I am afraid to say that I only have hazy memories of running around Rydal Water and Grasmere.
Son no. 1 had arrived back from France at 2 a.m. in the morning, and whilst I had tried to get some sleep before he arrived, I was so afraid of missing the alarm and not being in time to meet him that I had not even managed a short nap. I had also had no breakfast (whilst I can’t run on a full stomach, nor can I run on empty) and it was a very hot day, right in the middle of the recent heatwave.
We parked on the edge of Grasmere on the roadside, partly as it was free and neither Penny nor I had any change on us for the pay and display car parks! Grasmere was – not surprisingly for a hot, dry, sunny, summer Saturday – busy and as we took to the road in a westerly direction around the lake, we ran past lots of walkers. I was already struggling and dying to get off the road, so it seemed to take forever before we found the gate to the path which takes you round the lake.
Everywhere was busy: these two lakes are small and shallow and with the hot weather we’d been having the water was warm: perfect for swimming and splashing around in, and I was soon wishing I was doing just that rather than running. However the scenery was pretty and neither lake is very big, so it was hardly any time at all before we’d left Grasmere to run alongside the river Rothay towards Rydal Water.
Unfortunately there was a bit of road on the northern side of Rydal Water (and I was glad we didn’t try running along the shore in the normal way we have of trying to keep off-road at almost any cost – it got very narrow and was inhabited by geese) before we were back on to footpaths from White Moss car park. We could have run on a trail along the northern edge of the lake if we’d crossed the road and gone up hill a bit, but I was not running at all well and felt rubbish – and I was also holding Penny back, who wanted to get home in time to see the football (England were playing someone in the World Cup).
Photographic memories ran through my head of bringing the children down here about 6 years ago: Edward a stocky toddler being held by David in the water; the other two splashing about; a week when we were lucky with the weather and spent a lot of time outdoors and in lakes.
The paths run through Penny Rock Woods – rather appropriately – before, if you want to circumnavigate both lakes, you have to come back out on the road again. We past the Daffodil Spa Hotel and Wordsworth’s Cottage – both on my ‘to visit sometime’ list – before turning left to get back into the centre of Grasmere. There was just time for a sandwich, a piece of cake and a drink – we opted for the Grasmere Tea Gardens, with its lovely balcony overlooking the river, although there’s of course plenty of choice in the village – before getting back to Penrith in time for Penny to dash home for the football.
Meanwhile I went into a deserted ‘Go Outdoors’ to buy new running socks for Alex, and found that I could get an enormous discount by being a member, having English Heritage membership and also having a Duke of Edinburgh ‘parent’ card. I’ll be going there again!