Legend and Poetry – walking holiday, day three – Place Fell and Ullswater

15 Aug 2013

One thing before I tell you about our day: the ice cream from local shops was amazing. I don’t usually eat ice cream at all because of my weak stomach. But this was totally worth the risk! You have to try if you ever visit!

We had a great experience on Helvellyn yesterday – involved our hands, feet and bottoms, especially on top of Striding Edge. Today we’re going to have a good look at Ullswater via Place Fell. Place Fell was not famous. I wonder if half of the people actually looking at it from Ullswater ever heard of its name. I was right, apart from a runner (helpfully pointed out the way when we were a bit lost), a videographer (who passed us like a mountain goat with a video recorder) and a group of teenagers (camping last night), we didn’t meet anyone.
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We decided to climb Place Fell all because Wainwright said: “It is the author’s opinion that the lakeside path from Scalehow Beck, near Sandwick, to Patterdale (in that direction) is the most beautiful and rewarding walk in Lakeland”. So we went.

The way up Place Fell was REALLY painful. I personally think it needed more zigs and zags! I was thinking about turning back to be honest. There was still long long way to go and my legs were achingly sore from Helvellyn yesterday. But eventually I reached the top breathless after the loss of an apple, an egg and lots of Pringles, plus verbal encouraging, pushing and dragging from my faithful husband who would not accept any turning back.
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We sat sheltering under the sharp side of the summit for lunch. We could see very far, as far as Pennines. It was strangely quiet, the air was cool and humid, clouds floated underneath us.

The rest nine tenths of the hike was a lot easier. I particularly love the slope from Place Fell to the bank near Scalehow Force, down hill all the way. It went up hill again at the beginning of this “most beautiful and rewarding walk”. The view was fine, but I wouldn’t call it the most beautiful of all. Especially as AW obviously has been to a lot lot more lakes than I have, I’m sure the view must have been different when he walked this path. The woods that cover the most of the path must have grown over the last 50 years or so, and they’re now blocking the views that AW obviously enjoyed all those years ago.

It rained when we reached the bottom. A disappointed young face gave me a little smile behind the car window.

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