Back to 1993 and the Jewel that is Tarn Hows.

Post 55: 1 April 1993: Day 3 – Coniston Youth Hostel to Windermere Youth Hostel – 12 ½ miles

Breakfast turned out quite eventful, as we were joined by ‘trainee’ youth hostel wardens, who were keen to try out their newly acquired customer-friendly skills. We did not resist, letting them wait on us, fetching our porridge, bacon, eggs and toast; they even poured the tea for us. We had walked over 21 miles to get there and felt inclined to take advantage of the situation!

Later on in the morning, just as we putting our packs on to leave, Gina appeared.

‘You are adventurous walking across England,’ she said.

‘No, no, you’re the adventurous one, travelling around on your own,’ I said, thinking our little expedition was nothing compared to her adventure.

‘Thanks for inviting me to the pub.’

‘The pleasure was ours, enjoy the rest of your trip, take care, bye’

With that we put on our packs and left, our spirits lifted at having met this delightful, adventurous, young lady with a keen taste for the best of Britain’s countryside.

When I was originally planning this coast to coast walk, the original intention was to head east to Hawkshead, then south-east to take the ferry across Windermere the lake, to Bowness-on-Windermere. However, one evening in the pub, the ‘Ethics’ committee decided that this would not be in the spirit of a coast to coast walk. As a result I had to devise an alternative route either north or south round Windermere, England’s largest lake. A five minute decision in the pub resulted in several months of additional route finding, research and writing up. However, the final route turned out to be one of the best sections of the whole walk, with ever-changing, breathtaking, views throughout the day. It has helped to reinforce my philosophy that in the coast to coast journey of life, setbacks often result in unexpected bonuses; as in life, when the chips are down, just keep going and things will get better again.

We left the hostel at 9.15am, ascending steadily to Tarn Hows to arrive at 10.00am for a coffee break, the first visitors of the day. As we sat on a log, sipping coffee from our flasks, I couldn’t help but think that, even on a damp and misty morning as this, the sparkling sheet of water known as Tarn Hows, intricately nestled amongst grass, rocks, trees, and mountains, was a sparkling jewel.


The magic of the moment was interrupted when Gina’s banger appeared on the road above us, creeping slowly along as she admired the fine views before her (not us of course). However, when on a ‘tour’ of Europe you don’t have time to savour such sights, so she turned the car round in the National Trust car park, returning the way she had come, no doubt heading for the next ‘tourist’ attraction.