Cumbria Way : Day 2

Most people would walk to Coniston in their first day of TCW but I am a bit unfit and quite lazy so I decided to get there on day two. Also people in other blogs said the last few kilometres by Coniston Water is a real slog and I wanted to enjoy it.

I actually slept better than in the hostel in London. Nothing beats an absence of snoring. Nothing!

So I had a cold and small breakfast (having a huge Full English Breakfast before saddling up for a major walk seems like insanity to me, but it’s tradition here) of cheese and hummus on tortillas, then set off.

If I didn’t see many people yesterday, I could halve that number today. I saw literally no one, not a soul, for the first four hours. I have read that the Lake District can be heaving with tourists all year round but that hasn’t been my experience so far. Maybe I’m not in the busy part yet? Anyhow, I enjoyed the views and took my time.

The stream above was my last view before I climbed a hill to reach Beacon Tarn, my first proper geographic feature.

And still no one in sight.

I sat to dry out my map (I’d used it as a ground sheet the night before – it was a waterproof OS map. So useful!) and have a snack and look at the water. After twenty minutes I looked behind me and a bunch of sheep had snuck up and were giving me baleful looks.

I like sheep. They are quiet and easy to ignore. Not like cows! Anyhoo, right after Beacon Tarn the landscape really opened up and there was a fabulous vista across to the Langdales. Probably. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

While the landscape was stunning it was also difficult to walk across. The path couldn’t decide whether or not it wanted to be a stream or a bog, and so in many places it was both.

The problem in the photo above isn’t actually the steam crossing, it’s the getting to and from – it’s all mud. I spent a lot of time walking back and forth at places like this, working out how to keep my feet dry. I succeeded though, so in your face, nature!

I will admit that the pack continued to weigh on me, and after about 10 km I got to a point where I was just bent over, dragging my walking poles like a cave man would drag his club and thinking tired thoughts. Fortunately I came to a stream that had a grassy bank, wildflowers and sun shine. It was time to sit down.

Over the next hill was Coniston Water and also phone reception. I took this stretch pretty easy, stopping to take photos, upload a few photos and rest every kilometre. My shoulders were getting very sore and dark clouds were rolling in.

Eventually I staggered into town and found The Sun Inn an a bunch of other walkers outside. I ended up sitting with them for a few hours then booking into the hotel when the rain started coming down in sheets.

I cannot tell you how good my pie and chips tasted. I might have even had a small tear in my eye at the fact that I was indoors by an open fire, I’d walked through stunning scenery and I had a comfy bed and my own private, indoor bathroom to use for the first time in nearly a week. In fact it was so good I booked two nights.

Marvellous!

9 thoughts on “Cumbria Way : Day 2

  1. How are your feet going? We want to walk the Camino and I’m really worried about shoes. I have very difficult feet and nothing is comfy after an hour or so. Do you swap shoes or have you found some you’d recommend? I’m so glad that they have nice warm hotels conveniently along the walks- very nice to know that there’s an alternative when the weather doesn’t play nicely.

    • I am wearing sportiva trail running shoes and I wore them for Oxfam and they are falling apart a bit but they have a rigid sole… i might do a little video about my kit actually:-). I had planned for Oxfam to change shoes but didn’t end up doing it, however if you have tricky feet then it’s a good strategy. I have pretty tough feet, the soles get sore but recover quickly and if you’re doing the Camino I’d recommend training by standing up all day even when not walking for the months beforehand. My sportiva shoes are also fairly waterproof, unlike regular trainers, however spain will be much drier (I imagine) than the uk. I considered boots but they are heavy and take up a lot of room – depends on your ankles and how much support you need.
      I’ve heard so many people rave about the Camino! I will do it one day. Are you using a bag transfer service? How far are you planning on walking a day?

      • We don’t have firm plans yet and will depend on how much time Tim will take off work( and also our fur boys). If we do the “lot” I’d allow 21/2 3 months and really enjoy it. If we did the bare minimum we could do 3 weeks at between 10-15 km per day depending on which leg we select. I would use a bag transfer- my back wouldn’t cope with walking AND carrying even 10 kg and I don’t want to do it as a penance, I want it to be a life affirming experience.

  2. When the bag feels too heavy I always feel it’s time to take advantage of the fact that you are lugging around a stove. Sit on said pack and make a brew using your jetboil. Rest your shoulders for a bit. Or did you do that already?

  3. I always carry a stove even on day walks from the car so I can have a hot drink. There is nothing better than a long sit down with a hot cup of tea. When backpacking I’ve lost count of the number of times when the pack weight gets you down and you stop, make a hot drink and suddenly all is right with the world

  4. The English countryside is so beautiful. Except for all the bogs. And scary cows. And shame about the hideous cold and damp too. Still though, that pub is cute and the pie looks good!

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