With the opening of the Threlkeld to Keswick railway footpath, today was definitely going to be my easiest day of walking yet.
The pub Id stayed at in Threlkeld was even more dog-friendly than all the other places I’ve been; treats, water and towels to wipe the dogs down.
I had a perfect Cumbrian breakfast at the Horse and Farrier and would love to return there on my next trip. The service was so good and the food was excellent! I’d highly recommend it to anyone coming to the area. Also it was the first place I’ve stayed to have USB points in the room, which was very handy. On the way out of town I took photos of some of the classic Lakeland buildings.
The rail trail is 5km long and very flat but winds through some gorgeous scenery. It wasn’t open last time I was here due to storm damage, so I’m glad it was part of the trip this time.
Near the start I walked past two older gentlemen who stood gazing at the view. I stopped for a moment and said ‘It’s perfect,’ and one of them turned around and solemnly nodded and said in a very northern accent ‘Aye, it is,’ and I felt like we understood each other perfectly. Japan has popularised the concept of ‘tree bathing’ – going out in forests and soaking in nature. There’s definitely a similar feeling here. Just people staring at the scenery and soaking it up like they’re a battery being recharged.
I was definitely heading against the flow as the number of people walking towards me increased towards Keswick, the tourism hub of the northern lakes. For the first time I got a bit over saying ‘Good morning’ to everyone I passed. Well, except to one older fellow and his elderly dog. Somehow we managed to be walking in the same direction and first I passed him while he was giving his dog a break, then he passed me while I was fixing my socks, then I passed him while he was having a rest, then again he passed me and then finally I passed him at the end of the walk and said ‘Fancy seeing you here!’ And we both laughed. Possibly you had to be there, but it was just a ‘laughing with strangers’ kind of day.
The rail trail ends at one of the highest points in town and walking down into the town feels a bit like coming home. I must have looked like I knew where I was going because a lady watched several people pass before she jumped out of her car and asked me for directions. I think my giant backpack makes people think I know where everything is. I mean, I do know where most things are, and she wanted to walk up Latrigg so I confidently pointed out where to go and told her about the car park behind the hill.
I walked straight to the campsite on the lake and put up my tent. There were only two other little tents in the large space next to the water, however the line of caravans waiting to get in stretched out of sight. I was later told that caravans need to book at least six months, if not 18 months in advance, and here I was just walking in.
The reception was closed when I arrived but when I went back to pay later on they still had my details in their system and I found that very satisfying for no reason at all.
I walked to Booths, which is a fancy supermarket around the corner, and gazed wistfully at all the posh food before buying some hand cream. Being blasted by the wind all day is starting to take its toll.
Then I walked to one of my favourite cafes, Mrs F’s.
I had an amazing zucchini soup there last time (there is such a thing!) and, despite the whole town being rammed with people, there was no one in the cafe except the son of the owner, who told me his mum would be back in a minute. I was in no hurry so I sat down. The owner came back and I had some tea and a intimidatingly large slice of coffee and walnut cake. I wouldn’t have chosen that flavour usually, but I’ve been reading Stephanie Plum novels and the characters are always talking about coffee cake.
The cafe is a delightfully eclectic mix of old furniture, Knick knacks and mismatched stuff. The owner is from London, although she had been to Australia. She had bought a car with some friends and driven from Melbourne to Perth and loved it. Today was her daughter’s 16th birthday and she was expected imminently, school having just finished for the day. Sadly I left before the daughter and her friends appeared – my impression from the discussion between mother and son was that her arrival was going to be quite dramatic and possibly full of teenage attitude, but I finished my cake and tea too quickly and decided to move on.
Afterwards I bought a couple of postcards, a book, and went to have a drink and sit in the Dog and Gun, a place Luke and I enjoyed on our last trip.
A couple came in with two very calm Siberian huskies and sat next to me. We had a little chat about their beautiful dogs and then everyone else who walked past also stopped to chat about their dogs and compliment them. People even pulled dog treats out of their pockets to give them. Initially I thought ‘how nice’ and then I thought ‘what a pain in the bum’ – it must be annoying to only have people want to talk to you about one topic (that being said, most people only want to talk to me about their relations in Perth). I said this to them but they graciously said they didn’t mind.
I guess it’s to be expected in this dog-obsessed country, and if you’re going to walk around with two canine supermodels you can’t be surprised when the paparazzi follow you everywhere.
Next was back to the campsite to have a shower before the cold set in. Apart from going to bed clean, the other benefit of an afternoon shower is that the block has just been cleaned. Also there was no one else using it, which was nice!
After I was dressed and dry I wandered down to the water and got talking to a couple from Liverpool (Caroline and Dave) with a cute little fluffy dog (Milo). We talked about travel – they had bought a camper van recently and we’re testing it out before taking a month long trip to Scotland in May. We chatted for ages but then the wind picked up and I walked back into town for a dinner of Thai, during which I was happy to have my noise canceling AirPods to hand in order to drown out the extremely loud table of tourists that sat down very close to me (and they ordered CHIPS. In a Thai restaurant!). The other couple nearby looked like they wished they’d brought their AirPods too.
Back at the campsite the sun was slowly going down. I spent a while watching the colours change before getting into my sleeping bag (where I am writing this) to discover that someone in one of the neighbouring tents is snoring so loudly I think the people in the caravans must be able to hear him. Thank god for noise canceling earbuds… again!
So, my first night actually camping. Dave told me there’s supposed to be an hour of extremely high winds tomorrow during the day so we’ll see how that goes!
I nearly forgot: I saw a guy swimming today. Hopefully someone has alerted the nearest asylum to let them know one of the inmates has escaped.
2 thoughts on “Threlkeld to Keswick”
Heheh swimming guy.
I think most people who have their dogs out with them are so in love with their dogs that they’re happy to talk about their dogs. 🙋🏻♀️
One of the reasons Erin got a dog was because she’s introverted and it’s really helped her make local friends and have things to talk about 🙂
I do feel like there must be a limit though! Literally ten people in 20 minutes … I’d get sick of it and I love talking to people😂