ULLSWATER WAY - 10.8.19

BEYOND PATTERDALE

A poor forecast dictated the day’s dress code and eight members set out from Aira Force car park in full waterproof kit. With Jim leading, the group began the Ullswater Way in an anti-clockwise direction. The extent of water on the road approaching Glenridding gave rise to memories of the devastating effects of Storm Desmond in 2015, which wrecked many homes and businesses in the village.

On to Patterdale and a slight extension to the route, via the hamlet of Rooking, due to extensive flooding in the valley. Shelter was the overriding consideration at coffee time and a wooded section of the route, beneath Place Fell provided the necessary cover. Continuing through the rain and past the now closed Lowther Barn tearoom, the route threaded its way beneath Hallin Fell and to Howtown, where the covered shelter at the Ullswater Steamer service’s pier provided an ideal refuge for our lunch stop. Due to the forecast for high winds, the steamer service had been cancelled and we had the shelter to ourselves.

After lunch, the trail offered some lovely views back to Hallin Fell. Passing through the campsite at Waterside House, holiday makers were making the best of their time in Lakeland in spite of the inclement weather. The next stop was Pooley Bridge, which afforded an opportunity for a break at the benches near the temporary bridge across the River Eamont. The original bridge had been another victim of Storm Desmond on that fateful night. Evidence of the ongoing work to provide a permanent structure was all around. Fortified by the afternoon break, it was time to face the last push back to Aira Force, via Wreay, Bennethead and Swinburn’s Park. Approaching the terrace path through the woods, the humid conditions made all the more acute that ‘boil-in-the-bag’ sensation from wearing waterproofs in summer. There were fine views to be had of Ullswater from the terrace path, particularly of Hallin Fell, beneath which we had passed several hours earlier. Back at Aira Force, waterproofs and boots were removed with relief, after 21 miles and a circumnavigation of Ullswater.