Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Health | Hostel to Hostel Hill Bagging in the Lakes Day Two: Borrowdale to Keswick

YHA Borrowdale has to be one of my new favourite places. After all the success of Hostel to Hostel Hill Bagging Holiday Day One, a warm bed, a friendly staff team, hot showers and the most enormous English breakfast was the best start to Day Two. I love youth hostels for the basic friendly accommodation they provide: warm and comfy.

Ready to go from YHA Borrowdale

At the recommendation of someone nice we chatted to at the youth hostel we'd changed our plans slightly this morning, cutting out a cross country section in favour of the long climb to the Honister Pass. Man it was steep! Nearly 5kms later we reached YHA Honister Hause and turned for the steep ascent up Dale Head. The weather was hot and sunny - unexpected Lake District sunshine for September! By the time we reached the top of Dale Head our legs were beginning to feel the distance from yesterday and I was surprised by just how much my knees ached. The view from the top however was remarkable: perhaps one of the most breathtaking I've been lucky enough to enjoy in the Lake District. If you're after a single climb with smashing views, Dale Head has to be the way to go.

Dale Head Summit

View of the ridge to come after Dale Head

After a tea and snack break on the top of Dale Head we begun the descent to Dalehead Tarn which was so steep and so impactful on my all ready sore knees that I decided to enforce my favourite quote from the book I'm currently reading (Feet in the Clouds: A Tale of Fell-Running and Obsession by Richard Askwith); 'Why don't we sit down and have a good cry?' If you've never tried any kind of endurance sport before you may not be familiar with the feeling I'm describing but ultimately the pain and physical toughness of the challenge we were attempting got to me and I just needed to accept that this was really hard. Down at the bottom of the tarn after a hearty packed lunch, made by the guys at YHA Borrowdale I was back on it. I would do this. I could do this.

The ridge climbs back up from Dalehead Tarn to take you over High Spy (quick game of I Spy definitely revived spirits at the summit), High Spy North Top, Maiden Moor, High Crags and on to the touristy but pretty Cat Bells before descending via Skellgill Bank. The volume of people on Cat Bells really surprised me as did the level of ascent and decent between each peak which had looked quite gentle from the summit of Dale Head and turned out to be anything but that!

Overlooking Derwent Water from Cat Bells summit

Through Lingholm Estate's forest we wandered up to Nichol End Pier and treated ourselves to catching the last ferry of the day across Derwent Water to Keswick for the mighty sum of £2.20 each. Once in Keswick we wearily wandered to YHA Keswick, currently being lovingly restored after bad flood damage but happily limping on regardless - a useful analogy of my day in fact. Dinner in a pub in town washed down with cider eased the aches and pains and by the time 9pm came round I was exhausted. Head down and straight to sleep - no alternative plans! A challenging day made glorious thanks to the exceptional weather and outstanding views.

Catching the ferry across Derwent Water

Views from the ferry

YHA Keswick overlooking the river from our room



And so Day Two Complete:
Hills Bagged: 7
Wainwrights: 4
Kms walked today: 18.7km
Total Kms walked: 48.2km
Hours out: 7½
Ascent today: 925m
Total Ascent: 2,505m

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