We both breathed a sigh of relief to have made it safely into Little Langdale. The road taken, Wrynose Pass, is not for the faint hearted. It is only one car's width wide, with few passing places and a steep drop down into the valley. Fortunately we turned right towards Little Langdale if we had turned left then we would have encountered the even harder pass over Hardnott. We have driven up and over Hardnott in our younger days, but the last time my husband said "never ever again". Both passes were built over 2000 years ago by the Romans. There is even a dramatically-sited Roman fort at the very top of Hardnott which was founded under Emperor Hadrian's rule. Hardnott takes you high up over the Fells, but once you begin to drive over the peak it is impossible to see the continuing narrow road ahead due to the very steep incline. For a split second it is like being perched in mid-air not knowing whether the road carries straight on, bears to the right or the left. In one of his books, Alfred Wainwright warns drivers who have come over Wrynose from the east to expect "an even tougher climb" over Hardknott, which he says should be approach with "the utmost concentration and caution". Both Hardknott and Wrynose have the reputation of being England’s two most outrageous roads.
We unexpectedly came across a small car park. Stopped the car, pulled on our walking boots, and set off to explore the valley, our lunch safely ensconced in the rucksack.
We appeared to have the entire place almost to ourselves, we saw no more than half a dozen other walkers. Fortunately at the beginning of the walk we met two men, and when we spoke to them about the hair-raising journey they advised us to continue along the road in the same direction, which apparently improves, rather than retracing our steps.We were pleased that we were wearing walking boots as the valley path climbed higher and higher, but it was well worth the trek. The footpath ended with a view of this magical 'U' shaped valley, all beautifully laid out before us.
Back at the hotel we were seated at our table looking out over the extensive grounds, when who should walk in but Susan Calman! the Scottish comedian, who was seated at the table next to us.
She was accompanied by one of the Directors of her shows and some of the crew from Channel 5 TV. Apparently she had just been filming the last of her series "Grand Day Out in the Lake District" which will be shown this Autumn.P.S - Don't be deceived by these very green photos taken in the Lake District. Here in the Cotswolds it is a very different story. Our land is parched, the grass is the colour of straw and we have seen less than a teacup full of rain for over two months. The heat is stiffling, and there is a big concern regarding fires, everything is tinder dry. We are desperate for rain, it needs to rain for weeks and weeks.