Smells like spring

If I had any readers they’d have noticed that it’s been a bit quiet around here. Partly due to a busy life doing other things, partly because the few times I have been out I just haven’t felt like writing.

As the weather starts to turn a little warmer then that strange little something deep in my bones that feels the call of the outdoors starts to rise with the rising temperature. So last Sunday the itch was scratched with a bit of a bimble around the bottom of Borrowdale with my better half. This walk was her choice but it was a good one. Castle crag is one of those hills I’ve always meant to get around to but somehow the call of the higher pointier bits means we always drive past on the way to somewhere else. On this occasion we found a spot to ditch the car on the side of the road near Rosthwaite. No mean feat since there appeared to be some sort of race happening. Nevertheless off we went ambling up Borrowdale back in the direction of Grange.

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Castle crag doesn’t look much from here. It’s the slightly pointy bit in the middle

When I sit at home on a cold wet night in February I have to admit that this is not the sort of place that draws the imagination but on the first sunny day in spring there is much to be said for the simple joy of being alive in a beautiful place on a beautiful day. We took our sweet time and very sweet it was too wandering along the banks of the River Derwent exploring the man made caves and avoiding the odd over exuberant spaniel who was convinced my pork pie was for him, or her I didn’t look that closely.

Somewhere before we turned uphill to sneak around the back of the crag the title of this post came about. Walking through the woods there was a distinct smell of warm dry leaves and dead bracken. The trees are still bare and the leaves haven’t quite come through yet but this is one of my favourite times of year. There’s still a nip in the morning but if you get out of the wind it’s pleasantly warm in the middle of the day.

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In another few months a swim might be tempting

As we turned up the hill around the back of the crag we encountered the crowds coming the other way. On a sunny day in spring who can blame them. On the rare occasions that it happens I love have a little corner of the lakes to myself but I still have to remember that I’m a tourist here just like everyone else. The terrain round here is all very gentle until you turn up the path to Castle Crag itself. Then this little hill starts getting delusions of grandeur and it’s twenty minutes of blood steep work to the top. Just before you reach the top you stagger over the top of a left over spoil heap from the slate quarry and stumble into a sculpture park. One day I will come back here for a wander around after the crowds have gone home.

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Not the best picture but the best I could get among the crowds

After the slog up the hill someone was feeling ever so slightly pleased with themselves at this point

DSC00098If you ever find yourself in the area with a couple of hours to kill the view from the top is worth the climb. Unfortunately the return of the sunshine means the return of the dreaded grey haze. I’m no photographer but even the few pros I’ve ever met reckon that there’s nothing you can do. The pictographic memory of those views we walk for will forever be less than the reality, at least until next winter. I suppose that’s just an excuse to get out more.

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From here we wandered along a path marked on the map as the Allerdale ramble towards Seatoller. Funnily enough once we passed the end of the path that leads directly back to Rosthwaite the peace and quiet returned. There were definitely fewer people on this last loop. From the hillside above Seatoller we took a turn through the woods and ambled back to Rosthwaite.

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I have no more words to add so I’ll leave this post with one last picture. This comes from earlier in the walk but this is a rare thing indeed, a picture with me in it that I don’t hate. Possibly because it was taken when I wasn’t looking. Yes I know that the background is utterly burnt out but I don’t care

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With the return of light and warmth so the call of the high country returns with it.

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