Weather: cold and clear
Distance 12 miles
Other takers for the open top bus 0
Fog, dogs (some with no legs)
Our plan had been to get buses from Bowness to Coniston and then walk through Grizedale Forest to catch the ferry across Windermere back to Bowness. However we found out, while on the bus, that the ferry service had been suspended due to lack of visibility. It was pretty foggy.
So a hasty change of plan required, we decided to walk back to Ambleside along the Cumbria Way. It was pretty quiet to begin with, just us and the herdies. Tarn Howes was quite busy and Skelwith Bridge was heaving. We sat on the rocks by the side of the river for lunch, a veritable yellow-sticker feast.
There were tiny patches of blue sky as we headed up over Loughrigg Pass (as it shall be known henceforth) and it looked like the mist might be clearing but it wasn't, we were just in clear air surrounded on all sides by clouds.
We caught the next bus from Ambleside to Windermere, and then walked along Longlands Road, arriving back at about 4.30pm.
Distance 10 miles
Weather: cloudy, mostly dry
Swans and cormorants on the lake, buzzards, tufted ducks.
We got the ferry again and walked up the path under Claife Heights to join the footpath alongside the Ash Landing nature reserve. There were a lot of great tits. We didn't go into the nature reserve as there's only one entrance. The shoreline was a little wet in places but not flooded and the going was relatively straightforward. There was only one major puddle that required a couple of fence crossings to avoid.
We also avoided being shot by people with guns. There were a lot of pheasants running about. Hopefully they were lucky today too.
We had bit of a sit down on a handy bench at Rawlinsons Nab and stopped for lunch at High Dam, saving the last of the tea (still hot!) to have at the quay at Lakeside as we waited for the last boat of the day back to Bowness.
Distance 14 miles
Weather: cloudy, some drizzle
Happy people with cake 2
Happy cyclists 4
The heavy rain overnight had eased off by the time we'd bought sandwiches and walked to Ferry Nab. We only had a short wait before the ferry crossing, entertained by tales of otters and bad sailing.
We passed the viewing station at Claife Heights and up the hill into the woods, stopping at the top to remove several unnecessary layers of clothing.
The path north along the hill edge was very wet, with little streams down the rocky paths, and some funny looking fungus. It was especially mudsome at Belt Ash Coppice, complete with wobbly rocks and a just out-of-reach fence.
Back down on the lakeshore path we saw a goosander and a pair of mute swans and were embarrassed on behalf of a chap who wished us a very erroneous "morning" at 1.20pm which might be a record.
Wray Castle was closed today but the cafe was open so we called in for coffee and hot chocolate and cakes, with good timing as the rain shower that had just started as we entered the castle grounds had cleared by the time we set off again. There wasn't enough time to do the official route over Loughrigg Fell so we took the lower path turning east before Loughrigg Tarn that leads under Ivy Crag. The clear track heads back over the lower hills to Miller Brow and into Ambleside. Walking along the road rather than taking the shore edge path meant we arrived just in time to catch the last launch of the day back to Bowness.