Friday, 1 July 2016

Orrest Head

Looking north to the Helvellyn Range

We had visited the Wainwright exhibition: A Love Letter to the Lakeland Fells in the Keswick Museum early in the week. It had reminded me of the day I had first climbed Orrest Head overlooking Windermere as an 11 year old on a school trip. It was a mesmerising moment with the horizon to the north and west peppered with shapely mountains. I have spent a lot of time since climbing all of these fells but only been back to Orrest Head on a couple of occasions. So on another rain threatened day in a week of downpours that provided some normality in a week of political chaos I suggested that we revisit Orrest Head and be reminded of its inspirational qualities. Instead of the usual route from Windermere we started from Causeway Farm to the north of the hill. We threaded our way through some deciduous woodlands on a muddy path towards Common Farm and then climbed up the short cropped grassland that was decorated with walls, stiles and sheep.

The walk was perfect and once again the views were a revelation. Windermere could be observed in its full sinuous length and the Langdale Pikes even popped out of the cloud for a time. Orrest Head had been the place where Wainwright had fallen in love with the Lakes. He was not alone, today the bare summit was awash with a party of teenage school girls taking selfies, a couple of townies, some Japanese tourists capturing the views with heavy Canon cameras, and a most joyous Indian family laughing with happiness at the spectacular views.

We were all taken by the words below that Wainwright had used to capture the epiphany that has lost none of its impact on the generations that have followed in his footsteps.

And the truth is Wainwright was right

The route up Orrest Head from the north
Nearly there
Windermere town and lake
Windermere and Langdale Pikes

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