Glorious weather, sunburn, one climb (to Fairfield) through a small snow field, but the walking poles were definitely useful there, good food, pleasant company – perhaps a reward after the election.
Be that as it may it was a wonderful break. It’s startling how you can walk for miles without seeing a soul, but some areas, such as the route past Angle Tarn, are heaving.
We saw lots of red deer; appropriate, as we were in the Deer Park, but we’d been there before and not seen any. Also impressive were the landslips; the Lakes, after all, suffered really badly in the flooding just before Christmas – which hit us in the Calder Valley on Boxing Day. Obviously tourism is of huge importance there and they had made every effort to get back to normal; the current temporary bridge in Pooley Bridge is an example. I was surprised it had no weight limit. And I understand the main road at Dunmail Raise is due to reopen anytime soon.
I’m sure you all know this, but just in case; in AD 945 the armies of the Saxon King Edmond and the Scottish King Malcolm joined forces to fight Dunmail, the last King of Cumberland, and won. It is said that Edmond himself killed Dunmail. His body is beneath the cairn (raise) at the highest point of the pass between Grasmere and Thirlmere – Dunmail Raise.
As Dunmail lay dying he shouted, “My crown – bear it away; never let the Saxon flaunt it” for it was known that whoever wore the crown of Dunmail would succeed to the Kingdom of Cumbria. The King’s personal body guard removed the crown from the head of their dying monarch and with unprecedented gallantry fought their way through the Saxon lines and bore his crown up the fell to Grisedale Tarn, where they threw it into the depths. They said, “Till Dunmail come again to lead us.”
Each year, on the anniversary of the King’s death, his warriors return to the tarn. The crown is retrieved and carried back to the cairn of stones under which their beloved Dunmail lies. In turn, the warriors knock with their spears on the topmost stones of the cairn. From that grave a voice cries out. “Not yet; not yet – wait a while my warriors.” The day is yet to come when the spirit of Dunmail will re-join his warriors and crown a new King of Cumbria.
I came back by train while Joyce had an extra day’s walking with a friend of ours whom we met up with in the Lakes. My son was out climbing, as he generally does on Tuesdays. Unfortunately it was raining at home so they were indoors not out. Paradoxical as the previous days had been just like in the Lakes.