: Where's Walla?
2nd November 2017
beautiful day and a surprise mid-week opportunity for
us to travel north to the Keswick area. Mind you,
we nearly didn't get there. The traffic queue
started at Windermere and crawled its way north. We
contemplated several options to turn off and tackle
something different but decided to stay on route as
far as Ambleside. It transpired that is where the problem
was- at Waterhead. I am not sure what was happening
but three-way traffic lights were installed around some
sort of road works. Had they waited, we wondered,
until after the schools had gone back from half-term?
If so, they got their information wrong. Cumbria
has gone back. Lancashire hasn't. There
are still lots of folk with children on holiday.
from Waterhead onwards it was a clear drive past Rydal
Water, Grasmere, Thirlmere, down the hill to Keswick
(Bassenthwaite shimmering in the distance) then alongside
Derwent Water to reach the Walla Crag Car park.
had the National Trust's description of the walk but
it flummoxed us from the outset. "Take the small
path that passes the picnic table out of the top-left
corner of the parking area." The trouble was that
the only picnic table to be seen was at the top-right
corner of the parking area and a path did pass it. However,
we followed our instincts and ignored the picnic table.
We were now on the correct path. It was
a bit frustrating climbing through the woods as it was
shaded and therefore cold yet through the trees we could
glimpse glorious sunlit fells.
we came out of the woods and into, well- a coffee stop!
Now we had a superb view over Keswick to Skiddaw,
marred only by a mobile phone mast. It was here
that we made a new friend.
sprightly looking man with his arm in a
sling came by and we got chatting. He led
us on the best way to Walla Crag to avoid
an unnecessary up and down.
injuries had been rather more extensive
than they looked. He had been an alpinist.
In the late 1980s he had climbed the
Matterhorn from the Swiss side and four
days later was due to climb it again, this
time from the Italian side.
before the second ascent, he was involved
in an accident which left him severely injured.
was still suffering. Today was his
first time out after an operation three
weeks ago. He has another to undergo
before long. It didn't seem to have
dampened his enthusiasm for getting out
on the fells.
luck to you, Len. It was a pleasure to meet you.
Crag is probably as good a view point as you will find
in the Lake District. I will let the pictures
do the talking, except to say that they won't talk as
loudly as they should have done as the battery ran out
in my camera so these had to be taken on my phone.
view was nearly as good from Falcon Crag, the only problem
was that photographing the Jaws of Borrowdale meant
shooting directly into the sun so the results were not
it has been modified somewhat to bring out the detail!
descent was to the south, down to Ashness Bridge. In
contrast to Walla Crag this, the second most photographed
bridge in England, was rather a disappointment. It
is a nice, small, stone structure over a pleasantly
tumbling stream but so are many in the Lake District.
The view, Skiddaw in sunshine, was nowhere near
as good as from Walla Crag and it seemed to be far less
impressive than what I remember from my youth or on
the Keswick pencil boxes. I think the problem
may be that the trees have grown and restricted the
outlook somewhat. To be fair, it was in the shade
but the experience was underwhelming.
return to the car was along a pleasant undulating traverse
offering fine views and a few slightly tricky sections.
The return home was back along England's most
scenic A road, this time without any serious hold-ups.
Thursday 2nd November 2017