Ennerdale is one of my favourite parts of the Lake District. A fabulously beautiful stretch of water in a quiet location away from the crowds of Windermere and Keswick. It’s bliss. A great fortune, then, that the beginning of the C2C route’s second stage includes a walk along the full length of this smashing lake.
On a good path that has a bit of a scramble at times but is generally easy to follow, the 15 mile route pressed on through woodland after passing Ennerdale, slowly starting to climb as you stepped closer and closer to the falls of the national park.
If we stick to the guide book I’ve invested in (the Cicerone one with the OS maps in it), there’ll be 13 stages of the walk to complete as we leave the Irish Sea behind us and step closer and closer to the North Sea. Looking at a relief map of the route, is clear that there’s a big hill to summit on this leg, but there are steeper slopes to tackle in the coming stages.
The climb up the western fells on this route was, as is often the case, short and sharp, followed by a more gentle rise into the mountains above the Honister Slate Mine. Seeing the mine and Quarry workings was a major milestone on this route. It signified being well over half way with the finish in the valley below in sight. No pubs on this stage of the route to keep us refreshed, but we hoped to get to the cafe at the Slate mine for a drink, only to wind up there five minutes after closing time.
Honister has some great slate sculptures that you’ll pass even if it’s closed. And a weird poem about how great the Union flag is. No EU flags here, they say. Which may come as a bit of a surprise to some of the visitors we saw along the route who had arrived from the Netherlands to do the walk. We also saw a couple from Texas who has flown in wanting to complete it. They liked the sense of achievement offered by walking from one coast to the other.
The final bit of the stage was all down hill, along a path mirroring the Honister Pass all the way down to Seatoller. The finish point for us was in the next village along in Rosthwaite. And that’s where we’ll pick up next time, on a route that heads over the fells and calls in at Grasmere.