I woke up from my second night in Windermere town fearful that my luck had run out and rain will be falling outside. Yet, surprisingly for someone who seems to often get on the bad side of destiny, the forecast had been wrong. There might be some showers during the day. But it seemed that I was going to be able to do what I was planning – exploring the town of Ambleside, on the north tip of Lake Windermere, hiking up a fell, with some cool waterfalls in the middle. So I had my breakfast and headed out, catching a bus from Windermere station to my next destination.
Ambleside is bigger than Windermere town and definitely even more of a tourist hotspot. I could see immediately how much busier it was. But while it is bigger, it is definitely not capable of sustaining such numbers of foot traffic, with tiny streets and sidewalks. It was still early when I got there…and I had a route in mind, a route that started with visiting what is called the Bridge House. According to Visitcumbria, this is possibly the most photographed building in the Lake District (I would assume the Wray Castle would be the monument taking this title). Built in the 17th century, this tiny house, originally an apple store (the actual fruit, not of the devices a lot of us carry every day of course..)was built over the Stock Ghyll Beck to escape land tax. Now, isn’t that smart? At one time, five mills were driven by the power of Stock Beck, and it is also said a family with six children lived once in two rooms.
In 1926, a group of locals bought the property and passed it into the care of the National Trust. You can now visit its two-room free of charge, but when I was there it was closed, likely as the tourist season is technically over.
Now I just had to follow Stock Ghyll up to the names of the waterfalls Stock Ghyll Force. After walking by the main road for some time, I followed the footpath to the waterfalls.
I was finally able to emerge into the most beautiful patch of the forest I encountered in my tiny time in the Lake District. This place is charged with a mystical aura, and I quickly found some quirky details that I will cover in a different post. This forest was clearly a part of the Lake District that humans had often tried to tame to no avail. The sounds of the water of the Stock Ghyll are the melody that will not leave you throughout this walk. It will be part of the atmosphere as well as all of that green, those tree trunks that could tell stories probably from the times of the Vikings and other settlements.
I also loved to find how nature quickly takes over anything humans are trying to insert in its midst.
This picnic table filled with autumnal leaves, or the wooden bench, has probably been here for decades with not a single person sitting on it.
And then, the waterfalls. Behold the power of these waters, the harshness of its sound, for how many centuries they have been moulding this scenery, impressing the passerby, irrigating these woods, killing the thirst of its inhabitants.
what a beautiful place. At any point, I thought fairies and gnomes would jump out from one corner or another because there it seemed I had opened up the door to a different world, a parallel reality. A Narnia of sorts.
After some time contemplating these woods, it was time for the toughest point of my journey to the lake district. Climbing up a fell. But let’s leave this for the next one 🙂