The area around Rosthwaite has the highest level of rain in the UK, and at breakfast on day 3 it looked like we were in for a damp day. We ate in the hotel, where I made do with whatever vegan items I could find, then we set off.
Wainwright suggested walking from Rosthwaite to Patterdale in a single day, along with some optional climbs, but that seems a lot. Like most people, we were going to break the day in two, which also had the advantage of allowing us to explore Grasmere, one of Rosy’s favourite places to go on holiday.
The day’s walking began following a river before a long, slow ascent. The highest point was only about 400m, but this still felt challenging. We followed the path higher up the valley until we reached Lining Crag, where the footpath seemed to become almost vertical. We checked the map, but this was definitely the way. The climb was not quite as steep as it looked from below, but was still hard work. I looked back to see some other walkers checking the map the same as I had, sure the path couldn’t be taking that route.
At the top of the climb we found ourselves in thick cloud and, once again, wandered off-trail. We’d talked about our mistake the day before, and realised that we had jumped to a conclusion. If we’d checked the compass on our phones, it would have been obvious we were going the wrong way. We retraced our steps, and found the path again, along with another walker who confirmed we were on the right path.
(I should add here that relying on phones for wayfinding was irresponsible and possibly dangerous. For the next section of the Coast-to-Coast I will be bringing both proper maps and an analogue compass)
Given the weather, we decided against taking the high route, simply following the downhill path through the valley. We found a pathbuilder’s hut where we sheltered for lunch, and were soon joined by half a dozen other walkers. Very cosy.
Grasmere was disappointing. After a quiet day, we crossed a road and suddenly found ourselves in a packed town. I don’t understand why, when so much of the lakes are peaceful, everyone crammed themselves into one town. It also had the feel of tourist towns everywhere, with some incredibly brusque and rude restaurants. We eventually found our way to Tweedies Bar and Lodge, which had excellent food, beer and hospitality.
For our evening meal, we were less lucky – several restaurants were closed, and we needed to book for the others. We resorted to the YHA, which promised vegan pizzas – but they were out of vegan cheese. Grasmere was a definite disappointment. You can’t even get a decent view of the lake. There are two good things about the town – the excellent gingerbread and the path out.If you want to follow what I'm up to, sign up to my mailing list