Day 3: Friday Oct 15 Stonethwaite to Grasmere

I hooked up with Alan, a surgeon staying at the B&B, for a sunny walk to Grasmere. We climbed up the Borrowdale valley, another scenic, hidden gem, possibly the most beautiful valley in England, but well traveled by walkers. Fall colors were in their glory, reds and yellows, rusts and browns, along the beck and on the enclosing fells. A shepherd on the far side was calling to his flock of sheep. Once out of the valley, it took both our skills to find our way over the rocks, bogs and streams, up over the pass of Greenup Edge, and crossing into the next valley.

Alan went on ahead as I sat on a large boulder to eat lunch. Following Easedale Gill until it becomes a river, it was an easy walk into Grasmere, a welcome bit of civilization. I had time for a cappuccino and a bit of sightseeing, Wordsworth and all. I found lodging at the Fairy Glen B&B (they had a cancellation), and followed what has become a routine, tea then coffee, then a shower and changing into my pub clothes, then setting my walking clothes out to dry.

At the Red Lion Pub, I had a fabulous vegetable soup with bread and Theakston’s Best Bitters. It’s great fun to try a different ale each night! I called several lodgings in Patterdale, but they were all full. I will try the TIC in Glenridding tomorrow. As has become a pattern, writing and reading ended the night.

Day 4: Sat Oct 16 Grasmere to Patterdale

It was a long, grueling slog up Little Tongue Gill, but there were fantastic views back to Grasmere. Ominous clouds were hanging below the pass, reached by a steep climb up rocky steps. Grisdale Tarn, an alpine-like lake, was spread out below me. Now a choice of paths. Striding Edge Ridge and St. Sunday Crag were completely socked in, so I decided to bypass those higher routes in favor of the rocky, wet descent along the beck into a lovely valley. Taking lunch under a huge tree next to the beck, I had an apple, cheese, sausage, and Richard’s favorite, Kendall Mint Cake - ugghh! Oh well, I got the small one. Then an idyllic walk past daytrippers down into the resort village of Glenridding where I found an internet cafe for my first e-mail home.

Saturday night, the B&B’s were booked up, but the TIC found me a room at the White Lion Inn in Patterdale. It was a good move. The local hunting club was meeting in the pub and spent a raucous night singing Cumberland hunting songs and some of the unique folksongs of Cumbria, even Waltzing Matilda and I Am A Humble Man.

Ohhh, it’s so hard to be humble
When you’re such a perfect man
Can’t wait to look in the mirror
I get better looking every day
It’s so hard to be humble
No matter how hard I try...

The fellow singing Waltzing Matilda sang five minutes of verses before ending with the one we all know. I was impressed! When the leader would point his finger to call on the next singer, each person would stand and sing his piece with everyone joining in on the chorus. One lady with an angelic voice was called on over and over again. Her singing would quiet the rowdy room, taming the savage beasts so to speak. The singing was great fun, but I was ready to duck if the finger pointed my way. Pedigree ale and Whitby shrimp kept me going all evening.

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