Steve Clark: Up to the Lakes a Week Before Christmas

UP TO THE LAKES A WEEK BEFORE XMAS 

You would never have known it was a week before Xmas, looking at the countryside. No sign of snow, a slight frost but that was it. I’d had a nice five days off. I usually travel very early in the morning to beat the traffic but as it was December I decided to leave later. I left Northampton at 7am on a Friday morning and got to the lakes at approx. midday. All the roads were open after the big storms of last year and a very good job they have done. I found my B&B, a two minute walk from the middle of Keswick and booked in. I’d found a nice little 10½ mile circular walk in the Trail mag, a 20min drive from Keswick, which took in Ravens Crag, the Castlerigg Stone Circle, and Tewet Tarn then over low Rig and then back to the car park via St John’s in the Vale. 

So on Saturday morning after breakfast off I toddled to find the car park In St Johns in the Vale. I was expecting to pay for the carpark but when I got there the pay machine was covered over and a note saying “No charge till further notice”. It would have cost £7. The route description from the Trail mag was pretty accurate all the way around. I found the kissing gate to get me out of the car park with no problem, turned left and I was on my way. I crossed over the A591 and headed for the dam at the head of Thirlmere, then a climb to the top of Raven Crag. This was the only real climb of the day. The last 100mts to the top was on brand new steps put in while the road was closed due to storm damage. Aso there is a lookout platform at the top with some great views. I retraced my steps back down the steps and headed north towards the Castlerigg Stone circle At the stone circle I had lunch, a couple of mince pies, a swig of water and I was on my way. I was heading for Tewit Tarn, just a little tarn tucked away on Low Rig. I found it with no bother, took some photos and moved on. Over Low Rig and down the other side heading for the Vale of St Johns. I lost the path a bit going down off Low Rig so I ended up jumping a couple of walls to get off the hill. Down in the valley I followed the Vale of St Johns, took 10mins to watch a Dipper in the river then back to my car. I drove back to Keswick, got changed then into town for some grub and a beer.  

Sunday was breakfast at 08:30 then I just took a drive over Kirkstone Pass and a round trip back to Keswick. Walked around Keswick, bought a couple of books and that was about it for the Sunday. I packed my bags Sunday night ready for the drive home. I was going to leave late due to breakfast being at 08:30 so I expected to hit traffic on the way home but actually I had a good drive and no hold ups. I had a good couple of days in the Lakes, the weather was good and will be probably returning in March when I have a whole week off. Weather permitting I will probably hit the high fells next time.  

Photos at  www.steveceegalleries.smugmug.com                 

Stevecee xx