Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fixing the Coast to Coast

near the end of the walk looking back up the path
Wainwright's Coast to Coast is 40 years old this year.  To celebrate, and thanks to a generous donation by the Linley Shaw Foundation, the Fix the Fells Lengthsmen decided to put on a series of drain runs along the route.  On Friday, two groups left, one from Stonethwaite and one from Grasmere, meeting up somewhere on Greenup Edge (in a hailstorm apparently).  On Saturday, two more groups left, one from Grasmere and one from Glenridding, meeting up at Grisdale Tarn.  I joined the Glenridding group.

Lanty's Tarn
We headed up past Lanty's Tarn and along the path on the north side of Grisedale Beck.  The group leader was Richard Fox of Fix the Fells.  Richard is passionate about the lakes and has a lot of interesting stories to tell.  He took me over the original bridleway path up to Grisedale Tarn.  The commonly used path, just below the tarn on the Glenridding side, is very difficult to walk on as it has some big rock steps.  It was probably created following a landslide.  The original path is at a much better gradient - it would have been designed to allow horses to travel over it.  The path has been covered in areas by falling rock but it can be picked out if you know what to look for.  Richard said that he would love to close the new path and reinstate the original path but it would be too difficult at the moment due to lack of funding and the potential misguided objections of people thinking that a path was under threat of closure.

on the right track but still a way to go.

the other group successfully located
Not long after crossing the footbridge, we saw that we were behind schedule so decided to press on, leaving the work for the way back.

We were right to do this as a little further along, we passed a coast to coast walker who told us that the 'other lot' were sat up at the tarn taking it easy.

It was nice to see some old (and familiar) faces at the meeting point.  After several catchups and some sandwiches, we parted ways again again headed back along our respective routes.  We stopped off to complete the outstanding jobs on the way and ended up getting back fairly late.

On the way back, we diverted slightly from the track to have a look at the Brothers' Parting Stone, a memorial to William Wordsworth's brother John who died at sea.  The stone marks the spot where, on the 29th September 1800. William and John said farewell to each other for, unbeknownst to them, the last time.

John was a Commander of the East Indiaman "Earl of Abergavenny", a ship that sank off Portland on the 5th February 1805, claiming the lives of John and another 300 people.  Canon Rawnsley arranged for part of one of William Wordworth's poems to be carved in the stone.

trying to read the poem on the Brother's Parting Stone
Here is a link to the poem.  It is impossible to read in full as it is weathered and worn.  I'm not sure how much of it is carved into the stone but I can recall making out the last verse:

Brother and friend, if verse of mine
Have power to make thy virtues known,
Here let a monumental Stone
Stand—sacred as a Shrine;
And to the few who pass this way,
Traveller or Shepherd, let it say,
Long as these mighty rocks endure,—
Oh do not Thou too fondly brood,
Although deserving of all good,
On any earthly hope, however pure!

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