Thursday, 13 September 2018

Lake District, September 2018. Day 7.

We were up early after another night of heavy rain.  The world was sparkling in the early morning sun and seemed freshly washed.  Today's plan was to walk to our sixth of the seven magnificent Long View trees inspired by the work of Harriet and Rob Fraser.
We were soon on the main road through Windermere to Ambleside, struggling in heavy traffic once more.  One might wonder why the Lake District isn't solid with people but as soon as towns and car parks are shunned for the fells most of the tourist visitors are left behind.  As we drove along, though, We couldn't fail to have our spirits lifted by the wonderful views,  stunning light and the sparkling lakes.
Having negotiated Ambleside we were soon parked up at Town Head farm which provides an informal car park for only £1 per day. Excellent value and well worth calling to buy eggs as well.  Above us reared the lofty slopes of Helm Crag and on its steep scree slopes our goal: the Under Helm Sycamore.  The narrow lane took us under and then past the cottages of Helmside as we headed into the valley of Greenburn.  Above us to our left were the slopes of Steel Fell which we had climbed a couple of years ago as part of the Greenburn Round, climbing the Wainwrights of Steel Fell, Calf Crag,  Gibson Knott and Helm Crag.
We crossed the footbridge over the beck and climbed steeply to the wall above on the path we had descended from Helm Crag.  Turning left we followed the path that hugged the wall above Ghyll Foot.  Soon the Sycamore came into view above the skyline, perched precariously on the steep scree slope beneath the beetling crags above.  We continued until we could strike up the fellside.  Heather found a spot from which to draw the tree while I scrambled up ever steepening boulders and scree until I was on a level with the tree and in a perfect position for the direction of the light.  The slopes were so steep that I felt as though I was looking straight down the chimney pots of Ghyll Foot.  How such a substantial tree could have grown and thrived in such an inhospitable spot, goodness only knows.  As a degree colleague commented on my Instagram feed, "It is nature's response to environment."
We enjoyed a happy hour up here waiting for the light, drawing and eating lunch before scrambling back down.  On reaching the car we called at the farm for eggs but sadly no-one was in.  It was now time for a spot of luxury so we called in at the Landgdale Chase Hotel for a late lunch with superb views over Windermere with launches and ferries busy steaming up and down the lake.
Ater calling at Stavely to pick up a baffle plate for our wood burning stove we returned to the caravan and the delicious aroma of beef in beer in the slow cooker.
A wonderful day.

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