Day 8 …. May 15 …. Buttermere To Keswick Via Causey Pike …. 15 miles

I had a light breakfast (compared to yesterday), even yoghurt, no toast but a croissant.
I sat with two blokes who came in yesterday. They walked across Dale Head like I did and came down the same vertical path from Robinson to Dalegarth. “Never again.”

Goodbye to Jeremy and Kelly, nice people, a good B&B. They wouldn’t even take money for washing my laundry. I left at 8:15, heading for the path up Whiteless Pike.

One of Two Pubs At Buttermere 

I reached the path gate at 8:35, an iron gate across the road from the Bridge Hotel. A National Trust officer I met the day before told me how to find it. The sign on the gate said Gyll Wood. The path followed the gill (stream) until steps pulled me out of the ravine onto the fells.

I overtook two older men slowly trudging uphill and recognized them from the Fish Hotel bar. They were there each of the three times I was there, holding down the end of the bar. They have come to the Fish annually for 18 years. Wow!!

The NT man said it was a steep climb up to the Pike, and yes it is. The ridges ahead, up so high, looked daunting and I was beginning to wonder what I was doing there. Even though the weather had mostly cleared, the ridges looked dark and brooding, Whiteless Pike at 2160 ft, Wandope at 2533 ft, and Sail at 2750 ft. Further along the ridge, Scar Crag at 2200 ft and Causey Pike at 2000 ft. But this is what I came for; one of the longest, continuously spectacular ridges available for walking.

Overlooking Buttermere And Ridge Not Taken Yesterday Due To Rain Climbing Up To Whiteless Pike Summit, My First Summit Of The Day 

I looked back over Buttermere and clearly saw the ridge that was covered in cloud yesterday. It looks like a marvelous walk. I will definitely schedule it for another year. In quick succession, I met three lone walkers going to Buttermere. Two of them said “It’s a long walk to Keswick.” Thanks a lot, you are a big help! Actually, it wasn’t THAT long. After a couple of false summits, I reached the summit of Whiteless Pike; it felt good to get there; now it all seemed possible.

 Cairn At Whiteless Pike - Looking East To Crummock Water 

On the climb to Wandope I saw a group of walkers going up Grasmoor to the west, framed in a line against the sky. Others were wandering around on the summit of Wandope, they probably came up from Braithwaite.

A Rambler's Group Climbing Up Grasmoor 

At a junction of paths, I turned east to climb up onto Sail, the highest point of the day. From here, there was a series of descents and ascents, gradually losing altitude. I met a walker at Sail summit and he took my photo with the summit marker.

Gregg at Eel Crag summit Looking West to Causey Pike And Derwent Water From Sail 

I spoke with several others along the ridge. One fellow was running with his dog, said he was going to Canada and San Francisco in a fortnight. He ran up to Causey Pike summit and returned. As he passed, I gave him my card and said to call and visit. At Causey Pike summit, my walk from two days ago was visible in all it’s grandeur, from Maiden Moor to Dale Head and around to Robinson.

Across Sail ridge to Causey Pike In The Distance Looking north to High Spy and Dale Head (my route two days ago) 

After Causey Pike, it was a steep drop off with serious rock scrambling. The time was about 13:30, so I stopped for a snack, then followed the path over Rowling End to the road.

Steep descent from Causey Pike 

I crossed the road to Stair, then walked up past Swinside which has a B&B and a pub with rooms to let; it looked like a nice place to stop for the night. These are back lanes with little traffic, so I continued on the road to Portinscale where I met the Cumbria Way coming up from Borrowdale. A walk across a suspension bridge and a field into Keswick put me into town center where a huge banner announced the annual Keswick Jazz Festival. A traveling market was set up on the pedestrian street under the festival banner and in the shadow of town hall. I was tempted by the map stall and several Asian food stalls, but no, it’s only 3/4 mile to Craglands B&B.

Keswick and my B&B For Two Days - Jazz Anyone? 

Pauline greeted me with coffee and cookies as usual for B&Bs. For dinner and good ale selection, she recommended Banks Tavern and the George Hotel. She said this was the last two days of the jazz festival; bands are set up in various venues all over town, you just have to look around. I cleaned myself up and went out for the evening.

Banks Tavern was completely full so I went to the George, it was full also. I heard music so followed the sound, down the street to a coffee bistro where a band was set up in the front window. It was packed but I squeezed in and got a pint of Thirst of May. The band had a piano, trumpet and clarinet with an older female singer. They were playing thirties style jazz. The piano man played 12 bar boogie-woogie in 8 bar style….sounded good to me. The singer had a deep voice, displayed a great style and sang nice standards. I had a little chat with them. They were all English and had been together a long time.

Finally, I went back to Banks and found a table squeezed between some local guys. I ordered chicken curry and a pint of Marston’s Pedigree. There was a lot of jovial banter with the guys. One was drunk and refused to believe I was an American; his friends were trying to take him home. Everyone was having a good time. Jazz was forgotten.

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