Coast to Coast Day 2: Ennerdale Bridge to Stonethwaite

Most of us described this as the toughest day of our lives. The word to describe the photos was “real.” It took us 9.5 hours to hike the 15.5 miles from Ennerdale Bridge to Stonethwaite, and Mother Nature made sure that we would remember this day for a long, long time. Everyone faced tremendous physical and mental challenges, yet showed remarkable determination.

The day started well after a great night’s sleep, being lulled to sleep by lamb bleating! After about a mile, the path took us along the south side of Ennerdale Water for 3.5 miles. The scenery was fantastic and the surrounding fells got bigger and bigger, and their shrouding in cloud ever more ominous. The previous day’s weather forecast had evolved to a dry and windy morning but wet afternoon, so we made the most of the morning! A rock formation known as Robin Hood’s Chair was the main challenge in this section, though the path varied from awkward rocks to a river bed. After leaving the lake, the Ennerdale Youth Hostel provided the perfect place to eat our lunch in their break room, while also helping ourselves to tea and snacks, courtesy of an honesty box. Well refreshed, we were ready to head out into the promised rain. It didn’t look too bad so Samuel headed off to tackle the “high route” while the rest of us took the low route.

The low route took us along a forest road about 4 miles to Black Sail Youth Hostel. The rain was getting harder with stronger winds so we just kept going, hoping it wouldn’t get worse. The valley opened up to an amazing scene of multiple rivers merging together with waterfalls. Unfortunately, the rain got harder, the wind got stronger, and the trail steeper. It was like the hurricanes we get in the Texas when you are told to shelter – but we were in the middle of it in mountains. The rain stung our faces and the wind would have blown us off our feet if we did not have hiking poles. We made it to the bottom of Loft Beck and then it was one mile straight up the hill. It took strong concentration and one step at a time to keep going in the torrential rain and gale force winds. We finally made it to the top, helped by Peter shoving chocolate into everyone’s mouth halfway up, but it was still 3 miles to the Honister Mine cafe and her famous sausage rolls. The path remained relentless. While the rain eased, the wind seemed to get stronger. The last mile was down an old tramway’s path, but it was slippery rocks which made it worse. Bailey went ahead to order what was possible before they closed at 5pm, and managed to get some hot chocolate and a couple of snacks, but we were devastated that they had sold out of sausage rolls! Just as Tracy and Peter were approaching Honister, Samuel appeared out of the mist. While we thought we’d been drowned rats, Samuel defined what one looked like!

Samuel’s high route had been more than demanding. The initial climb to the ridge had been a tough start, and the subsequent ridge walk with multiple peaks, including some climbing, would be difficult on a nice day. But with the torrential rain and what felt like 100 mph winds, it stretched Samuel to his limit. “No regrets” but “I probably wouldn’t do it again in those conditions” were his summary. Even though his experience was different, he joined others with the “toughest day of my life” remark.

With Team Sloth together again, and everyone feeling cold, wet, and hungry, it was a 4-mile march down the road from Honister Pass into the Borrowdale Valley. Were we glad to see the Langstrath Country Inn! And after a day like that, I need to publish this post before I fall asleep… Tomorrow is a shorter 9-mile day, but there is a steep climb and the weather forecast is uncertain. But after today, it will take a lot to stop this lot. And after tomorrow, We have a well-earned rest day in beautiful Grasmere.

One of the sweet lambs that had lulled us to sleep from the field next to our pub.
Team sloth ready for the day!
Dean was refreshed after a fine night’s sleep.
The start of a fantastic journey along Ennerdale Water.
It was special for Janet to join me on a hiking trip, but little did we know what was in our near future!
A beautiful view up Ennerdale Water towards the fells, but those clouds are ominous…
So of course we had to take a group picture!
The path varies from large rocks…
… to a river!
After the lake, the valley filled with fields divided by dry stone walls dating back many centuries. It is important not to remove any of the stones as the craftsmanship of building such walls is largely lost.
Walking in the rain after lunch wasn’t too bad, at first…
Several fallen trees were testament to the strong winds.
We passed Black Sail Youth Hostel, but the photo fails to capture the wind and rain.
Dean looks in his element in his Frogg Togg waterproofs.
Bailey shows off her tremendous color coordination by a waterfall just below Loft Beck.
Our ability to smile for the camera was diminishing, despite the views remaining fantastic!
This video captures the weather conditions and terrain well. After crossing this river, our trail followed it up the mountain, as shown in the back of the shot.
The steep climb up Loft Beck was one of the toughest parts of the hike, when the rain and wind were strongest. But everyone persevered!
Finally we made it to the top, seeing cloud base on the surrounding fells.
Finally we made it to Honister cafe. While it was disappointing they were out of sausage rolls, we were thankful for hot choclate and snacks, and that Samuel joined us!
After Honister cafe, it was a march down the road into Borrowdale.
It was fitting to pass a sign to Seathwaite, the wettest place in all of England!
A Herdwick sheep tried to block our path, but we were too close to the end to be deterred!
We had made it!!

Relive video at https://www.relive.cc/view/v36AP4zEWGO

This page is linked to from my England’s Coast to Coast home page.

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Published by Peter Ireland

I am originally from England, and my wife Janet is from Louisiana. When we started Geocaching in 2002, we needed a name, and the Cajunlimeys were created, and that is the name I use for my blog. Even though Janet has no Cajun blood, her cooking is excellent! “Limeys” comes from the nickname for English sailors, who ate limes to prevent scurvy. We live in Houston, Texas, with Bailey and Samuel. We love adventures and want to share the experiences with others. When planning trips, I have found other people’s sites very useful, so I want to give back and add a different perspective.

11 thoughts on “Coast to Coast Day 2: Ennerdale Bridge to Stonethwaite

  1. Hi Irelands. I’m so proud of you guys for embarking on this as a family. Yay!!!!! Thanks for taking us along for the walk. Stacey Wallace

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an exciting trek! Just think of all the calories burned!! Make your next meal a hearty one! “May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back…”

    Like

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