Friday, 6 April 2018

Lake District, March 2018. Day 5, Friday 30th March

A night of rain heralded a damp and gloomy morning, but fortunately, as the day went on, the weather improved to give a beautiful late afternoon.  Thomas arrived early for post breakfast coffee and mega hot cross buns, heavy and wonderfully rich and spicy.  The aim of today was to climb up onto Holme Fell above Tilberthwaite for the views over to the Langdale Pikes and later to explore Hodge Close Quarry, one of our favourite locations for photography.
We were soon parked up at the quarry, after negotiating the very narrow and rough lane up to it.  Climbing up through the beautiful woodlands we came out on the open fellside with views opening up over the trees to the Langdale valley.  All of the higher fells were blanketed white, the night's rain falling as snow on the tops.  Holme fell is a modest hill of only 317m but it is a lack of stature in height only as the views from it, as from many other lower fells, are superb.  The best mountain views are often not from the summits where height diminishes that of others but from mid height.  We quickly scambled up onto the summit and enjoyed lunch on our lofty perch with expansive views all around.  There was a chill in the air, however, so we didn't tarry long.  Wandering back down we paused at the disused reservoir just above the tree line fascinated by the large numbers of amorous frogs.  Spring is definitely on the way.
Back down at the quarry we enjoyed a couple of hours exploring and scrambling down into its depths.  Hodge Close Quarry is one of many slate workings in the Tiberthwaite Valley between Coniston and Langdale.  Its original depth was 300 feet and it was worked from the 19th century until closing in the 1960s.  One end of the workings are filled to half of its depth with deep green water.  It is popular with cllimbers, sporting routes of the highest grades, while the 150 feet of flooded workings and tunnels are explored by divers.  It is a beautiful and mysterious spot with silver birch woodland growing over the old spoil heaps.  Sadly it is also a dumping ground for anything from cars to domestic refuse.  Why do people want to drive miles to a remote beauty spot to dump their rubbish when there are perfectly adequate public tips.  It makes my blood boil.
Our day ended with a pint in the excellent Watermill Inn at Ings on the way back to the caravan and pork cooked in the slow cooker with cider, apples, sage and cream.  Excellent!
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