As this was an inaugural combined walk with Kendal Fellwalkers numbers were swollen to an impressive 14 with honours approximately even give or take a couple of guests who were on neither side. Thankfully the weather was kind though cool and navigation straightforward thus avoiding any possibility of embarrassing mistakes in route finding.
After leaving Shap any moisture around Wet Sleddale was largely underfoot as the familiar ground into Mosedale was traversed before a brief stop at Mosedale Cottage where new armchairs were sampled. Then followed the trudge onto Branstree and a welcome turn eastwards to keep a lively and slightly damp breeze on our backs. This had eased by the time Selside Pike was reached and the descent into Swindale was a much warmer affair as the impressive cascades more than lived up to their reputation.
Lunch at the bottom by the lowest pool is always a top ten location though only one of the party braved the water. The walk along Swindale under Gouther Crag passing Truss Gap and ascending to Tailbert is one of Lakeland’s hidden gems as is the secretive trod down to Parish Crag Bridge near Rosgill. Glorious afternoon sunshine persuaded us to take a final rest here by this fine packhorse bridge before the final few miles back into Shap.
The walk from Rosgill to Keld above the River Lowther was enhanced both by great views over to Swindale with its backdrop of previously climbed hills and the isolated but imposing ruins of Shap Abbey built in 1199 by the Order of Praemonstratensian monks! From Keld it was but a step back up into Shap with the Goggleby stone of Shap granite as the final point of interest before re-entering the village and completing the 18 mile round. Rather than proceeding onto Ring 2 most of the party adjourned to the friendly environs of the Crown Inn for suitable refreshment before dispersing.