The motorway was still snowy in places and icy so it was a slow journey across on the M65 to the M6. The M6 North surprised us in having very little snow and we made good time as we drove up the clear and dry road. All that changed as we headed off at the Kirkby Lonsdale exit. Almost from start of the road towards Windemere it was tricky going and once we'd got past Ings the road heading back to the motorway on the other side had practically dissapeared. The positive thing was that there was some spectacular scenery with the sky lighting up and the trees frozen in time.
We finally made it to Ambleside having now decided that our original walk for today would have to be abandoned as there was no way we were going to get over Kirkstone Pass to Glenridding so we decided to pay a visit to Rydal water as the light of the morning was so beautiful we might get to get some good pictures on the lake with the reflections. The challenge here was where to park. Normally we'd pitch up at the side of the road or choose one of the many car parks that dot the road between Ambleside and Grassmere however today that was proving a little tricky as snow piled high at the sides of the road and the entrances to most of the car parks were up and over banks of snow and then downhill into the car parks. Yes we may at a push get in but there's no way we'd ever get out. So we spent a good while driving up and down the road considering our options. We decided to park in the main town car park at Ambleside as the entrance to that was, yes up a little hill, but pretty flat once in. So after 2 running attempts my car finally made it up into the car park and at least it would be safe for the day.
However I plodded on upwards and every twinge accentuated. I was too hot one min and too cold the next and probably not the best company at all but there was nothing for it but to keep moving forward. The views opening up behind us, in front of us and to the side of us more than made up for my miserable disposition.
The landscape was beautiful and as much as it was hard work walking in the sometimes very deep snow it was a joy to see it carpet the view in front of us and covering the surrounding peaks.
True to form the weather soon came in and we were standing on the top of Great Rigg trying to eat our sandwiches in a white out. The forecast was for the weather to turn worse in the afternoon but it mean that we would have to turn back as we wouldnt have time to complete the full walk today. I was feeling a bit better after having a few tablets and some lunch but I was still extremely tired so we headed back down Great Rigg in the hope of finding a path off to the right that would take us down to the little peak of Stone Arthur. Feeling a bit better it was nice to have the freedom from the lethargy that I felt on the ascent and was a joy to skip through the snow. It was REALLY deep in some places and it was reassuring to have the ice axe handy just incase the snow swept us away.
Our findings were right and just as we got down off the hill and onto the road the heavens opened and the rain started to fall. True it would clear the roads and make our drive home safer but we still had to get to the car and we had about a 5 mile walk back through Grasmere and over to Ambleside before we'd even reach the car. Oh joy!
Finally after a grueling walk back to the car through the rain and mostly with heads down I was relieved to make it back to the car without having to have been prodded with the ice axe to go faster. A quick trip to the toilets to change into dry clothes and we were ready to head for home with the car heaters on FULL!
A funny incident on the way home came about after a conversation about omlettes. Chris was describing how to make the perfect omlette, a detailed description of how the cheese stays melted on the inside and yet crispy on the outside and all the time during this conversation we never realised that we'd actually headed into Kendal town centre, not the road to home at all and a mad moment as we'd been so engrossed in the conversation we'd taken the completely wrong road. Oh well, we got to see the River Kent and then we headed for home.
Next weekend will take us into the wilds of Scotland ........... Can't wait!