Ski Club of Manchester September Walks 2020, lower level walk, Saturday 12th September

Leader: Helen Richardson

Reporter: Paul Rushton

The weather was fair for our low-level walk as we met at Wray Castle. The drive to our meeting point was pleasant but I can’t have been the only person to be disappointed that we had to stay in our vehicles on the Windermere ferry. Oh well! A sign of the times we are in.

The walk which had a departure time of 10:30, was decided by Helen, and included a further six of us. Our first stop was to be Latterbarrow summit. Although only 244 metres, the views were spectacular: looking to the North East over the lake to Ambleside and to the North West towards the mist-covered tops of the higher peaks. We settled down for a coffee break just below the breezy hill tops, out of the wind, enjoying views across stunning Windermere.

Continuing our walk, we headed south past the old mining intakes and through woodland along forest paths and trails. At one intersection we met a large group of mountain bikers and watched as they began to ascend the steep, rocky trail we had just reached the bottom of. After Guide Posts, we made our way through the very pleasantwooded area of Hollin Band Plantation and then… Bill and I spotted white dots scattered here and there on the meadows ahead, near Wise Een Tarn. Closer investigation revealed them to be mushrooms, some as large as dinner plates. Are they edible we wondered? Bill was convinced they were edible as they were growing in the fields and not on rotting wood.

Once we had stashed our loot we looked for the others members of the group but strangely, they had disappeared. Where could they have gone so quickly? We made our way back to the path and onto a junction with the main path going to the left and a smaller one to the right. Without a map we looked for signs and in true ‘Ray Mears’ fashion where we spotted fresh paw prints in the mud. Could they belong to Wendy’s whippets, Wallace and Barney? Eventually we were on our way again and very soon caught up.

After a socially-distanced group discussion, including expert advice from Anita we all agreed the mushrooms were edible (indeed they were).

From the tarn we headed down to Far Sawrey and then in the direction of the ferry with its adjacent path built alongside the road and separated by the dry-stone wall. Further along we passed through a small nature reserve with numerous plants thriving in the humid conditions with a real eye catcher called the Himalayan Honeysuckle.

The short diversion up to Claife Viewing Station was well worth it. Apart from spectacular views across the lake there were coloured glass panes to view the landscape through to get the feel of different seasons. And we were lucky to have an Aeolian wind harp give an atmospheric background in the slight breeze.

From Claife it was a straightforward but picturesque walk along the water’s edge back to Wray Castle where we had all parked.

A great day out with good company and a special thanks to Helen for organising it!