coast to coast 2011

coast to coast - day 2

Brackenwray Farm, Kinniside (Near Ennerdale Bridge) to Langstrath Hotel, Stonethwaite

14.92 miles 2,913 feet.
Start: 08:30 Finish: 17:15 Elapsed time: 8:45 Cumulative time: 15:45

Day 2 dawned with steady rain which didn’t stop until I had reached the end of Ennerdale Water after about an hour and a half into the walk. Leaving Bracken Wray I made my way through Ennerdale Bridge and along the southern shore of Ennerdale Water where I encountered Robin Hood’s Chair. This seems to me to be a most inappropriate name for what is a rocky chimney like descent/ascent. As it was raining, I didn’t bother to take any pictures of this rocky descent which, in part, had me sliding down on my backside and hoping that I wouldn’t slip about 30ft to the bottom. This “stock” picture gives some idea of the degree of difficulty showing walkers coming up from the shore line on a dryer day.

It was at Robin Hood’s Chair where I first met Lynne & Pauline. They too were making the best of the scrambling descent and whilst I couldn’t help them, I did at least wait to see them safely down. We met up again at the end of Ennerdale Water for the first break of the day and to remove waterproofs as it had now stopped raining.

After Ennerdale Water the route crossed the River Lizza and took me through a long stretch of forestation. A sign indicted that it was 3¾ miles to the Black Sail Hut and it seemed to take an eternity to get there. The views opened out approaching Black Sail and I could now see Red Pike, High Stile & High Crag to my left. I had walked on all of these summits on previous visits to the Lake District but today I was happy to be in the valley bottom. Ahead of me was Green Gable and Great Gable (been there, done that) and to my right was Pillar (still to do).

By the time I reached Black Sail Hut I was ready for another break in preparation for the almost 1,000ft climb up the side of Loft Beck. I spent 30 minutes or so at the hut chatting to the warden and making myself a cup of tea (50p in the honesty box). The hut gets so many visitors that it has to restrict the use of it’s toilet to overnight guests so it was the open fellside for me. The sheep seem to relieve themselves on the hills so why shouldn’t I? The warden kindly pointed out the path alongside Loft Beck and I remembered Simon’s warning from yesterday to turn left and not to carry straight on. When I met Ash & Ant later in the day I learned that they had carried straight on up “Tongue”, almost to the bottom of Green Gable before meeting someone who was able to tell them where they were and to point them towards Honister.

Having climbed Loft Beck, I found myself on open ground with Haystacks to my left and Brandreth to my right (done both of them). A fairly straightforward, if rocky, path took me towards the Honister Slate Mines and the road into Borrowdale. By the time I got there my feet were really painful from the damage caused coming off Dent yesterday and I was looking for an easy route for the 2½ mile and 900ft descent that lay ahead. I had 3 choices, to follow an even stonier path to Sea Toller, to walk down the road or to thumb a lift. The latter won out and luckily enough the first car that came along stopped for me and gave me a lift down to the Stonethwaite junction. I hobbled the last mile or so under my own steam and was relieved to fall into the Langstrath Hotel. This was by far the best accommodation on the walk rating 9 out of 10. The food and drink was excellent if highly priced and even more important my room had a bath and I was able to soak away the aches and pains of the day.

Whilst hitching a lift may not seem in keeping with the spirit of the C2C, I was later to compensate through the use of off-route accommodation and a diversion from Kidsty Pike. Had I not taken a lift for a couple of miles then the whole walk might have been jeopardised by further injury. The following picture shows the extent of the bruising on my toes added to which I had blisters on the bottom of the little toe and my heel on both feet. My personal method of dealing with these is to pop & drain the blisters and to apply Germolene which has an antiseptic element as well as healing properties. I was later to use Compeed & Zinc Tape. Thankfully, the blisters weren’t too much of a problem and had pretty much healed by Day 6 or 7. I walk hundreds of miles without normally getting blisters and can only put it down to a combination of thicker than normal socks on Day 1, the heat and the descent off Dent.

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