Friday, August 5, 2016

Day 36 -- Bassenthwaite to Braithwaite, 14 miles

Two days ago, I didn’t want to remove my camera from its case, for fear of getting it wet from the rain. Today, I didn’t want to put my camera back in its case, for fear of missing a photo op.

The Castle Inn, where I stayed last night, is an upscale hotel, with large rooms, good facilities, and nice restaurants. I ate in the hotel's pub, because there was an electrical outlet right next to my table at which I could charge my electronics. I can’t tell you what a luxury that was, because most accommodations I’ve been in have an unreachable outlet set behind a heavy piece of furniture. As a result, I missed eating in the fine restaurant, but it looked lovely. All things being equal, I would stay there again.

But all things aren’t always equal. The Castle Inn is a mile from Bassenthwaite, which is a mile from the Cumbria Way. Thus, I had to walk two miles to reach the start of today’s walk. One of those miles was on roadways, the second through farm fields with ankle-high wet grass. By the time I joined the Cumbria Way, my boots, socks and feet were quite wet.

View from Bassenthwaite
When I reached the Cumbria Way, I found a good dry track, with an easy ascent. The scenery was wonderful. Beyond the Skiddaw House, a youth hostel in the wilds of open moorland, the dry track deteriorated to a good footpath, inundated with water from the recent rains – the very condition I was concerned about yesterday. Since yesterday was dry, and today was beautiful, the water on the footpath was fairly shallow and easily stepped through, over, or around.

Trail covered with water

The path climbed ever higher, until it was nothing more than a narrow ridge along a precipitous edge. Some places reminded me of Yosemite, where the trail was cut right through a rock buttress. Alongside the trail, the purple heather awaited another day or two of sunshine before it will burst into full color.

Trail of rock

Heather alongside trail

Descending to Keswick

A long, knee-killing descent brought me to Keswick, a large market town feeling like a bigger city compared to the small villages I’ve visited. The footbridge over the River Greta was closed, forcing me back into the town/city to walk along a major road for the final 2-miles to Braithwaite. Under other circumstances, I would have enjoyed Keswick, but today I just put my camera back into its case.