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Lake District, day four (Buttermere and Scale Force)

23 August 2006
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The last day we spent at the Lake District was the only one that was rainy. The skies were overcast and a fine drizzle seemed to hang in the air. It didn’t stop the holidaymakers, ourselves included, and we set ourselves the relatively easy target of walking around the Buttermere lake.

Like all the other times, the countryside was spectacular. We met quite a few people on our way, including a friendly cat. Buttermere is a smallish lake, the lakeshore idyllic. It is a very easy walk around it, the only excitement provided by a tunnel. Our path took us through some wonderful open countryside and a couple of farms. Sheep were aplenty, of course!

With plenty of time on our hands, we decided to assuage our bruised egos as not having reached Scale Force a couple of days ago by having another go at it. Going up to see a waterfall in the rain, up a boggy and slippery mountain is perhaps not the best idea. But heck, we were on holiday!

It transpired that the last time, in trying to avoid the cows and the boggiest bits, we had veered off course and missed a footbridge. That little matter rectified, we scrambled up, trying to keep our balance on some pretty rocky terrain, now made slippery by rain. Because that part of the hillside was by and large open country, and people walk where they want, there was no footpath to follow. Most of the time, we had no idea if we were on the right course, and were went along in the general direction pointed out—sometimes doubtfully—by various passing travellers. But we were in a silly mood that day, giggling at everything, and even found ourselves a German companion with whom we could barely communicate!

The main landmark on the route was a large stone cairn, followed by a line of smaller ones. We argued long and hard about what exactly a cairn is (it brought to mind the five Cairn Stones of Diablo 2 that opened the portal to Tristram!), but reached Scale Force without needing to find out. The “spectacular” waterfall was a dire exaggeration, but considering we liked the English and their countryside so much, and both were being nice to us, decided not to let anyone know that we were disappointed. We duly posed for photographs.

City-bred clods that we both are, neither could resist checking if high up on the open mountain there was a mobile network signal. There was, and before starting the trek back down, we sat on the rocks and messaged our respective fathers: “No signal in village. High up on mountain now. Lake District is lovely. Hope everything’s fine.”

Back at the barn, after cups of hot soup, we braved the rain yet again and, bundled up in our rain gear went to sit by Crummock Water one last time. It was cold and wet, but we were dry and very happy indeed.

That evening we also said goodbye to the owners of the farm we were staying in, Gordon and Marjorie Lowery. This will be there last summer at Cragg Farm, as they are retiring and moving to a nearby town called Cockermouth. The farm is up for sale, and at last count there were thirty-one contenders clamouring for ownership. We can’t thank the Lowerys enough for their simple but clean barn, without which the Lake District experience wouldn’t have been complete.

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