Sunday, 19 November 2006


Watendlath is a little gem. It seems have been built at the same time as creation itself. Time here isn't measured in hours and days, but in generations. The buildings are part of the geology; the dry-stone walls are home to centuries of lichens.

Saturday morning saw the four of us pulling our boots on in the car park at Watendlath. Unhappily, the tea room seemed to be shut for the winter, and so there was nothing for it but to head up the hill.

The little tarn was steel grey and the wind ripped across its surface scattering spray against the shingle beach. It was bright with an icy wind, and the streams bounced down the fell-side as we splashed across them making our way uphill.

A short while later we regrouped at the last wall and headed off across the open fell, squelching along in the bright silver winter sunshine. The bog water was icy cold and we were always in it over the toes of our boots. To the south, Great Gable was smothered in a dark brown purpled cloud mass and occasionally we saw her through a torn window, plastered in a dusting of snow. To our west, Robinson soared like a knife, black behind the orange ridge.
Our fellside was a riot of colour – the vibrant reds of the marsh grasses, the fluorescent greens of the mosses, the iron greys of the rock outcrops. The sky to the east & north was a chaotic frieze - shafts of sunlight lancing through blue/black towering castles of cloud, sometimes shredded with watery blue tears.

We bounced up towards the ridge line and fence and there, spread out across our world, was the ghostly bulk of the Helvellyn chain. We sat in the snow eating our packed lunches as another wall of soft hail swept over us, the paper lunch bags slowly disintegrating in the snow on our laps.

Packing up quickly, we turned and faced the wall of hail and headed off back down a greasy path, back down to cosy little Watendlath, our fingers aching with the cold in our sopping gloves, our faces grit-blasted.

Sitting in the pub that afternoon, it all made total sense to each of us. The exhilaration, the colours and smells of the moorland, the drama of the skies and the magical qualities of landscape constantly changing in a wild Cumbrian day. This was real life. No matter how out of shape we are, with just a little effort, everything fits.


  1. no mention of the pool match Alan

  2. Ah, Michael

    What was the score? Nothing on the hard drive after 9:30pm I am afraid...

  3. Aye Alan,

    I am afraid you lost, but I am sure The Doris's Ale might be the culprit for your dip in form, that or Tel's coconut whiskey!

  4. Just to let everyone know....the tea room at Watendlath is open from 2 weeks before Easter-Oct 31st.Seven days aweek...whatever the weather..then I and my sister get something called aday off. Regards,Peter.Exhausted of Watendlath.

  5. Hello Peter

    it must be heavenly living at Watendlath. You have a little beauty of a tea room which is always buzzy and friendly and should be highly commended to all!

    Enjoy your days off and prepare for the onslaught next year!
    All the best

  6. Hi Alan,Thanks for your very kind comments about our tea room. We try to please,even when asked for semi- skimmed goats milk,Helen and I smile and say we`ve just sold out(we are thinking plenty mind!!). See you next season. Regards, Peter


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