Saturday, September 01, 2012

Steamers, squirrels and sunshine

We stayed last night in a bothy beside a B&B. You don't know what a bothy is, do you? Well, look it up.

A few years ago a new friend invited us for dinner at her house, which was called a "cottage". If the weather at Reading Music Festival had been poor, the crowd could have decamped to this cottage and there would still have been room for the Olympic opening ceremony.

This bothy had the same resemblance to a normal bothy. The main bedroom was luxuriously laid out and had teddy bears to add a certain joie de vivre.  Then there was a mezzanine level and finally a luxurious bathroom.

The owner is a gentle-eyed fellow called Ian.  He has walked the Coast-to-Coast many times and so is a fund of information. Very thoughtful and nothing was too much trouble. This morning, when Colleen and I arrived ten minutes before the dining room opened he said "Never mind.  I am here and can cook."

Sadly, overnight my blister which covers the entire sole of my left foot had become very painful. After a short walk into the village I realized I could not do today's hike. We mentioned this to Ian and he said "Never mind. I can show you a much easier route - and it is actually the original C2C route. Just take a steamer up Ullswater to Pooley Bridge. It is a gentle six mile walk from there."

So we did. The steamer made good time along the eleven mile length of Ullswater and we landed at Pooley Bridge not long after midday.  Then began the walk, with beautiful views back to Ullswater.

Towards the end of our walk, we passed through the hamlet of Butterwick. You would like Butterwick. You can walk through it in about ninety seconds, including the time needed to read the sign inviting one to join the Penrith and District Squirrel Society. There is clearly a bit of a contretemps in the area, with one sign urging car drivers to watch out for red squirrels ("Tek care. Red squigs ont road") and another informing the general public to beware red squirrels. Perhaps they are a rare breed, designed to put fear even into the hearts of the notorious Lake District killer sheep.

At this point, Colleen's feet were about to fall off. We hobbled into Bampton. Unbelievable. Yet another luxurious bathroom en suite. Colleen had the longest bath of our marriage to date.

And the pub is just two minutes down the road.

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