Monday 1 August 2011

Family Fun: Walking the Heald, Windermere

This explains yesterday's #SilentSunday post

On Saturday my parents took us all out for a hike on the far side of Windermere. All of us were kitted out in our hiking boots and carried plentiful supplies. We parked at Ferry Nab (£7 all day) and then took the cable ferry across the lake. This is part of the county road network and cuts off a 15 mile drive to Far Sawrey. 

The first part of the route was along a single track road which crosses National Trust land adjacent to the lake. There were quite a lot of people walking, cycling and driving along the road as its a popular spot in the summer. Lots of them were picnicing, BBQing or enjoying watersports along the shore. Unfortunately too many people had left rubbish behind which spoiled the beach in places.

The kids were supplied with I-Spy books by my mum which helped distract them by searching for flowers, fungi and creepy crawlies as we went. Think we need some magnifying glasses next time to help out! Places like this fallen tree were great places to hunt for bugs etc.:

At lunch time we found a little bay where the kids could paddle after their picnic. It was a very hot day so they needed to cool off a bit. Then we carried on up the road which became more wooded and is used for logging. My son spotted a wood pile and decided it was where the snake from the Gruffalo lived:

This led to us all trying to recite the Gruffalo from memory A mouse took a stroll through a deep, dark wood... It was a good way to make the walk go faster. Then as we entered a section that had plenty of ferns I commented that it looked like the time of the dinosaurs. My daughter then gave us all character names from Primeval and we had to pretend to avoid dinosaurs!

The path we were on was pretty well signposted and we eventually turned off the main shore line bridleway and headed up onto the Heald itself. Stones had been laid on much of the route to repair it and to reduce the amount of mud and water we had to walk through. Quite a lot of the path was pretty boggy so stout footwear was essential. It was a pretty steep climb in places and the children helped each other up:

Once we got to the higher bits of the hill the path was less clear and we did take some wrong turnings! The view across Windermere made it worth the effort though:

On the way down we managed to miss the shortest route down but we probably had a more gentle descent. It did seem to take a long time to get back to the shore on hot, tired feet. When we got there it was blissful to remove socks and boots and soak them in the cool lake waters:

A promise of an ice cream at the ferry got the kids back out of the water. Then we re-traced our steps along the shore road to catch the boat. The Lakes ice cream served next to the ferry was a well deserved treat. We finished off with a return trip on the chain ferry and back to the car at Ferry Nab.

A great day out if you can manage a 6 plus mile hike and have suitable footwear.

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