Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Hiking Towards Grasmere 
Eagle Crag Above Path


The third day of our coast-to-coast trek across England was a relatively short but challenging ten miles between Rosthwaite and Grasmere. Before sharing the experiences of that day, however, I invite the reader to a sonnet by Wordsworth, the Lake poet and nature mystic whose name will always be associated with the Lake District, particularly Grasmere, where he lived and wrote for a significant period of his life.  The sentiments expressed in this sonnet explain why many of us are drawn to the rugged, pristine beauty of places like the Lakeland Fells.


    The world is too much with us; late and soon,
    Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
    Little we see in Nature that is ours;
    We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
    This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
    The Winds that will be howling at all hours
    And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
    For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
    It moves us not -- Great God!  I'd rather be
    A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
    So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
    Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
    Have sight of Proteus coming from the sea;
    Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.


Coming out of the Borrowdale Valley
Rosthewaite in Distance

Ascending Through Ferns Toward Greenup Edge

Continuing the Ascent

Greenup Edge and Lining Crag in Distance
Note Outline of Path on Slope Beneath Crag

The Path up Begins to get Muddy

Beginning Descent Toward Grasmere

Small Waterfall Near Lunch Site 

Continuing Towards Grasmere

Coming into Grasmere

Houses on Stream in Grasmere


Leaving Grasmere, we took a country lane to Mill Bridge and then followed a rocky path that ascended alongside Tongue Gill to the top of Grisedale Pass (aka "Grisedale Hause").  Near the top, however, the weather changed abruptly, shrouding us with fog and limited visibility. We pressed on, nonetheless, descending past Grisedale Tarn and ultimately taking refuge for lunch on the lee side of a hill near a monument known as the Brother's Parting Stone.  The monument marks the spot where Wordsworth last saw his brother, John, who drowned in 1805 when his ship, The Earl of Albergavenny, sank at sea.

After our brief lunch stop, we continued our descent through the Grisedale Valley, welcoming the improvement in the weather that came with lower elevations.  Late in the day, we reached the shores of Ullswater, England's longest and second largest lake. We then walked on to Glenridding, where we spent the evening after a fine meal at the appropriately named Ramblers Bar. 

The First Ascent Outside of Grasmere

Continuing the Ascent Toward Grisedale Pass

Climbing to Grisedale Pass

Hikers Seeking Refuge from Weather Atop Grisedale Pass

Pressing Over Grisedale Pass Through Fog

Lunch Break Beneath Brothers Parting Stone

Descending Through Grisedale Valley

Abandoned Stone Farmhouse

Old Farm in Grisedale Valley


The Ramblers Bar in Glenridding

Next Posting:  Days 5 and 6 -- Glenridding-- Shap--Kirkby Stephen


  1. One of my favourite passages of Wordsworth, George. May we all reclaim what's ours, before getting and spending have taken us to a place of complete alienation from the natural world. Though, in certain moods, I fear it may be too late to go back.

  2. To SW,

    I agree, Robert. "Getting and spending" can never fill an empty heart; only nature and a sense of being part of something larger than one's self or possessions can do that.

  3. There's nothing like stone and green to lose the cares of the world in (and maybe rejoice in being a pagan . . .).

  4. To Ruth,

    Thanks for the comment. It's sounding more and more like you are a candidate for the C2C.

  5. George, this is amazing. I love the dip and swell of the land. The hills are living, breathing entities. And all the shades of green are wonderful. I had to go back and start reading again from Day 1. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful experience!

  6. Julie,

    Thanks for the nice comments. Glad to know that others are enjoying my adventure as well.

  7. hopefully 'they' never find oil there-- forgive me I have just been watching news footage of the oil spill off of our gulf coast-- of dead animals and destroyed ocean water and beaches-- all for the stupid greed of humans-- so hopefully they never find oil there because you are walking in beautiful pristine green hills--

  8. George,

    I'm out of town and not online much, but in my brief online time today I had to check out some of your photos. Such green! We (californians) only get to see that a few months of the year and definitely not in the summer!

    I'll try to catch up with your other posts as I can... and I did finally reply to your nice comment about creativity over on Temporary Reality. Sorry, bit slow!

  9. To Donna,

    I understand your anger more than you know. I am originally from southern Mississippi, very near the Gulf Coast, and I still have family in that area. This is not just a news event for the people of that region; it is a fundamental change in the way of life that they and their ancestors have enjoyed for centuries. For the rest of us, the lesson is clear: Individual and corporate greed, fueled by the theology of unregulated free market capitalism, will eventually destroy the environment and all else that we hold dear. Will we ever come to our senses? History would suggest that we will not, at least not in the short term. One can only hope that we will regain our sanity before it is too late, if indeed it is not too late now.

  10. To Neighbor,

    Thanks for the nice comments. It's nice to know that you are enjoying the coast to coast trip vicariously. Every piece of green we see -- every place of wildness -- should remind us all of the beauty that we have received through grace. It is ours to enjoy and protect, not to squander.

    Thanks for the note in response to my creativity comment. Just stay with the creative process, taking what I call the NATO approach -- Not Attached To Outcome.

  11. Worsdsworth puts my own feelings into words so beautifully. I hadn't realised that his brother died at sea. I was in Grasmere a couple of years ago visiting Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount where he lived. I did a post if you are interested and would like to see photos - Oct 2008. I love your photo of the old farmhouse, life must have been hard for those who lived there but what a wonderful setting. You had a taste of the unpredictable Lakeland weather too I see:)

  12. To Rowan,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments, and I will check out your October 2008 posting. Yes, we had a taste of the unpredictable Lakeland weather, but I enjoyed every moment of it. As Wordsworth notes in the poem quoted in this posting, it's often reassuring to see Proteus coming out of the sea and hear old Triton blow his horn.

  13. Thanks for visiting my blog George - and for leaving such an interesting comment. This is a return call and I like what I read, so shall put you on my blog list at once. To think - when you walked the coast to coast you passed within a very few miles of our farm. Do call again.

  14. To Weaver,

    Thanks for the nice comments. I follow your blog regularly and find it both interesting and satisfying. What a pleasure it must be to live near the C2C path. I found the country stunningly beautiful from one coast to the other.

  15. Hello again, George. I'd like to recommend a book to you (I'm big on book recommendations). It is by Howard McCord, who is also an amazing poet and writer. He was my professor many moons ago. The book is called "Walking to Extremes." It is about his experiences of walking through Iceland and New Mexico. You can read a synopsis of it at this link:

    I'm not trying to do a hard sell, and I don't get a cut of the profit...haha. I haven't seen him for years. My eyes just fell on the book on my shelf, and it made me think of you. Have you ever considered putting your experiences in a book of your own? I have enjoyed reading about it here.

  16. To Julie,

    Thanks so much, Julie. I will definitely get the book and read it. From the synopsis, it appears to be exactly the kind of work that I am drawn to, outward journeys that have even greater inner significance. Yes, I have often thought about a book of my own, and it may happen eventually. At this point, however, I am content just living as creatively as possible in every moment.

  17. I love hiking in the fog--I have good memories of doing it along the north coast of California--in similar terrain

  18. Welcome aboard, Sage. Glad that you are enjoying the C2C.

  19. George
    I have been away for a few days and so am catching up on the blogs.
    One thing I remember so vividly on that holiday in the Lakes with my mother many years ago was how quickly the weather changed. She taught me to respect it, be prepared for it and to enjoy it...Tramp

  20. To Tramp,

    Your mother taught you well. It can be sunny and warm in one moment and cold and blustery in the next. I like the changes, however. The unpredictability of the weather has elements of mystery and adventure in it.