Sunday, June 27, 2010


South Shore of Ennerdale Water

Day 2:  Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite

By the morning of the second day of our coast-to-coast trek across England, the drizzling  rain of the previous afternoon had subsided and we were looking forward to the beckoning fells of the Lake District National Park. The day called for a strenuous, 14 mile hike from Ennerdale Bridge to the hamlet of Rosthwaite, which is located in the stunningly beautiful Borrowdale Valley.  

We started the day by walking across country lanes and paths to Ennerdale Water, the most westerly lake of the Lake District.  We then followed the rocky path along the south shore of the lake to the base of Angler's Crag, where we scrambled up rocks to a higher elevation that provided lovely views of Bowness Knot and the other fells on the northern shore of the lake.  Heading eastward again, we passed through a magical patch of woodlands before reaching the end of the lake, where we took our first break of the day.

Ennerdale Water, Angler's Crag (Right), and Bowness Knot (Left)

South Shore of Ennerdale Water

Rocky Path on Ennerdale Water
    Bowness Knot to Left
 Rocky Outcrop at top of path
 is known as "Robin Hood's Chair"

C2C Hiker Camped at Robin Hood's Chair
Bowness Knot in Background

Climbing Through Rocks at Base of Angler's Crag

The Magical Ennerdale Woodlands

 Through Ennerdale Woodlands

Taking a Break at end of Ennerdale Water

Leaving Ennerdale Water, we crossed the River Liza and headed up a track through the Ennerdale Forest to the Black Sail Hut, which Wainwright described at "the loneliest and most romantic of Youth Hostels."  After a brief lunch, we faced our first big challenge of the day -- a climb up the steep and rock-laden slopes of Loft Beck.  Once on top, however, we were treated to sensational views of Haystacks, Wainwright's favorite peak (and where his ashes were scattered), as well as the Buttermere Valley, which glistened in the distance. We then moved on to a track that descended to the Honister slate mines, where there was a welcome tea room.  From that point, we descended further into the emerald green Borrowdale Valley, ending the day with a lovely walk through Johnny's Wood along the River Derwent.  Shortly thereafter, we arrived at our evening's accommodations in Rosthwaite and Stonethwaite.

The Track to the Black Sail Youth Hostel (middle distance), 
with the Steep Climb up Loft Beck Waiting in the Background

Black Sail Hut

Taking a Break Before the Ascent of Loft Beck

Beginning the Ascent of Loft Beck

Continuing to the top of Loft Beck

View from top of Loft Beck
Haystacks to Left
Buttermere Valley in the Distance

Heading Toward Borrowdale Valley,
Seen in the Distance

Borrowdale Valley

Johnny's Wood

Johnny's Wood and the River Derwent

Walking into Rosthwaite

Next Posting:  Day 3 -- Rosthwaite--Grasmere--Glenridding


  1. inspiring walk with you George, before I commit my mind to a photoshop tutorial. The Ennerdale Woodlands are magical!! Did you encounter any fairies? And the views of Borrowdale valley simply exquisite. Such greens ...

    You are very kind to provide us with a glimpse into your adventure. Is it now going to be a yearly challenge?

  2. Bonnie,

    Thanks. I did not encounter any fairies, but I felt their presence constantly. At this point, I do not know whether the C2C will be a yearly challenge, but I can assure you this: I will find new challenges each year. As Tennyson says in "Ulysses," "How dull it is to pause, not to shine in use . . ."

  3. I'm following this with great interest,George. I stayed in Black Sail Hut many years ago, my mum took me on a walking tour of the Lake District as a boy of 11. Is it still a Youth Hostel? It was very misty when we were up there and a great adventure.
    Don't worry about Great Britain tipping over, it's probably due to too many people living on the east side, I'm surprised that it's not tipping to the south east! ... Tramp

  4. To Tramp,

    How great to hear that you were at Black Sail Hut many years ago. It is still a Youth Hostel and the surrounding area is as wild and beautiful as ever. Wainwright, who is responsible for establishing the C2C, had his ashes spread at Indominate Tarn in the area called Haystacks just above the Black Sail Hut. What memories you must have, as I do now.

  5. Bonnie beat me to asking if you saw faeries. Well, I'm glad you felt them. Are there faerie forts in England? There are in Ireland, and that is the terrain your photos remind me of. We took horse traps through Kinsale, and hiked a short distance where it's too steep for horses to pull people, and that area is almost identical to this in character.

    You said in the last post you had to put your camera in your pack during the Dent Fell trek, and I assume that means the camera is not a small point and shoot. Your photographs are absolutely splendid. May I ask what you shoot with?

  6. Ruth,

    I usually shoot with a Nikon 35mm SLR and multiple lenses. On a trip like this, however, minimizing the weight one carries is vital to success, so I took a Canon G10, an amazing small camera that can be used in a point and shoot mode, but which can also be used manually or with other creative settings in much the same way that I use the Nikon. It's a 14 megapixel camera that has captured the imagination of professionals for travel and street photography. I hope this helps.

  7. Yes, it does, thank you for the information. I have heard that the new point and shoot models have some of the same technology as SLRs, which is a pretty great feature for a trip like this.

  8. You've definitely got me going with the photos of Ennerdale. It's one of the valleys of the Lake District I've not explored. I'll do my best to get there this summer, preferably with a tent.

    The nearest I got was a walk from Buttermere to Great Gable via Haystacks - so I got to look down into it.

    I'm not sure if you've been to the Lake District before. One of the drawbacks to following footpaths is all the things you miss on the way that lie off it: so you miss out Wasdale, Scafell, Coniston, Coniston Old Man, Blencathra, etc. All fantastic places. If you don't know them, and loved this part of the walk, come back!

  9. To Dominic,

    Thanks for the comments and the suggestions. My wife and I did some walking in the Lake District some years ago, primarily around Buttermere, Ambleside, Grasmere, and Coniston, as I recall. I am always intrigued, however, by the places one can find off of established footpaths, so I will definitely check out the places you suggest when I return to the Lake District, as I will.

  10. The top of Haystacks is one of my favourite places, George. It's so complex, so various.

    Loving your journey!

  11. Glad to know that you have been to the area around Haystacks, Robert. It was Wainwright's favorite spot also. It's a place where things are reduced to their essence and time seems to stand still.

  12. I feel exhausted just looking at the photographs! I have every sympathy with the walker who is lying flat out at Black Sail Hut:)The scenery in the Lakes is wonderful,you've taken some really great photos especially the one looking down into the Buttermere Valley. I'm enjoying following your journey.

  13. To Rowan,

    Thanks for the comments Rowan, and I'm glad you are enjoying the record of my journey. You are blessed to live in such a beautiful country with such great walking opportunities.