Day Four - Grasmere to Patterdale  

    Thursday 30th  April 2009

Ullswater after a wet day

Today was forecast to be wet and it was.  It would also turn out to be my off day, the nadir in the walk.  Later on we would be sitting in the bar at The White Lion and looking out at Place Fell bathed in early evening sunshine, but to get there we walked through heavy rain with strong winds blowing around our ears.

Breakfast in Grasmere's Red Lion was as you might expect for a three star hotel, there was a good choice, so I went for poached haddock, a favourite of mine.  Check out was late so because we didn’t have far to go and also in an attempt to allow the current drizzly weather to blow over, we didn't leave until 10:30.  However our departure was the signal for the rain to get heavier. 

Tongue Gill, once again, would have to be a slow steady pull.  This time it was also to be done with water proofs on.  The climb was okay and we weren't so aware of being sweaty because we were soaked anyway (around the head).

Near the top of the path levelled and then after a final sharp pull we reached Grisedale Hause between Helvellyn and Fairfield.  At this point we really became aware of the wind.  Perhaps the give away was water being blown back up over the lip of a water fall formed over the path's steps.

The wind was very strong and the hilltops in cloud, so although it was our original intention, we decided that a detour to the top of one of the nearby summits would be a waste of time, if not dangerous.  We followed the main path and it soon started to descend.

After ten minutes we had dropped out of the wind enough to stop to eat our lunches.  This we did standing with backs to the wind.  As had become normal practice Maggie had a chunk of cheese, but this time it was supplemented with some of my pasty.

We quickly set off again and as we descended further I was aware that my rucksack was heavier having absorbed a lot of water.  Furthermore some of this wetness was seeping through a gap between my jacket and leggings.   I readjusted the waterproofs but it was too late really.  David's rucksack cover was, on the other hand, doing a great job and at the end of the walk he had a dry rucksack, I didn't.

Half way down we passed a party of three going the other way.  They would be the only walkers we would see all day.

Of course, when we reached lower Grisedale it had stopped raining and the sun started to peep through the clouds.  We slowed down a bit, but still arrived at The White Lion at 2:45 and, surprise, surprise the Dutch crowd were already there enjoying a drink.  We wouldn’t see them again.  Maggie was soaked through and after a towel down found a quiet corner to lie down.  David and I started to dry out our various bits of clothing and equipment with every bit of drying space used.

I then took the opportunity for an hour's quality nap.  David had a shower and then a walk around the village it the afternoon’s sunshine. 

Dinner was at 6:30 and was huge.  Portions were not a problem at any of the places we stayed, and that was certainly true here.