Last week I finished processing the first panorama from our recent visit to the Lake District. You really need to click on this to see the larger version. This was from the longest and most remote walk I did this year, and definitely the most rewarding. It’s an 8-mile walk in this kind of terrain, involving 410m of ascent and a river crossing. It also starts in a more remote area, requiring a 12-mile drive through two consecutive mountain passes, Wrynose and Hardknott, known for having (I think) the hardest gradient in the UK. Let’s just say I was happy I was driving a rather powerful diesel. Both the drive and the walk had been on my list for several years, but I never got around to doing them. This year, with the water levels lower than usual (meaning it was unlikely I wouldn’t be able to do the river crossing) and happening to be there during a week of sunshine (so the drive didn’t pose any weather hazard) I knew I couldn’t let it slide.
So with gear packed and lunch prepared I drove down to the Roman fort at Hardknott, and started my walk nearby. I passed a farm at the beginning of my walk, and that was all I would see of human settlements for the rest of the walk. Barring some old infrastructure – sheep enclosures, bridges, etc. The midway point was in Great Moss, a flat depression circled by the fells, and through which the river Esk winds its way. This is where I had to find a safe place to cross the river, which proved easier than I feared. I also stopped for a while to eat my lunch and just soak in the solitude.
I took this photo soon after I left Great Moss and started ascending for the return leg. Surprisingly, the scene wasn’t too contrasty, so I could do without using the grad filters. So to keep things quick I took the photos handheld. A short while later I spotted three walkers below, trying to find a place to cross the river. I was thinking they should have walked further upstream, where the river is wider and shallower. And what do you think, I crossed paths with another walker just seconds later who remarked the exact same thing. We had a short chat, as one does in these circumstances and I was soon back on my way.