Castlerigg Stone Circle and Food in Abundance

Post 92: 30 March 1994: The Cumberland Way, Day 4 – Keswick Youth Hostel to Dockray – 13 miles

At breakfast, we met two delightful French aupairs on a walking holiday. Unfortunately, out of eleven ‘O’ levels taken, French was the one I failed. I suspect the fact that we nicknamed our French teacher ‘Zombie’ and threw paper envelopes during class didn’t help my studies. This morning I was not going to get far in the conversation with my repertoire of:

‘Croissants’ (not on the breakfast menu).

‘Je suis Guillaume’ (my French school name)

‘Qoui’

‘Non’

Dan was able to put his language skills to good use and, after conversing in French for a while, I had to drag him away in order to finish the walk.

After leaving the hostel and walking through Keswick to the lakeside,we climbed to the top of the steep hill, Castle Head where, to our surprise, a Japanese lady was standing alone. She asked us to take her photograph with her camera in front of the dramatic views of Derwent Water and the fells of Cat Bells and Maiden Moor; we duly obliged. It is quite humbling how people from around the world are able to find such beautiful places, but many British people have never seen them, preferring to head for Tenerife, Majorca or Corfu.

We passed the famous Castlerigg Stone Circle, built in 1400BC, consisting of numerous stones, the tallest being about 7 feet high, then enjoyed views of Blencathra, Skiddaw and the Helvellyn range. After descending to the Church of St John’s in the Vale, we rested for lunch in the porch. A large group of ramblers joined us, most of whom were middle-aged women whose packed lunches were too big for them. Dan came into his own as they offered him their spare food. Not one to turn away food, he consumed about seven hard-boiled eggs; this was all very well for the ladies, but they did not have to walk with him. High winds had been forecast.

Leaving the friendly company, we joined the Old Coach Road to Dockray. By this time the winds were horrendous, but not as a result of boiled eggs. Despite the road being several feet wide, we were being blown sideways off it. I managed to take one photograph of Alan leaning into the wind at an angle of about 60 degrees. It was with relief when we eventually dropped down to the village of Dockray, much smaller than I had anticipated. Our bed and breakfast landlady was Irish and delighted in telling us all about the activities of priests in Ireland, some of which would have made excellent copy for the News of The World.

We spent the evening in a quite pub on the other side of the road, for once we did not have Cumberland Sausage.

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