A day trip to the Lake district can involve a lot of driving depending on where you are in the country, however, for those confidence and skills to do hill walks in wintery conditions it can be very rewarding, especially when conditions were as good as on Saturday. If one were to be flippant then this could be described as a walk from the New Dungeon Ghyll to the Old Dungeon Ghyll pub, via a rather scenic detour.
The walk took 4 hours and fifty minutes ( to the point when I had been served in the Dungeon Ghyll pub ) and whilst I made a brisk start, I certainly felt it by the end of the day. My partner didn't come on this walk - instead I joined a couple of walking mates and some sterling chaps.
After arriving at Ambleside earlier than expected we had some difficulty finding an open cafe and resorted to a couple of pastries from Greggs the Bakers. After walking back to the car park, one of the cafes which appeared closed earlier had opened. Whilst there was a little cloud cover, it was high and overall conditions were excellent. We made our way to the National Trust New Dungeon Ghyll car park, where we struggled initially to find the six pounds in coins required for a days parking. I'm happy to pay that amount but it was dissapointing that the machine didn't take notes.
We started by walking up past the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel to start the walk proper by following the riverside path up Stickle Ghyll towards Stickle Tarn. Gradually the path got more icey, and more and more clumps of snow became visible. Upon reaching the shores of Stickle Tarn, snow was almost everywhere, and a few inches deep to boot.
Theres a skill to walking in snow, as it is a deceptive beast - and wondering just a few feet off the path can see you waist deep in the stuff, and worse still, whatever lies beneath. Whilst footprints can give the appearance of a trustworty route, just because some deep snow will take one persons weight there is no garentee that it will take anothers.
We left the shores of Stickle Tarn, and made our way up to Pavey Ark via a well trodden path up a Gully. Going was slow but steady as we continued through snow drifts and ice towards the pike of stickle, where we paused for lunch and a spot of body sledging... after which We made our way down off the hill via Stake Gill and Mickleden towards the old Dungeon Ghyll, the endpoint for our walk.
Our last stop in the Lake District was in the village of Ings, where lies a very fine Pub. The Watermill Inn has its own brewery, which can be seen through the windows in one of the side rooms off the Bar. The walls are adorned by many awards and the Bar has a very wide range of real ales on tap. Everyone who drunk the ales enjoyed them no end, but as a designated driver I had only the comfortable ambience and warmth of the fire to imbibe. It is an ambition of mine to spend a couple of evenings in this fine Inn and enjoy the food and taste a selection of their ales after a fine days walk.