I popped out of bed at 5:00AM as usual, and managed to put another 8 miles on my hiking shoes today. After a sunrise walk by the lake and breakfast, I started off the morning in the direction of Glenridding and Ullswater, going over the Kirkstone Pass from Ambleside via “The Struggle”. The road is twisty and narrow (and up to a 25% gradient!) as it rises up to the highest pass in the Lake District. Once over the pass, the road winds its way down to the village of Patterdale and then Glenridding.
For some reason I had in my mind that Glenridding is a larger town, but it’s actually just a small village. I parked in the car park at Glenridding Pier and bought my ticket for the 9:45 Ullswater Steamer to Howtown. The boat ride was 35 minutes, covering a distance of about 8 miles. I had picked up a walking guide at the pier, so I had a route to follow from Howtown. My first order of business was to climb Hallin Fell. At only 1,273 feet, it’s not exactly a tall mountain, but is pretty much straight up a grassy/rocky path. The top of the fell afforded a 360 degree view of Ullswater and the surrounding peaks. I didn’t see another person the entire way up or down.
After making my way back down the fell, I headed for the Old Church in Martindale. The church dates from the 16th century and is very unassuming tucked up against the hills. I probably could have skipped the rest of the walk and just headed back to the pier, but I pressed on around the base of Hallin Fell, most of which follows along the lakeshore. I made it back to the pier just in time to catch the 12:55 boat back to Glenridding. It was warm out hiking in the sun, but a lot colder on the boat! My reward was a Welsh Rarebit at the Fellbites Cafe in Glenridding.
Once I was done with lunch, I decided to drive the three miles to Aira Force (waterfall). There is a boat that goes too, but I would have to rely on the boat schedule if I went that way. There are several loops to do at Aira Force, each including a bridge over the falls. I went all the way to the top (2 miles) and back, making figure eights across the bridges. The main attraction is Aira Force, a 70 foot waterfall on Aira Beck, which flows into Ullswater from Stybarrow Dodd.
I was feeling tired after a second day of walking, so I made my next stop the Kirkstone Pass Inn at the top of the pass on my way back to Waterhead. Dark wood beams, comfortable red cushioned seats, and a warm fire were the perfect spot for a treacle sponge cake and cider. When I set off again, it was back down the struggle into Ambleside. I edited pictures for a while and then grabbed my laptop and book and headed across the street to the Wateredge Inn bar to finish off the day by the fire with another cider (alas, the same kind I just had this afternoon, but I made do… 🙂 )