Day Five - Patterdale to Shap  

    Friday 1st  May 2009

Haweswater from Measland End

The weather forecast was that we would have a couple of hours’ dryness then a band of rain would settle over most of Cumbria.  With that in mind and with a long day ahead we tried to get an early start and after a little bit of chit chat at breakfast we left at 8:30. (I think)  To leave before 7:30 would have been impossible because the door through to the bar and the exit was locked (there was a fire escape) so I had to postpone Maggie’s early walk.

We left in sunshine and were quickly climbing the side of Place Fell.  Once again we took it steady, but today it was David's turn to have an off day.  He had not been looking forward to this bit and he never did get into the mood. 

We reached the day's highest point after about two hours.  Rather than follow the path we planned to cut the corner at Knott up the grassy bank to Rampsgill Head then, deviating from the normal route and instead of dropping straight down to Haweswater, maintain our height and follow the ridge from High Raise, to Low Raise then down at Measland End to join the reservoir path only half a mile from the dam.  This was a good choice and the next hour was a pleasant ridge walk with excellent views of all the surrounding valleys and fells.  The weather remained fair, if windy, and it was with surprise that it started to rain as we started the climb down to Measland Forces.  Reaching the reservoir side the rain had set in and looking back the hills were covered in cloud and rain.

A sizeable lunch was eaten taking cover behind a wall before completing the half mile to the dam.  Here we effectively left Lakeland.

We made steady, if soggy, progress past sheep and cows.  Crossed two picturesque packhorse bridges and then came to Shap Abbey.  It was still raining, but we still had a quick look around -   David with a certain bit of nostalgia (having worked for English Heritage).  It was such a contrast to 1997 when I sat for 30 minutes in pleasant sunshine in the same location. 

Sightseeing over, we started the day’s final mile arriving at New Ing Lodge at about 3:20. This was another slightly strange place, but we did have single rooms, just no locks on the doors.  Shortly after we arrived a group of, I think, seven middle aged blokes appeared.  First sight was of one of them walking up the stairs in his underpants!  They were having a fine, if loud, time of it.  We wouldn’t really get to talk to them until the morning.  David had however seen them in The White Lion the previous day!

David had an hour’s sleep before we went down the road to The Bulls Head for a couple of pints.  Next it was fish, chips and mushy peas, from the chippy, for both of us.  We then returned to the B&B and David went to bed.