An elderly man walked with determined steps up water-sloshed wooden steps lined with sere leaves fallen from a thicket of foliage overhead. Beside him, a lady half his age held firmly onto his arm, perhaps pointing out an uneven step or puddles of rainwater. Behind them a chatty and vibrant female of some 82 years supported herself on the wooden banister as she climbed the walkway. Finally, forming a rearguard, came a grandmother in her late 60s with her daughter: the former with her left hand gripping the wooden banister as she moved slowly forward, whilst, on her right, her daughter clamped a capable hand around her right forearm.
Thus did this motley procession of individuals make their way along the wooden ramp, steps, and bridge at Elterwater, one of the most picturesque areas of the Lake District National Park. Joining other walkers, they looked down on the small rapids below, where intrepid ghyll scramblers paddled energetically upstream into their rocky inclines. Of course gravity dictated, and down the kayakers would come, mostly having been thrown out of their small watercraft. They looked like they were having great fun!
Eventually our little party stepped onto level ground, from which a narrow track led to an open vista of fields and mountains. The sky was grey, the fields were bogged down with rainwater, and plentiful puddles decorated the muddy footpath. But, oh, how beautiful was the scenery of Elterwater to behold!
Elterwater is a small lake in Greater Langdale, within the Lake District National Park. The wonderful benefit about this area is that it caters to walkers of all descriptions: from fit young trekkers headed into the mountains to mature walkers out for a moderate hike. The first part of the walk is even suitable for some of the infirm elderly, as our little expedition proved.
Exclamations of delight erupted from our motley crew. The two younger ladies ensured that they walked slowly beside the 68-year old and the gentleman in his late 70s, helping them to negotiate some of the more slippery parts of the footpath. Interestingly, it was the oldest in the group who was the most agile of the three elderly walkers. She walked well, only very occasionally requiring a steadying hand.
A watery sun tried hard to escape the clouds above, peeking out momentarily whenever it could. But the slightly overcast day did not dampen the walkers’ enthusiasm; they were simply happy to be out for a Sunday stroll, enjoying the glory and serenity of this Lake District countryside, which was dotted with birds, sheep, trees and shrubs, whilst before them stood the famous Langdale fells. A bench, still wet to the touch from the previous squall, beckoned. It would be a good place to rest a little before walking on.
The two younger ladies decided to scout out the footpath ahead. Striding forward, they walked towards the mountains that sat so majestically far to the north. They noticed that the path remained flat and easy to negotiate and that the landscape was opening out even more, so that the view gradually grew larger and more stunning. Then, alas, they were suddenly forced to a dead stop! On either side of them lay a waterlogged field, and before them, dips in the footpath filled with rainwater meant that there was no way forward except to trudge through the sludge if their group was intent on moving ahead.
Resigned to the inevitable, our two ladies turned back towards their older compatriots. All three had rested well, and were looking forward to continuing their stroll. The unfortunate news that footpath was under some few inches of water did not dismay them, for now their interest turned to hot tea and scones instead. What a great excuse for an impromptu afternoon tea!
Making their way back to the car, the 68-year old suddenly began to stumble a little more than usual. A victim of Alzheimer’s Disease, her sense of balance was not functioning properly, a factor which also affected her gait. Meanwhile, the only male in the group was beginning to feel more than ever the pain and discomfort of the struts and pins that were holding him together internally, a legacy from an accident that almost killed him. Then, to top it off, the semi-leaden sky began to send down a mizzly rain. The consensus was made within a nano second: they were going home!
Home was Blenheim Lodge Guest House, their place of abode whilst visiting the Lake District. A short drive of no more than 20 minutes saw them back safe and sound, with everyone well pleased with a pleasant day out. The gentleman, a keen photographer despite his problematic sight (so poor that he was almost blind), had pointed his camera and captured some incredible images of Elterwater. Hot drinks and biscuits served in the lounge saw the group happy and relaxed. As they sat in the guest lounge, gazing out to spectacular scenes of Lake Windermere and the fells beyond, there was a sense of well-being and contentment that melded seamlessly with the peace and quiet of the B&B. From the elderly lady came a request that encapsulated the quality of that feeling: ‘Aahhh! Do fetch me my slippers. . . .’
Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’
Visit our website: www.blenheim-lodge.com
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