Day 6: Mon. April 25 Grayrigg to Staveley to Ambleside

In the beautiful Edwardian dining room, I had a most excellent breakfast with Cumberland sausage and the best coffee of the trip. To meet up with a junction of the Dales path two miles away, I cut across pastures on a public footpath. I could see the Rawlings walking the longer road route heading for the same junction. I get there first, but we met up several times later on. The Dales leads from farm to farm, easy to follow. I’m also paying more attention to my map reading, no more getting lost! I was told that yesterday is the worst waymarked section of the Dales Way - now I feel better!! Unexpectedly, my short encounter with the River Sprint was quite exciting, it was so wild and beautiful yet tamed to work the Sprint Mill over a century ago. The stone mill buildings looked to have grown out of the far bank as sunlight filtered through the trees onto the water.

Sprint Mill on the River Sprint

I decided not to stop in Burnside, turning on the path just south of town and following beside the River Kent to Bowston where I crossed to the west bank.

Bowston Bridge

It was an idyllic walk along the River Kent all the way to Staveley, 10 miles from Grayrigg. My ankles are hurting me again. I think it all started on that rocky Roman road descent to Far Gearstones. The Dales Way ends five miles further at Bowness-on-Windermere but, to give my sore ankles a rest, I decided to catch a bus from Staveley and finish the five miles next week on my return. With rest, I’m hoping my ankles will be strong enough for walking in the Lake District tomorrow.

Along the River Kent toward Staveley

After a relaxing lunch break in Staveley, I bussed all the way to Ambleside. This is a walking mecca in the heart of the Lake District with bookstores, bakeries, banks, walking shops, pubs and restaurants. Civilization!! After getting area maps at the TIC, I went to How Head B&B, my headquarters for the next three nights. They were expecting me. I was the only roomer in spite of the No Vacancy sign. My hosts, Val and Frank, were making sure they had some relaxation before the summer rush, but seemed glad to see me. I had my usual coffee and tea, then a shower. The room was small which was understandable due to the historic nature of the building, one of the oldest in town. Bath was across the hall and I had it all to myself.

The town internet room was in a snug at the Golden Rule pub, just a short distance from How Head. After email home, I ambled over to Zaffarelli’s, a vegetarian restaurant, very tony, a little snooty, but good Italian food. While eating, I met friendly vacationers from London and had a nice chat. Ambleside seems to be a most popular place for the British to spend time, relax and walk in the mountains

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