Dales Way

Day Seven – 13th April 2012: Burneside to Bowness – 10 miles

We awoke to a cloudy but dry day and it appeared that our last walking day might, just might allow us to keep our waterproofs in our packs. The room, although very good, had been quite cold despite the radiator being on and that morning again it was cold. We didn’t hang around in getting ready as it helped us get warm. Our packs were still slightly damp inside but everything else was dry.

We went upstairs to the main level, there being three levels in total where we met Ann who showed us into the dining room. Due to its elevated position we had great views across to the countryside that we walked over the day before, it was really lovely and we could understand why they had bought the house. Ann had only being doing B&B for a couple of years, having moved up from Cambridge, but she was very attentive and everything was just as it should be. We were in no particular hurry as it was a short day but there was a threat of rain for late afternoon so we had an incentive not to hang about for too long.

We gathered up the last of our belongings, found our boots which were almost dry, donned our gaiters to be on the safe side and we were off. I felt much happier, not necessarily that we finishing but that it was the conclusion of what we had planned and were just about to complete. It also helped greatly that as there was no rain due, it might not be such a trudge.

Rachel at Sunny Hills

Our plan was to get some more supplies from the general store but once we got there decided that we had enough to get us to the end and so passed by. At Burneside there is the James Cropper paper mill which was of interest to me, as I deal with the mill due to my job being in the printing industry. The path took us around the perimeter of the mill before joining the River Kent which took us to Bowston. North of Bowston is Cowan Head, which is a new development of flats in what were old mill buildings, which looked very posh.

River Kent

Cowan Head

We stopped shortly after to take our fleeces off as the sun was trying to come out which was lovely. The route to Staveley was very pleasant but we soon reached the road where we had to cross and then go under the railway. We climbed uphill across fields and then joined a lane that took us again steadily uphill. Once we had crested the brow we had fantastic views of the route from Burneside and much of the route of the previous day. Looking the other way we had a brilliant panorama in front of us of the Lakeland fells, many snow capped. It was good to be back.

Lakeland Fells

The lane continued downhill and feeling the need to stop for natures call and our stomachs well being, we ended up sitting at the side of the road, but on the tarmac, as that was the only bit that was dry. The road continued for a little further, climbing steeply before going across open land and fields before arriving at Crag House. There was no signage here at all so he had to stop and get our bearings but we soon found the right path and arrived at Hag End.

View near Hag End

View from Hag End

The terrain had been changing subtly and now just a couple of miles from the end it did feel more like a Lakeland rather than a Dales landscape. We passed some huge goats and then we were out into open access land. The route twisted and turned all the way to Cleabarrow and then Home Farm before we started the final approach.

Pond at Home Farm

And there it was. We could just make out through the trees the expanse of water that is Lake Windermere. We knew we were close and sure enough, through one more gate, we saw the seat that signals the end of the walk. We congratulated each other, took photos and then set off for the lake.


Made it.....

.....and so did she!

I thought it would be strange finishing the walk in the middle of a field but due to the views it was a fitting end. The walk down to the water’s edge did seem a bit of an anticlimax because we had completed the walk back in the field, but at the same time it was good to wash our boots in the lake as countless walkers do each year.

Even though it was Friday there were a lot of people about and the noise and the bustle did grate on the senses somewhat. We hadn’t planned on doing anything specific at the end and we almost looked out of place with a pack on and dirty boots (even though it was the Lake District). Therefore, although we did think about buying some lunch we made do with a large ice cream. It was the first of the walk. Previously if we had seen an opportunity it was always too cold or wet. We had eaten quite a bit during the morning so weren’t actually hungry. We still had some supplies left so decided to make do and have an earlier dinner.

Lake Windermere

As we were eating our ice cream and watching the world go by, it started to rain but fortunately we had some cover and didn’t get wet. It soon stopped as it was only a shower, and so we set off for Windermere and our room for the night, Holly Lodge. The walk up to Windermere was pleasant enough and we easily found the guesthouse. The room was ready, although it was only mid afternoon, so we decided to check in. The room was adequate without being wonderful, the door wouldn’t close on the latch and had to be locked to keep it shut which was a pain. We got out of our walking clothes for the last time and had a shower before heading out to explore Windermere.

We checked out the eating places and found out where the railway and supermarket was; right next to each other which was handy for the morning. We also passed a walking shop that had some reasonably priced boot bags and so we made a mental note to make a visit the following morning.

Holly Lodge Windermere

As it was only about 5pm and some of the other restaurants didn’t open until much later, so we plumped for The Lighthouse which was open and very busy. The meal was fine but not really the celebratory meal we would have liked it to be. We returned to Holly Lodge for a bit of relaxation before ultimately hitting the hay.


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