After an overnight flight from San Francisco to Heathrow and tubing into London, the Flying Scot train took me north to Carlisle where I savored a much appreciated cappuccino from the cart on the train platform. On the local to Whitehaven, I met two British ladies going to St. Bees for the walk. Perhaps I’ll see them tomorrow.

The TIC in Whitehaven gave me the bus schedule to Cleator and booked me into Lismore House. Sirlion steak and ale at Wetherspoons, then early to bed, sleeping a solid ten hours. I definitely needed it!

Day 1: Wed Oct 13 Whitehaven to Ennerdale Bridge

I enjoyed a full English breakfast in the sun room overlooking the harbor where the American John Paul Jones invaded by stealth to steal ship supplies during the American Revolutionary War. It was almost a clear day! I toured the lighthouse, splashed water in the harbor, browsed a used bookstore and invaded a Gregg’s bakery before taking the bus to Cleator.

I was soon climbing Dent Fell with sheets of rain followed by the sun. It was a great view as I put a rock on the cairn. After circumnavigating a forest steeply downhill, I sat next to a lovely stream and ate a Gregg’s pasty for lunch. Then an exquisite sunny walk along Kirk Beck through Nannycatch, a small, beautiful, hidden dale with strange native sheep, footbridges and no roads. What a delightful place! I reached Ennerdale Bridge in time for hot tea at Bridge End B&B, then a walk down to the lake in time to catch the sun setting over the mountains. I was feeling good, jet lag wasn’t bothering me, but wished I hadn’t missed the cliff walk out of St. Bees.

At the B&B, I saw the two Yorkshire ladies that I had spoken to on the train and we had dinner at the Shepherd Arms Pub. The Jenning’s Bitters was as smooth and stimulating as the conversation and we agreed to walk together the next day.

Day 2: Thurs Oct 14 Ennerdale Bridge to Stonethwaite

The morning was sunny along Ennerdale Lake’s rocky shore and mossy glens to remote Black Sail Hut. The youth hostel was open for tea making and made a good lunch break for us. Earlier, Mary had taught me to save the sausages from the huge B&B breakfasts to eat for lunch. This is handy since there is usually no place to eat during the day’s walk. Alison had poignant memories of staying at Black Sail 35 years ago.

Following the trail up Loft Beck, we slowly realized we were on a sheep trod leading away from the beck, so we had to scramble straight up to the left to find the path again. All this in miserable rain and cold for 3 hours across the mountain to Rosthwaite, clearing just enough for a magical bird’s eye view of Buttermere Water. Mary was trying out new equipment for a Himalayan trek in Nepal; the rough terrain and weather gave her gear a good workout. The ladies had a 5 pm bus to catch at Seatoller, going to Keswick for a theater break and rest day. We made it with only ten minutes to spare and, after a fond but hasty farewell, I walked on to my B&B at Stonethwaite. My Ennerdale B&B host had kindly booked it for me. I was soaking wet, but had everything dried in the tumbler. It was too late to book dinner at the Langstrath Hotel, but artichoke soup, bread and Hawks Head ale were absolutely wonderful. I spent the evening swapping stories with a local sporting a long, white beard.

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