August 14, 2011 GMT
See Mountains Again

"Off on your travels again?
Where to this time?"

"Across the Ganges?
The Silk Road?
The Road To Mandalay?
The Gun Barrel Highway?
You've still never seen Grasmere, have you? Kilnshaw Chimney?
Nor Scafell Pike.
Around the world you go, and never seen the magnificence of your own doorstep!"

"Well actually," I ventured to reply to my friend Michael, "I'm going to Ulverston first, with tent, then a saunter around to Ambleside and to Wastwater and thereabouts."
I explained that with my 'Little Interruption' now added to the proceedings, I've decided it's a good opportunity to see my own doorstep - to give it a scrub.

"And about time too," replied Michael. "And for all that scenery and wilderness that you've neglected all these years, make sure you take a good strong brush!"

Michael is an expert and devotee of the Lake District. Every time I've told him about some new trip or big adventure, he's responded with a big sigh, a wagging finger, and, "Look, it's only a little way up the M6, why are you going two continents away when you've yet to see the best bits of your own country??"

I'd saved up this announcement, and not booked anything, till the last moment.
"When are you going?" he enquired.
He looked pleased and gave me an endless list of valleys to visit, peaks to climb and views to appreciate.

So off I went to see mountains again, in the North West of England.

I thought I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, when a sign on the road said 'Isle of Man TT'



"No, this is the wrong place and wrong time," I thought. Although The Island is just across the water and more-or-less dead ahead.
Also dead ahead was the Lakeland Motor Museum, with a special display of this year's TT races.


And I learned where the endless debate ends on which tyre to use for mud, for sand, for desert, for rocks, for marbles. Right here:

As far as I can see, the ideal tyre for everything.
No need, even, to remove the wheel to mend a puncture.
Where can I buy one?


A 1909 version of the Panther my Dad commuted to work on daily in the 50s and 60s. Completely different to his in every respect of course. Except, enigmatically, the engine. It's hardly changed.


Round the back, I was surprised to find my old office, nicely done up with fresh paint.


No, I didn't ride a BSA AA sidecar outfit, but occasionally repaired the phones in these things, and in those other similar boxes now referred to as 'The Tardis'.
Fifty years ago you could just about fit a phone, a tool wallet and a stranded traveller in one. Now, they seem to fit a phone, tools and a time traveller in one, plus a huge consol room with power station attached. I've been trying to find out how, so I can do the same with my garage.
Haven't found out yet but am still working on it.

I've had this in the pipeline at home for a while, hoping it will reveal the secret when construction gets underway.

Will let you know.

In Ulverston I stopped here:

Three Minds without a single Thought.

This photo replaces the original one in the posting for 10th June 2009, 'Question Marks'.


And then on to here, a couple of miles south, to pitch my tent:


Or rather, in the midst of the aboretum just below these twin entrance towers of Conishead Priory, on the western side of Morecambe Bay.


There were upwards of five hundred tents packed into this dense little forest, cheek by guy-rope. Squeezed in amongst Douglas Fir, Coast Redwoods, and ancient Cedars, Beech and Oaks.
After a couple of nights of adventure with the stair-rod rain, the tent population fell a bit:


But I was pleased with the performance of my little tent in the deluges, not having used it since the desert of Namibia.

After a week and a bit at Conishead Priory I headed to Ambleside at the top end of Lake Windermere, to stay and explore for a couple of days.

(Not in my tent now, this from my bedroom window)

First was one of Michael's places, the steep twisty back road (known as The Struggle) to Kirkstone Pass, around Kilnshaw Chimney.

A wee chink of Lake Windermere from some way up The Struggle.

Kilnshaw Chimney

Windermere from about two-thirds up the Chimney.

That was enough mountaineering I thought, with the clouds loitering with intent and the wind seeming to carry a message.

Shortly after I got back down, this was the wind's message.

Then on to Ullswater where the sun half came out.



On departing Ambleside I headed west to the Hardknot Pass.

Approaching the start of the pass.

A little way up the pass, looking back towards Ambleside.

Approaching the summit of the Hardknot Pass.

And looking back down again.

Looking ahead from the summit down towards Eskdale.

Heading north-east from Eskdale brings us to Wast Water. The lower slopes of Scafell Pike on the right.

Great Scoatfell, just north of the village of Nether Wasdale.

And the village inn just happened to have a room free for a couple of days.

Which led onwards to....... the next posting.

Posted by Ken Thomas at August 14, 2011 06:57 PM GMT

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