On a bright but rather windy day we decided to have a walk in an area we had visited once – more than ten years – before. We set off along a well-made track giving access to Forestry Commission land. Signs warned of work in progress and an area which was off limits. There were not many people about: one or two joggers, a couple with a dog and a worker in waders.
To cut a long story short we managed to walk all the way round the reservoir, but at times the path was almost impassable. The land is boggy (with Moss in the place name, that is to be expected) with standing water in places. Where the path had not been constructed with hard-standing, logs had been laid like rafts and in some places cross-sections of older trees places as stepping stones. Some were wobbly! We were perhaps acting our UK shoe-sizes rather than our ages, but we managed to navigate our way without mishap. The trouble was that the farther we went the less likely we were to turn back…
… At one point hubby announced that the path in front was impassable. We tried an alternative route, which eventually took us in the wrong direction. So we turned back. Hubby climbed a hill to see if he could see a better route. I consulted the map (which was probably too small a scale and too old to have all the paths on) and flagged down a passing jogger. Acting on information he provided we retraced our steps and continued round the reservoir.
In the car park the dog-walkers we had seen earlier advised us of the route they had taken, ‘because the path hasn’t been made yet’.
There was plenty of heather growing in the area, but we didn’t see a single wild flower in bloom.
Photos: top row From the dam towards the end of the walk, a single swan, approaching the reservoir on the track
Middle row: trees in the winter sunshine, the outflow from the reservoir, a view from the well-made track
Bottom row: From the far end of the reservoir, another view from the track, looking across the reservoir
The only hill in a neighbouring parish, to which I could put a name, was one we had never climbed. Hubby and I decided to put this omission right on a day with a good weather forecast for January. The previous day we consulted a map, one of Alfred Wainwright’s books and a folder of walks we have collected over the years from a local newspaper. After an early lunch we parked in a valley and began our walk. The sun was shining on nearby hills as we climbed. Later some clouds began to blow in from the west. We had decided to travel light, not taking any spare clothes or food and drink. It was an expedition of 2-3 hours duration. I am used to carrying a small backpack with perhaps a pair of over-trousers and a drink plus some breakfast cereal bars. Being unencumbered made the walk easier, but we were fortunate that we did not have cause to regret this decision.
From the summit there were views in every direction, although the haze and low afternoon sun obscured the Isle of Man. It was interesting to pick out places we know well. We could see a lake we had visited, local towns and the headland, which has featured frequently on this blog.
We were glad of our waterproof hiking boots. We began and ended on roads. The decision to park low down meant that the end of our route was downhill.
On New Year’s Eve it was frosty, even near the coast, where the gulf stream usually keeps the temperatures a little higher than inland.
We drove to a National Trust car park beyond Keswick and walked into the town. After lunch we walked back. The light was superb for photography.
We were surprised and impressed by the improvements to the footpaths, which had been made since we last walked this route (almost a year earlier).
I have mentioned previously that whenever we visit this area we see lots of robins. In the afternoon the light on the trees and on the new accessible boardwalk was fascinating.
Although I have managed to avoid people in most of my snaps, it was the busiest we have ever known on the footpaths. I didn’t take any photos of the jetties as there were people on most of them! The paddle-boarder is merely a smudge in the top collage. Leaving at around sunset we were delayed by a long queue of traffic trying to pass through Keswick, where there were diversions due to road-works. However the orange sky was beautiful all the way home.
Just for the record I didn’t spot any wildflowers in bloom.
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