Unrivalled Views

Exploring England #25

At the top of the hill where the busy A591 enters the Lake District village of Windermere, a small sign publicises a walking track – a footpath leading to views of the surrounding area. Set back from the road against an old stone wall, it’s easily missed. We were lucky to see it, and even luckier that we returned after our cruise on the lake to investigate.

A “20 minute walk with unrivalled views” seemed like the ideal end to a perfect day. The wide footpath, doubling as the road to local homes, was level and even – we looked forward to a gentle country stroll.

We hadn’t gone far when the road was replaced by a broad leaf strewn path leading into the woods. A weathered sign post pointed the way past old dry stone walls overgrown with moss.

After the bustle of the crowds at the lake, the shady woods were quiet. Even the birds seemed to enjoy the peace.

After passing through a rusted turnstile, the incline was more noticeable, and a simple wooden bench offered a few minutes’ respite. Our gentle stroll was turning into a hill climb.

The path became a stony track muddied by yesterday’s rain, but we were spurred on by tantalising glimpses of the views beyond the farm gates.

The further the path went up the hill the more it deteriorated. Wooden steps dug into the hillside gave way to a rough track up the last steep stretch.

We clambered up the last few metres, leaving the woods for the open hill top of Orrest Head.

A few more upwards steps revealed what we’d come to see – 360° views of Lake Windermere surrounded by the Lake District Fells and the Pennines. In the late afternoon sunshine, the lake was dark and silvery. Little boats left sparkling trails in their wake and the waters of Morecambe Bay glistened far away on the horizon. In the opposite direction, farmhouses were dwarfed by the rolling hills of the Fells.

After meeting no one on the path, we were surprised to see others on the hill. Like us, they were silent – awed by the spectacular view, and perhaps also like us, glad they hadn’t missed the sign on the A591.

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30 thoughts on “Unrivalled Views

  1. Good thing you and Glen are a couple of fit youngsters, Carol! 🙂 I’ve been lured into that kind of walk in the Dales too, but it surely was worth it, wasn’t it? Next time I’m there… 🙂 We always avoid the place in Summer because it’s a nightmare to drive around, but we’ve stayed down at Newby Bridge. Many thanks for walking with me!


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  4. We were going to stop in Windermere and visit that viewpoint, but it was so busy I couldn’t find any parking so we continued on to Kirkstone Pass. I think the OH would have struggled with that last part of the climb, though we did manage a similar one near Keswick (I think it was much shorter than this). Lovely views though if you can manage to get to the top. Which you did, so thank you. I don’t need to do it now 🙂

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  5. Super post Carol, you really had me in suspense as you climbed higher and higher. And what gorgeous views. Hope you and Mr ET managed to find an empty bench up there to get your breath back.

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  6. Ah, there is the beautiful Lake District. I loved Windermere. We stayed there in the boat house of the Langdale Chase Hotel. I wonder if it’s still there.

    Wow, you could have easily given up on that deteriorating trail, but it’s great that you stuck with it. You were rewarded with magnificent views. What a beautiful day and a fabulous hike. 🙂

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