My sister, Lou, started walking with me in 2012, when my hubby hurt his back and couldn’t come with me on a Walking Weekend to Keswick. (I go every year with a group from my previous church, All Saints in Marple). She’s 2 years younger than me, but back then had done very little walking and I was fitter – but only because I was training for an Oxfam Trailtrekker event. She came with me and did the Easy walk, but said it nearly killed her! Nevertheless, she wasn’t put off and caught the bug. By the following year, just walking an hour every day, she had raised her game and we could longer and tougher walks together.
This year, the weekend was based at Rydal Hall, in the Lake District. I love the place. We went up early on the Friday, before meeting up with the rest of the group and walked together up Silver How, one of the smaller hills at 325m above Grasmere. It was just over 3 miles, but it’s pretty steep at the top and the paths are rough. It can be done in a couple of hours, depending on your fitness and ability, but the views are just stunning, so it’s worth taking your time and enjoying looking out to the Langdales, Bowfell, Helm Crag, Steel Fell, Heron Pike and Fairfield if you can spot them. We had the best sort of weather for our walk – sunny with clear skies, but cool we weren’t hot and flustered as we walked.
Passing Alan Bank, which was Wordsworth’s temporary home and is now owned by the National Trust, we started off on a narrow lane, climbing quickly up what seemed like a dry river bed before emerging on to the open fellside. It was hard not to keep stopping and looking back – so beautiful with the green of early foliage so bright.
We then passed a deep gill on the right where there were masses of juniper bushes – they look like gorse at first. I bet in the late summer the scent of gin is fabulous!
The climb is pretty strenuous all the way and paths are narrow and stony – at one point we forded a river, which was dry on the day, but I should think is tricky after rains. On the other side of it, after a steep climb up a rocky hillside, the path widens goes across a plateau where the top of Silver How can be clearly seen. The last section is quite steep and very rubbly, with cairns marking the way. It’s fabulous when you reach the summit though – even though it was “blowing a hooley” when we got up there. We managed to keep our feet for the obligatory snap though – of course!
The Walking Reader on top of Silver How, Lake District
The views are so worth the aching legs! Coming down is, at times, hard going as it’s really steep and stony, but some of the way is made slightly easier with engineered steps – although these can become very tedious at times. As you can see, Lou was elated to be almost at the bottom of the slope! On the whole, a really great walk made all the more special due to the great weather and being in the company of my little sister!