Thursday, 19 May 2016

Lake District Trek Loweswater to Buttermere

It's day 3 of our trek in the Lake District.

Scales Force Upper Falls and Al

Today is a sort of rest day as it's just 6 miles and 1500 feet (less than 500m) of ascent over a small peak called Mellbreak. 

We were well looked after by the staff at the Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater. The Grasmoor Dark Ale was very nice, as was the steak pie last night. The full English breakfast was a bit much for such a short day but I forced it down anyway. 

Suzi, our luggage transfer supremo from Keswick (Suzi'z Taxis) obviously couldn't sleep very well as she came to pick up our bags shortly after we'd started breakfast. Fortunately, she didn't mind waiting a few minutes.

Once again we excelled by getting out by the crack of 9.25am! Immediately we saw a confusing sign obviously designed to stop you going any further. See picture.

A good farm track led us to the small wood at the foot of the northern end of Mellbreak. The track started off grassy then became loose rocks so I headed off to the right of this to climb the smaller track through the heather just as it steepened. There was a short section where no track existed but it was easy enough to the ridge above.

Al seemed somewhat subdued when he reached the top. He soon pointed out that he hadn't enjoyed climbing through heather wearing shorts, his legs were covered in cuts and grazes and were bleeding. This reminds me of rule number one when climbing steep heather covered mountain slopes 'Don't Wear Shorts'!

Al's legs, not a pretty sight!

From here it was a short romp to the lower top then a broad ridge took us to the main top at the other end. Good views all round as we marched along. The southern slopes of Mellbreak are steepish grass but easy underfoot and we soon found ourselves at the bottom looking back at our route.

Immediately opposite is a narrow steep sided gorge, home to Scales Force waterfalls. There wasn't a huge amount of water but it was still impressive. The waterfalls are split into 2 main falls, the lower one about 15 feet high, the upper falls about 150 feet, maybe more. 

The rocks were dry to the side of the lower falls so Al climbed up to check it out while I took more shots below him, as if I don't have enough photos of these lower falls already from several previous trips!

Al gave me the nod that it was worth me clambering up to take some proper photos with my Mamiya. I must say it was impressive. The bottom section of the upper falls in particular was beautiful. I went in as close as I could without getting soaked.

After this short interlude we returned, carefully, to our rucsacs and made our way to Buttermere. We had just bought our beers and found a table to sit down at and it started raining outside. The first rain of this trip and we avoided it. Makes a change to last year's trip where we had lots of rain on 7 of our 8 days in Snowdonia.

So far in 3 days I've taken 34 photographs with my Mamiya 7 camera, 67mm lens and Ilford 400 Delta 120 film, all handheld as I can't carry the weight of even my lightest carbon fibre Gitzo tripod with my bad back.

There must have been a mistake on booking as our room at the Bridge is extremely good and reasonably spacious. There was even a towel shaped to look like a swan in one of our 2 washbasins!

Tomorrow we move on to Rosthwaite for our penultimate day.

Here are a few phone photos.

Loweswater from Mellbreak 

Crummock Water and Buttermere 

Scales Force from below 

Scales Force Upper Falls 

Colour version 

Bluebells on the hillside 

Our luxury bathroom 

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