DAY 32: Keswick to Ambleside – 18.20 miles
A cold continental breakfast in this cold hostel awaited me this morning, and outside the weather looked ominous. Knowing I was spoilt yesterday with the contents of my bag being escorted ahead of me, last night I emailed a sherpa company to see if they could transport my bag for me today… but alas it was too late to arrange. On the off chance I rang a local taxi but was quoted £30. Nah, I’d rather carry it myself. So fully loaded I headed out into the cold morning air and began walking south along the main road towards Ambleside.
I’ve realised doing this kind of trip – for me – my mood is not based on an accumulation of things over a period of time, but rather about all the different elements right there and then, affecting that particular moment. It would seem my elation the previous afternoon as a result of the weather, the terrain, the light pack would not carry me through until today. All the odds were stacked against me this morning, it was also Saturday (I’m often homesick on a weekend) my power supply lead was still playing up, the phone connection to back home kept cutting out… and then it started to rain really heavily. Suddenly I was really struggling and for only the third time this whole trip I did shed a little tear. But giving up is not an option so the only way to get through those moments is literally to dig deep and keep going.
Eventually I was able to turn off the main road and for the next few hours follow a small road around Lake Thirlmere. By now the heavy rain was just a fine drizzle and with only the random car to worry about, it was now much easier to get lost in the surrounding scenery. Which was very similar to the terrain around the Loch’s in the Scottish Highlands, with alpine trees to your right and the very dark and still lake to my left. By the time I had rounded the lake the weather had improved dramatically, and the main road now included pavements which are obviously much easier to walk on. Still finding the amount of places to stop in England a novelty, when I rounded the corner and saw a pub, I decided to treat myself to a long afternoon break. Their “basket meals” being the cheapest on offer, I ordered the chicken, chips and gravy with a side order of vegetables. Not a mad lover of chips, I switched the chips for mash and was surprised when the order came with the food in a bowl… in a basket! Must be a Cumbrian thing… Anyway it hit the spot and with decent wifi I ended up whiling away a few hours in my comfortable surroundings.
Back on the road for my last hour and by now there were lots of village scenes to enjoy with pretty streams, lots of cute bridges, more pubs and eventually arriving in Ambleside – like Keswick – a bustling village centre with lots of tourist shops and places to eat. Stopping off to buy some breakfast bits again I walked slowly through town, and back out the other side to find the backpackers. As luck would have it I ended up with a lovely big dorm room to myself so could turn up the heating and really chill out (haha!) And even though there was no tele room at the hostel, the wifi in the room was good enough so once I had booked myself a hostel for the next night, I settled down with my iPad to watch all the Super Saturday Olympic action (well up until midnight anyway, then I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer).