Today’s walk was fantastic. An easy walk around the lake then a steady climb initially and very fast walking until we arrived at Black Sail Youth hostel where we were able to make hot drinks to accompany our lunch! What a treat. This is a busy place because it is at the foot of Loft Beck which is a mountain about 680 metres high and an important staging point for the walks in the area. There are all these wooly sheep, Herdwick breed that apparently have been here for at least. 1000 years. The name comes from old Norse. They are very untidy and straggly looking, starting out black as lambs and getting greyer and light as they age.
After lunch we started to climb Loft Beck or Loft Craig, straight up! However it had stone steps most of the way and was pretty easy except for the wind which threatened to blow us off the mountain. The wing was really strong and constant so you needed to keep your balance and focus. The views from the top were fantastic though somewhat softened by a haze.
From the top we walked across alpine type grass to then descend. On the far hill was the Hontess slate mine and at the foot of our mountain they have a slate mill and shop for tourists, and a cafe! It was a very steep descent again and Kathy the retired Maths teacher took a tumble on the grass, jarring her shoulder. We were all impressed with the slate products, even slate art was quite fabulous. From this point the walk into Stonethwaite was about five kilometres but some was very rugged and at one point a chain was fixed to the rock wall to help you avoid slipping into the river.
We are staying in two BnBs in the village and they are a good 15 mins to the pub for dinner. Fortunately although we are staying the furtherest, the owner of our BnB gives Paul, our guide, his car to drive. As it has started to drizzle we are very happy. We go off to the riverside bar but find the bistro full of footy fans because it is the only place with reception for the World Cup. England is playing Tunisia.
We are so amused by the intensity and crowd participation as the game is played. Lots of ‘ oh!!’ Then ‘no!!’ The whole time we are eating. The atmosphere was thick with emotion. Because of the crowd we were all squeezed around a small table and eating with our elbows tucked in! We were inspired by the crowd and had lots of playful leg pulling of each person. It was a fun evening?
we are a group of 6 women and 6 men. Lyn and Bruce are the only couple. 3South Africans, experienced walker, 4Aussies( we three and Dennis an English man who has lived in Sydney for 30 years; he speaks so fast we can’t understand him sometimes!) the rest are Brits. We are all easy going and an interesting group.