Sunday 22 July 2012

Rydal Park and the River Rothay

Sunday 22nd July

Distance: 7km; Negligible ascent; Overcast but dry; with Isabel, Laura & Heather

Lynsey was away backpacking in the Yorkshire Dales making the most of the fact that summer had finally arrived!  Yesterday, Isabel and I had a good morning stroll at Dunham Massey and today we had arranged to meet Laura and Heather for an ATP walk in the South Lakes as they were there on holiday for the week.

We left home in glorious sunshine and it remained sunny as we headed north up the M6 and it only started to cloud over and look increasingly grey when we were heading into the Lakes on the A591.  It transpired that it was sunny pretty much everywhere else in the country today, yet we had managed to arrange to go walking in the only place where the sun was in hiding!  However we didn't let this dampen our spirits and we had a good walk nonetheless.

As Adam was heading off mountain biking for the day, a walk from Ambleside was required as I doubted whether I could fit two pushchairs in our car boot!  The obvious choice was a circuit up to Rydal by way of the coffin route and then returning along the minor road alongside the River Rothay, which we previously walked back in September last year, and this is indeed what we chose to do today.

Rydal Park
Therefore at around twenty to twelve we set off walking from their holiday cottage and did battle with the hoards of people thronging the streets of Ambleside town centre to emerge unscathed on the other side.  After following the main A591 road north-west to the edge of town we picked up the broad track through Rydal Park.

A CD tree!
As we approached Rydal Hall strange artworks began to appear beside the track, including the CD tree pictured above.  We found a relatively quiet spot in the gardens for our picnic lunch, which we followed by visiting the waterfall and the Grot.  This small building was built in 1668 to provide a window to frame the view of the waterfall in and has recently been restored and repaired between 2005 and 2007.  The following two photos show the view of the waterfall from within the Grot and from the bridge above; I think I probably prefer the view from the bridge rather than the window getting in the way (although Isabel did enjoy looking out of the windows a lot!)

Rydal waterfall from The Grot
The Grot and Rydal Waterfall
We headed down to the main road, which unfortunately we had to follow for a short distance although luckily there is a pavement here as it was very busy today.  We crossed the River Rothay by means of Pelter Bridge to pick up the minor road alongside the river; this road is out of bounds to most traffic, which hence meant it was a pleasant stroll.

Stepping stones over the River Rothay
After around a kilometre and a half we reached the old packhorse bridge over the river that allowed us to return to Ambleside via Rothay Park, where there is a strange twisting cairn.  After coffee and cake at the Rattle Gill cafe we parted company with Laura and Heather and headed south, and soon after we joined the M6 the sun came out again!

"Turning Point" in Rothay Park

N.B. 30/10/12 - Post date updated to actual date of walk, i.e. 22/07/12, (from 24/07/12)

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