This trip was a challenge: 4 days after I came back from London at 5 am, I had to leave the campus at 5.30. Basically, the plan was to leave York way too early, to do 2, 3 good hikes at Lake District (i.e. at the opposite side of England, North-West). One 6 hours long walk to go to the hostel, and two smaller the day after. Which meant that whatever we wanted to bring to the hostel had to be carried all the way. I think that the Erasmus Society, who organized the trip, didn’t plan that around 30 people would show up.
But here we were, 6.55am at the Train station, ready to go.
The trajectory was kind of a mess: from York to Manchester, wait 30mn there than Manchester to Windermere.
So as planned we arrived there around 10.30am. And after 5 minutes spent in the village itself, epiphany: we successfully got rid of the red bricks. All the houses and walls are made from proper slates, giving a (totally new for me in England) a black hue to the village. Small village, by the way: after the visit of a antiquity and the local Morrisons, we headed to the car park.
And after a 30mn long ride, around 12, it started: we got down the bus, and followed Derek, who led us for a good part of the trip. The landscape is shaped by the river and the contours of the pastures, and we quickly get deep into the mountain. And the first look in our back was very surprising:
We quickly realized how Lake district doesn’t only have lakes: compared to York and the flat vale 10km around, we had to climb for 1h30 from the height of 200m to 600m to reach our first stop, Grisedale Tarn.
That gave us a hard time to find a not too windy place to have lunch: as the most clever followed the rim of the tarn, a lot of us decided to stay higher. Which led us to follow a very sloping and snow-covered path, that most of us left sliding on the snow (fun time !).
So we reached the highest point of the day: at 3pm and for the following 2&1/2 hours, we would follow a path down the dale, without ever reaching the sun, that continuously moved away from us.
And after we’ve been back up the next hill, we finally can admire our first proper lake: Ullswater, and the small town Glenridding at its border.
An hour later we arrived to the hostel, got a shower and some food. We decided to have a drink in town, and came back to the hostel around 11 for the first, getting ready for the early walk the day after.
Day 2: the Red Tarn, and Ambleside to Windermere
For those who dared, the day began early: after a quick breakfast, we left the hostel at 8.30 for the Red Tarn. Without really knowing what it was, we were up to a 3h long walk from 400m to 700m. The weather was good, and at the top we were rewarded with a frozen lake and an impressive view on the highest local peak, a snow-capped mountain lying 200m above us. The tarn was very tantalizing to walk on, even if 3 meters from the rim we could hear the first cracks.
The return took us all down to Glenridding, for a break by the lake. Joining the rest of the group, some of us gave a try to rock skipping, took some group pictures.
Then we boarded the bus to Ambleside: there we had 1h~1h30 of spare time, spent either in a restaurant or just having lunch outside in the village.
For the second walk of the day, we split in two groups: one made the walk to Windermere while the other one took the ferry. I joined the walking group, and off we were for 2h30, going along the lake on the hills, just high enough to be able to have one or two good views on Windermere (the lake).
Even if we got quite lost sometimes, the walk was really easier than the two first ones.
If it wasn’t for the 5 hours long travel between York and Lake district, I would go more often: the landscape is amazing and very diverse; I think everybody can find a walk for his level. And the ones we had were sometimes very challenging !
A very good idea that Erasmus society had for this trip.