07 Jun Day 3 and counting
Today we reached Grasmere. Chocolate-box Lakeland, a village full of country hotels, letting cottages and, thus, tourists. We never really want to tarry here, but Coast to Coasters, it seems, often take a rest day here especially the ones from Oz or the USA. They have a day off, perhaps to see Dove Cottage and soak in some Wordsworth, or maybe just because most of the hotels and guest houses have a policy of a minimum of two-night booking – no one-night stands. But we hit on the aptly-named Travellers Rest, up the main road out of Grasmere and hard by the C2C trail – a head start tomorrow.
This morning it wasn’t raining! We left Borrowdale looking mellow and green, a quiet, classic valley with the tiny communities of Rosthwaite, Longthwaite and Stonethwaite gracing the banks of Stonethwaite Beck, their stone cottages nestled among trees. I always assumed a ‘beck’ was a little stream. Not today. Stonethwaite Beck was like a mighty river full to bursting with yesterday’s rain, its briny water splashing over aged rock. You encounter old sheep folds on the trail as it climbs the eastern side of the valley. Herdwick sheep graze on the slopes, their distinctive brown woolly bodies and white heads, their surprisingly black-fleeced lambs snuggling close. On up to Lining Crag, with a final scramble up its steep craggy face. Hard rock and stone but everything seems easier in the dry weather, even the long, stony descent down a worn path through Easdale to Grasmere.
So what about the counting? Day 3 and we notched up 23,910 steps to add to the almost 69,793 on the first two days. That makes just over 38 miles completed. Just another 158 to go. Fellow hikers include a lot of Australians (12 at the last count) and several from the USA (9 at least). Representation from our own islands is hard to find. Just as well that we four represent the four nations: Liam (Ireland), Jilly (Wales), Jim (England) and Lizzie (Scotland). Injuries? One bashed knee (Jim) acquired on today’s stony descent; two bruised toenails (Lizzie); one intermittent sciatica (Liam); eight tired legs.