Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Legless in the Lakes (Day 4)

Stunning morning in Grange
When you're none to nifty on your pins 2 sorts of weather are particularly bothersome:  rain, because you can't really nip in and out of places to avoid it and ice because it makes everything slippy.  This week we've alternated between the two which, although problematic, has at least provided us with a little variety.  With today's icy conditions arriving hot (or should that be cold) on the heels of yesterday's rain the roads and pavements were even more entertaining than usual, so we came up with a plan for the day which went something like this:  Drive to Wast Water to take mum to the very heart of the Lake District and see Britain's favourite view (well, very nearly) then, once things have thawed a little nip over to Coniston for a spot of lunch and then work our way home via Hawkshead and Bowness.  Those of you familiar with the geography (and roads) of the area will have already spotted the flaw in that plan.

Just stunning today.
The first part went rather well and we were soon round at Wast Water where both the views and the weather were breathtaking.  Heaven knows how cold it must have been up on the fell tops as it was perishing down in the valley, even in the sun.  We parked up as close as reasonably possible to "Britain's Favourite View" then gallantly left mum in the car for 30 mins to fend for herself while we scuttled around and took a few snaps.  You'll be amazed who else we spotted out there, though you'll need to keep your eye on my Twitter or FB page over the next couple of weeks to find out more...

A most welcome view...
And so to phase two, the drive to Coniston.  Now there's and interesting drive. Leave Wast Water, head to Gosforth, hang a left and keep going until the road gets all lumpy...  Pretty soon we had the combined forces of Hardknott and Wrynose Pass to contend with but we have a 4 wheel drive, and there were no warning signs out so what could possibly go wrong?  Well, the ashen faced group in the Ford Fiesta were our first clue.  Then there was the Ford Couga wedged sideways halfway around a hairpin.  Then there was the large Jeep with the guy telling us we'd be nuts to try and get any further.  We stopped.  I was driving so Steve hopped out and was sent ahead to evaluate the route and our chances of making it.  He reported back that there was around 5m of sheet ice right across the road with no way around so, deciding that discretion was the better part of valour and that a new car would be the better part of five grand, we turned around and headed back down.

By now it was well past 2 so we made the difficult decision to dive into the first pub we saw for a spot of late lunch.  The first place we found had put all their signs out, even the ones in the road, but turned out to be closed for refurbishment.  Obviously...  Still we met up with the couple from the sideways Ford Couga who told us about their adventure.  Apparently they came over from Wrynose pass where the road was marked as closed but they "drove around the signs and gave it a go anyway".  My sympathy for them diminished a little.

We hopped back into the car and continued on until we found the fantastical Brook House Inn; let me tell you now, if you are ever anywhere near this place then you simply MUST stop for food & drink.  There's a nice big sign on the door saying "Walkers Welcome", a lovely fire chugging away in the corner and friendly staff just waiting to help the weight of the world lift from your shoulders.  My Stilton and Pear sarnie was glorious, as was the large glass of Riesling I had to go with it - the Riesling was purely for medicinal purposes to calm my nerves after our scary adventure, honest.  Plus it was Steve's turn to drive anyway.  Pretty soon there were three empty plates (4 if you count the one the medicinal chips came on...) and it was time for us, quite literally, to head off into the sunset with me smugly thrilled that we had successfully avoided garden centres for the entire day, though with the weather forecast for tomorrow being for torrential rain, I don't expect my "garden centre free streak" to last...