wayers, Any Outdoor Activity Goingers and Yorkshire Chris who as far as I could tell just lived for walking so he could meet interesting people and regale us with stories of ‘going’ outdoors (yes, I am talking about wild number twos). Outnumbered by Yorkshire lads and lasses I became the sole representative for the south and was christened the Essex Boy. Not bad for a bloke from Lincolnshire!