30th April 2009 – Ennerdale Bridge to Stonethwaite – 15.5 miles
Day 2 started at 4am for me as I was woken by the rain battering against the window of the surprisingly comfortable room in the Shepherds Arms in Ennerdale Bridge.
The hotel has undergone something of a makeover since I was here last and the rooms are much nicer now. I dismissed the rain based on the old adage that rain before 7 fine by 11. So if it was raining at 4am it would be clear by 8am and we couldn’t even get breakfast until that time.
8am came and went and after a painful breakfast where the waitress insisted on taking each persons order and then running off to the kitchen to fill it rather than taking all orders together, it was still raining.
It was still raining as we set out in waterproofs at 8:50, down to the reservoir. It was still raining at the end of Ennerdale as we passed a pair of American brothers walking with a solo European girl and two Aussies, a rather morose couple we thought.
We opted for the path to the south of the River Liza which in hindsight was a mistake given the conditions. The big storm of Nov 2008, the one that caused all the fuss with the OMM, also washed away lots of the southern path and we walked through thick mud and lots of running water for much of the distance. We realised our error though and crossed over as soon as we could. Soon catching the Young Americans and their recruit.
It was still raining as we arrived at Black Sail and we were relieved to find it open. A hot brew was well on the boil as the Yanks blew in, followed a few minutes layer by the Aussies.
It was still raining 40 minutes later when we left and began the ascent of Loft Beck – this was a change in plan after we abandoned the Scarth Gap and Hatstacks alternative.
As we topped out on the days highpoint the clouds rolled back and the rain stopped. The wind that had been funnelling down the gully, making the climb all the harder also stopped. A few minutes later we arrived in Honister Slate Mine and stripped off our outer layers. Hot chocolate and biscuits revived flagging spirits and then we were off down the road into Borrowdale, resplendant in the sunshine.
The Langstrath Hotel is fantastic; from the warm friendly welcome, more at home in a B&B, to the well appointed room, to the fantastic food, beer and malt whisky selection. All this comes at a cost though, the mist expensive stop on the trip without doubt, but very enjoyable.
Thursday evening was spent sitting in the beer garden soaking up the sun and drinking Black Sheep (at £3 a pint). If you’d told me I’d be doing this just 4 hours earlier I’d have laughed in your face 🙂