Day 9 – Burneside to Bowness

It’s the last day! We’ve had our ups and downs, mostly ups, and we were determined to finish on a high. Figurative rather than altitude. The day started with a very good breakfast from Tony before we slung our bags/child on our backs and headed off west into the Lakes. The day was bright to suit our mood as we walked back down to the Sprint – only a brief dance with this river before we moved on. The Sprint was a nice river, and we really enjoyed the walk down by the mill.

 The Sp

Despite crossing a documented 300+ stiles (and a fair few undocumented ones – too boring to even photograph), I came a cropper on the first one of the day. Every time I cross a stile I always take extravagant care, always expecting the footplate to slip/crumble/disappear as I put my weight on it, always expecting that I’ll lose the ability to take one step without needing a third point of support, as if being a foot or two in the air removes any internal balance that I have. And it’s never been required caution. Stiles are easy. Except the ones which are just holes in the wall whose dimensions don’t match your own, of course. Something happened on this one though, and before I knew it I had a bruised coccyx, Marisca had gained a little colour in her expanding vocabulary, and I felt very foolish. Marisca was fine, in fact I suspect she enjoyed it as much as the little bouncing jogs I occasionally subjected her to on the walk. Babies and bouncing, a top combination.

After this the miles flew by. My feet felt better than they had all walk, and we both felt full of energy. We felt at one with the River Kent, the fastest flowing in the country I’m told, as it raced through the countryside. Even when subjected to a couple of short sharp showers (making us the wettest we’d been all holiday. Perhaps including some of the showers in our accommodation) the spirits were up.

We really enjoyed getting into the foothills of the Lakeland fells. This wasn’t hardcore hillwalking by any means, but there was a pleasant undulation to the track. By the time lunchtime came around we were intending to climb School Knott, slightly off the track, to get good views of all around us, but we came to a meeting of ways above Hag End that looked like a perfect spot and plonked ourselves down.

 Over to School Knott

 Looking out

 Sitting out

 Marisca was on top form, crawling all over the place, saying hello to the sheep, stealing the lunch out of our hands, helping Elspeth to read the map. Maybe she picked up on our good mood.

This is where we go next Mummy

 What a hairstyle!

 Finding my feet

The finish kept us guessing to the end. Had we not been following the guide book closely we wouldn’t have known we were getting close until the last steps, where the lake was revealed ahead. Couldn’t be more different from the coast to coast where you are tantalised with the North Sea from miles out. Lake District foxgloves

 Our first glimpse of the lake

 The finish seat and the lake

We passed through our last gate...

Elspeth and the final gate 

...and found, and utilised, the seat that marks the official end of the way. We’d finished, technically. 90 miles in 9 days, with a 13 month old on our backs, walking to Lake Windermere from our back door.

Well done us. A few things needed to be finished. I found a tiny cairn to act as a tripod my camera on for a family shot – I think that had been done before. How do you think we look compared to the three folks on day 1?

 Family photo

 Elspeth smiling

 Risky and Mummy at the end of the walk

 Risky and Daddy at the end of the walk

Marisca was given some congratulatory raisins – the whole pot!

 Yay! Raisins

 Raisins

 Raisins

 Raisins

 Raisins

And we weren’t really at the lake yet. We strolled, yes definitely a different pace and style to the walking of the past 9 days, down to the waterfront in Bowness. What a shock to the system. People, tourists, everywhere. It wasn’t fun to feel out of place after 90 miles of feeling like the whole world was ours to wander through and enjoy. We found a quiet spot away from the crowds, dipped our collective toes in homage to the coast to coast, and considered ourselves done.

 Down by the lake

Next >>   Closing Thoughts