August 10, 2018. Day Three: Rosthwaite to Patterdale (with a quick stop at Grasmere)
The first thing I did when I awoke was email our host at Noran Bank Farm to let her know we might be arriving on the late side. It was to be at least an 18-mile day with over 3000 feet of elevation gain, plus we wanted to take the half-mile detour into Grasmere to get some gingerbread from the 150-year-old shop.
After eating another hearty breakfast of eggs, sausage, beans, mushrooms, toast, and juice, off we went.
The walk out of Rosthwaite was straightforward, though it rained on us.
Sheep! Always sheep everywhere, even when you aren't expecting them...
Route-finding wasn't a problem as the path turned and headed up
The rain increased as we headed past waterfalls and up Lining Crag. This was good hypothermia weather, but I took off my raincoat anyway as I was heated from the climb. The girls wisely left their raingear on and kept checking on me throughout the next couple of miles to make sure I was okay. I was getting soaked, and the wind was picking up, and had I been on my own, I would have not removed my rain gear. Since I was not alone, and since the rain felt good to me, and since I had plenty of dry clothing and fleece in my pack should I need to quickly don them, I continued hiking in the rain and allowed myself to get wet. The risk was worth taking given my dry companions (who would have forced me into fleece and raingear had I showed any signs of hypothermia).
|Looking back down toward Rosthwaite|
|Soaked and happy me|
The scenery up here was beautiful. The guidebook warns that some lose their way at this point, but there were easy-to-see cairns when we were there, and the paths and fence posts were clearly visible in spite of the wet weather. We followed the directions in our guidebook and continued onward, over the rolling tops of hills and through a green and bumpy landscape.
|Note the photobombing sheep|
The high route goes over Calf Crag, Moment Crag, Gibson Knott, and Helm Crag before steeply dropping into the northwestern bits of Grasmere. The crags didn't require much climbing; they were short and moderate ups, and the views were gorgeous, so we were quite happy we chose this route.
I don't have photos of Grasmere itself, which is a shame. The experience was a bit odd -- we came down from all those rolling hills and crags, then took a suburban walking path and ended up right in the middle of tourist-central. Grasmere is a pretty little town with tons of shops...and tons of tourists, many of whom had arrived on buses. We used the town map within our guidebook to quickly walk through the narrow streets until we found the gingerbread shop.
There was a line out the door and the place looked small, so I sent the girls in with money while I waited outside and guarded our backpacks. I told them to get enough for two or three hiking days worth of lunches and snacks. They did, and apparently the salespeople were surprised at how much they bought, lol. This gingerbread has to be consumed within a week, and they bought so much (six full packs...most people buy one pack) the salespeople were sure the quantity wouldn't get eaten before it spoiled. The girls said they kept getting asked if they were sure they wanted to buy that much. They also bought a bunch of fudge.
|The girls bought six packs of the above|
We downed the first of the six packs, plus one pack of fudge (the girls had bought three) right there outside the store. That was lunch. We'd go through a second pack of gingerbread later in the day, and the rest was eaten over the following two days. When you hike every day for miles and miles over giant hills/small mountains, you burn off gingerbread and fudge pretty quickly. :)
After demolishing our lunch (and sharing some crumbs with a beautiful and large raven), we walked back through Grasmere and took the walking path back to the C2C. Then it was once again just us, the sheep, and the hills.
Up we went, toward Grisedale Pass and Grisedale Tarn. The path splits at one point and goes around the Great Tongue, which is a bit of land that likely looks like a tongue if you could see it from above. We took the right path -- it doesn't matter which way you go, as both paths join at the top of the Tongue.
From Grisedale Tarn, a hiker has three choices. She can go all the way up to Helvellyn, which is an experience described as a dangerous knife-edge with spectacular views -- this would have been ideal IF the weather had been dry. However, since it had rained all morning, and since the guidebook and everything I had read online describes Helvellyn as a perfect-weather-only experience (think the Knife Edge on Katahdin), and since we had already done the high route of the bits before Grasmere, we decided not to go up Helvellyn. We were all a bit disappointed since Helvellyn is the kind of thing that is usually right up our alley, but we decided it would be too risky with wet slabs and boulders. The second choice is to go up St. Sunday Crag, which looks pretty straightforward according to the guidebook. We decided not to go up that route either. It would have been fine with the weather (I don't think everything needs to be dry for that route), but at this point, if we weren't going to do Helvellyn then we just wanted to head for our night's destination. So down we went, using the third choice, which is just a descent into Patterdale.
|The tarn is where you make your choice as to which way you wish to continue|
From here, we walked a half mile or so off the Coast to Coast to our home for the evening, Noran Bank Farm. We arrived around 7pm.
Next post: Day Four: Patterdale to Shap (15 1/2 trail miles, plus probably a mile or two of getting lost...)