Saturday, 17th August 2002
Our 42nd Wedding Anniversary and if I had known what was really involved in this expedition there is no way I would have chosen to celebrate it this way. Tina and I exchanged cards and I had to make a decision as to whether I could carry on. I was also very concerned about Tina who had been clearly unnerved by her dreadful experience with the car on Honister Pass the previous day.
On consulting other walkers and the “Wainwright” literature it appeared that it would be sensible for me to take an alternative route to Grasmere (not suggested by Wainwright) – I decided to walk by road and public footpaths from Rosthwaite to Grasmere, a long way but rebuilding confidence. It also gave me an opportunity to spend an hour in the car with Tina reassuring her that there were no problems on the roads between Rosthwaite, Grasmere and, for the following day, Patterdale. We drove between these places and Tina appeared to be reassured and then we returned to Rosthwaite for me to commence the walk.
Tina left me to drive back to Grasmere and check in at the Thistle Hotel whilst I walked on the road towards Keswick. There is nothing really to report on this route, the footpaths either alongside the road or, if not available, by Derwent Water were adequate and there was a public footpath though which cut out Keswick and I arrived at Grasmere at just after 4 p.m.
It was a long day, hard on the leg muscles but I was still in the battle, and to me it is a battle involving willpower and pride. Pat and Mary, who had taken the official Wainwright route, arrived about five minutes afterwards and we had a quick drink before going to our rooms to have the best, most relaxing, bath I have ever had. In the evening we had planned a celebratory anniversary meal at the Hotel and the food was excellent. I had a long conversation on the telephone with Penny and John Freer and, although I didn’t let on at that stage that I had reached Grasmere by an unconventional route, they gave me some good advice about the following day’s walk and unwittingly reassured me enough to decide to rejoin Pat and Mary on the masochist Wainwright route tomorrow.