WELL AND TRULY ON THE BEATEN PATH...
"Hitting the Flesh-Pots of England's Lake District"
Last week, after some torrential rain the week before, I thought "doing" a waterfall would be a rewarding experience; ie; the river would be in full spate. Stockghyll Force in Ambleside is one of the better and easily accessible ones so one bright morning, Michael and I headed off into the tourist traffic. Oh dear, not a good idea. We were soon stuck behind a coach and then caught up in roadworks just outside Ambleside. Now I remember why we so very, very rarely travel the A592, especially in the summer.
"Crowds of Tourists"
We paid an astounding £2.30 to park for two hours in Ambleside. Needless to say, we made sure we made full use of the toilet facilities here!!!
Ambleside is pretty enough, lots of attractive stone and slate buildings with colourful gardens, narrow alleyways, Lake Windermere and the River Brathay but oh dear, along with all the niceties are the usual tourist trappings of gift shops and eateries and of course, people. EVERYWHERE!! I don't like crowds and tend to go out of my way to avoid them so what were we doing here at such a busy time of the year?
Simply to walk the waterfall and get out, fast!!!
Suprisingly and disappointingly, Stockghyll Force was not in full spate and not as impressive as it could have been. Fortunately on the walk the tourists thinned out but there were still a fair few people out to enjoy this force of nature.
The walk only took us 30 mins or so and we were soon back at the carpark. Cars were circling, looking for spaces but we still had plenty of time on our ticket so we enjoyed a cup of coffee before setting off to take a look at Skelwith Force, just down the road. Kill two birds with one stone, sort of thing but it was not to be. We couldn't get parked anywhere for this short walk so gave it up as a bad job and headed for less populated areas to have our picnic lunch, the east side of Coniston Water.
OK, maybe I've been a little harsh on Ambleside!! It's a nice place, especially in winter!! but I just wish people would realise that the Lake District does not just consist of Bowness and Ambleside!!!