Thursday, 6 December 2012

Legless in the Lakes (Day 5)

Coniston.  What a difference a day makes.
If you've poured yourself a brew and settled down to read this blog then I'm afraid it's all going to be rather brief today on account of the weather.  Today, there was lots and lots of weather and none of it was particularly good.  You know how I said yesterday that there were two kinds of weather that weren't good for those who are unsteady on their feet but that at least they'd alternated?  Well today we got both together, and it wasn't pretty.  Don't get me wrong, snowy fells are a joy to behold, but not if you can't see them, and today we couldn't.  In fact we were hard pressed to see much more than 100 yards down the road at times.

The ice path from the disabled bay to
the shop.
We did have a plan, it was a lot less ambitious then yesterday's plan, but it went out of the window almost immediately we set foot outside.  The aim was to pick up where we left off yesterday, but this time on the right side of Wrynose/ Harnkott Pass.  We headed for Coniston hoping for a pretty drive, followed by a bit of a poke around Hawkshead and then Bowness.  When we left home it was raining.  At Newby Bridge the rain turned to sleet, and by the time we made it to Coniston it was snowing.  The drive up and over to Hawkshead was entertaining to say the least and I was very glad we didn't meet any of the lunatic busses coming the opposite way.

Creeping in to Hawkshead carpark we were very mindful of the ferociousness of their car parking system;  in short it costs and arm and a leg to park and if you fall foul of it you're likely to be shot at dawn.  Or something like that.  Having nabbed the last disabled spot available AND paid through the nose to park, we were more than a little disappointed to see that although there was a pile of grit next to the pay and display machine, no-one had actually spread any of it - or is that one of the requirements of parking there too, "grit your own path"?  What is simply a slushy path for most of us is a terrifying 50 yards if you're elderly and unsteady on your feet.  Mum was very keen to have a look around the whole of the village, but was unable to do anything other than peruse the main shop and have a coffee (more of that later).  Like most visitors she enjoys buying nick nacks on her travels so although it was only a small loss to local businesses it was still a loss.

Home again, home again, jiggety jig.
Whilst Mum was pootling around the main store me & Steve made a dash for one of the outdoor goods shops and I moved over to the dark side.  Yes, having berated walking pole carriers in the past I have now, reluctantly, had to join their ranks.  The fact is that I am incredibly unsteady on my feet (even when 100% gin free) and it was only a matter of time before I did myself a mischief.  So I am now the proud(ish) owner of a pole which also doubles as a camera stand.  And I'm pretty sure that if you twist the bottom section three times to the right it fires a poison dart.

And so back to mum who was, by now, in the cafe enjoying a coffee and a tea cake.  As you'll know if you're a regular reader, I am a passionate supporter of local businesses and keen to promote them wherever and whenever I can.  "Credit where credit is due", that's my motto.  Unfortunately there was no credit due today.  We were charged a new record price of £7.30 for a pot of tea for 2 and 2 toasted teacakes.  My cup was dirty so I returned it and asked for another only to be met with an evil glare and a wordless exchange of cups.  Not so much lacking in festive spirit as lacking in any spirit at all.  And nothing cheers my heart more as a customer than hearing 2 employees complain loudly about their jobs and employer within earshot.  We would have loved to have stayed and listened longer but a) it was freezing cold in there and b) we couldn't afford to take out a mortgage for an additional hours parking...

As the weather how now settled into a steady, if monotonous, downpour of snowy, rainy, sleety slush we headed for home and an afternoon of hot tea, sausage rolls and festive movies.  Tomorrow the forecast is for dry weather and temperatures above freezing.  That being the case I'm going to take the advice of one of the commenters from a couple of days ago and spend the time exploring good old Grange and perhaps nipping over to Cartmel.  I believe there's a bylaw in these parts which states that you have to consume at least one sticky toffee pudding per quarter, and I do so like to keep on the right side of the law.