Monday, 28 October 2019

Lake District, October 2019. Day 3

Although yesterday the weather had cleared, a constant series of brief showers blew through overnight, one of which we woke up to.  Undaunted we were, unusually, up briskly and ready for off early.  Traffic was incredibly busy on the way to Ambleside although we did manage to get parked on the Under Loughrigg lane.  Quickly ready, we set off up the incredibly steep initial road section which soon had me gasping.  Unfortunately I am fighting my medication all the time.  The beta blocker forces me into a low heart rate (half Thomas's) which means my legs don't get enough oxygen, leaving me breathless and heavy legged.  Uphill running does the same.  Nonetheless plenty of brief breathing stops sorts the problem out.  
The autumn colours were stunning: reds, oranges, bronzes, browns and gold,still with a sprinkling of contrasting green.  Views across the valley and up Rydal Beck to the Fairfield Horsefield Horseshoe were wonderful.  
Once onto the open fellside paths were everywhere and it was a case of choosing whichever suited best.  As we climbed higher we gained expansive views into Langdale with the Pikes, Bowfell and Crinkle Crags dominating the head of the valley.  Directly below us was Loughrigg Tarn from which there are noted views of the Pikes.  Above us soared and tumbled ravens, acrobats of the sky with their joyous cronking calls.  12.30 signalled the obligatory lunch stop for which we had bought magnificent Bath Buns from The Apple Pie cafe in Ambleside; delicious.
After lunch we quickly pulled up to the summit and with views over Grasmere and the main road pass of Dunmail Raise and to the north the high tops of Helvellyn.  At a modest 325m Loughrigg is a lowly summit but has, in my opinion, some of the best views in the Lakes.  Spread all around were all the fells I had climbed over a lifetime's association with the Lake District.  I was also delighted that this was my first summit since heart surgery in January.
All too soon it was time to descend the vertiginous slopes towards Grasmere and Loughrigg Terrace, the delightful undulating path that contours along the flanks of the fell above the lakes of Grasmere and Rydal Water.  The beach and oakwood in the valley glowed in the golden afternoon light.  Once back at the car it was time to return to the van and a Booths fish pie.
Later in the evening I went out to look at the night sky which was awe inspiring. Not only were the main constellations crisp and clear, there were myriad other stars and the Milky Way arched over the site.
A magical day.
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