The Old Man of Coniston

Holiday in The Lake District 2020

Walk to Goat’s Water

The Old Man of Coniston

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Didn’t go for a morning run—trying to save energy for a long walk later.

Family eventually appeared, everyone made their own picnic, and we set off about 11:30. We walked up the hill behind the cottage, to Goat’s Water. This is a pool, high in the hills of The Old Man of Coniston (the mountain that looms above the little village of Coniston).

Kia watched us leave, and I felt guilty (but her old legs wouldn’t make it). Feels wrong to walk without a dog. Bea and Gee are both working in the cottage, so she had company, but I still felt guilty.

This was our second attempt to walk to Goats Water (gave up last time when I gave Husband feedback about steep hills and being tired and unprepared). This time I wore walking boots, which made walking up rocks much easier, but walking through streams rather wet. We seemed to walk along a lot of footpaths that closely resembled streams, but after my grumpy complaints last time, I didn’t think I should ask whether Husband had muddled footpaths with rivers on the map.

We walked on, mainly up, through ferns with sheep hiding in them, while waterfalls rumbled next to us. We passed the flooded quarry, and saw the little stone bridge where we turned around last time. Started to clamber up the steeper part of the hill. There were views of Morecombe Bay on the horizon, the sunlight glinting on the water, framed by rolling green hills.

Picture of the Lake District

Several other people were also walking up to Goats Water—including one couple who were arguing. There was a man carrying climbing ropes, and a woman who stopped every few minutes to shout at him. I feel they weren’t very well-matched.

We arrived at Goats Water and settled down to have our picnic. The water looked like an average-sized pool, until you realised that the people on the far shore were small, and up at the rim, high above us, there were tiny silhouettes. The water was held in a basin-shaped dip in the rock, made by a glacier. While we ate, the sounds floated across the water of the couple we had followed up the hillside. The man was now striding up the rock face, intent on climbing, while his wife (who was probably not his wife) trailed behind and shouted abuse at random intervals.

We walked back down towards our cottage. Emm, Aitch and Jay detoured to walk along a river. Emm had a soaked foot for the rest of the walk, but Aitch and Jay were suitably sympathetic. Husband then wanted to investigate the top of the quarry waterfall, and the others all went with him while I continued down the hill. It was a bit lonely, but very peaceful.

Aching legs made it back over the last stile and into the cottage. We ate apple pie and cream with a hot cup of tea. Perfect.

We decided to go out for dinner. This is the first time we’ve eaten out since the start of lockdown, so we were interested to see what changes were in place. We decided to eat in Torver (nothing to do with the fact that it was near enough to walk there, so no one had to drive). We walked to The Wilsons Arms pub.

There was a sign on the door, with Covid related instructions, including a request to sanitize hands before entering. We did. We had prebooked (and they took our contact number and checked we were all the same family group/bubble).

The table was clean, and we saw the staff clean each table as they were vacated. However, they did not clean the salt, pepper, vinegar pots, which stayed on the table for multiple customers.

We were given paper menus. My understanding was that pubs would have paper menus so they could be disposed of between customers. However, our menus were passed from table to table.

The staff took our order at the table, and delivered our food. None were wearing masks or gloves, and they needed to come within one metre to place our food on the table. (This has to be risky for them, as they will be in contact with multiple customers every evening.)

I’m not sure if the number had been reduced, but the tables were still fairly close to each other. We had a table behind us, and they were very close (though back-to-back, which perhaps makes a difference).

In conclusion, I’m really not sure how ‘Covid-safe’ this pub experience was. I am simply hoping that the reduced numbers of cases in the UK mean that the chances of catching it were very slight–both for us and for the serving staff. If Covid wasn’t a thing then I would be telling you how friendly the staff were, and that my dinner was a perfect belly of pork with mash and veg, all delivered to the table piping hot, followed by a delicious sticky toffee pudding and washed down with a cold glass of sauvignon blanc. If you ever visit the Lake District, this is a nice place to eat (but maybe don’t visit during a pandemic!)

I hope you have a few perfect moments today. Thank you for reading.
Take care,
Love, Anne x

Coniston Water

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