The Jetty Café Walk - Windermere and the Coniston Fells

The Jetty Café and a Walk in Bowness

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The Lighthouse Walk No. 67 – The Jetty Café, Bowness – October

Once again, I can report on yet another excellent Lighthouse Walk – The Jetty Café on the shore of Windermere.

I seem to say that each walk is excellent, but truth be told, each of them is!

I’ve been on several walks, certainly not all of them, but enough to consider myself an ‘old hand’. As such, I can, I feel, speak with authority and say that the therapeutic benefits of the walks cannot be underestimated. Whether rain or shine, exercise and being in the open air have mental and physical benefits. For me, the walks help me to be ‘at one’ with nature and enable me to feel connected with the world around me. Be it woodland glade, open field, lowland pasture, limestone outcrop, river’s edge, fell top, or lakeside bank, they each hold their magic for me, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment.

Will Storm Babet Spoil The Day?

I was a tad anxious that Storm Babet might have considered the walk should be cancelled. Luckily, she was busy elsewhere on the day. Or perhaps she thought having been postponed twice; I would be cross with her for causing another cancellation. She would have been right in that thought.

The October Walk saw us return to a route from January this year—a rerun of a circular ramble around the low hills above Bowness and along the shore of Windermere. Once again, the promise of a mid-point break for refreshments at the Lakeshore Café at the Windermere Jetty Museum had made me doubly sure to note the day in my diary.

On arriving at the start point at Windermere Bus/Railway station, I met up with Nigel and Paul, the walk leaders, and one other regular walker. It saddens me that not more people take advantage of joining us on the Lighthouse walks as they can benefit mental wellbeing. It was to be just the four of us, a small band of participants, for what promised to be an attractive walk.

First, A Decision Needs To Be Made

On this occasion, we decided to follow the route in a deasil direction rather than widdershins as in January. I was glad about that because going widdershins makes me quite dizzy (those who know me will be aware I am ditzy enough as it is, and less dizziness can only do me good!).

Note: In case you don’t know, ‘widdershins’ is a direction contrary to the sun’s course – anticlockwise. Considered by some to be ‘unlucky’, the word derives from the early 16th century Middle High German widersinne (wider ‘against’ + sin’ direction’).

In contrast, according to custom, you can bring someone good fortune by walking around the person clockwise three times while carrying a torch or candle. In Scottish Gaelic, the word ‘deiseil’ is used for the direction one walks in such a luck-bringing ritual. English speakers modified the spelling to deasil and have used the term to describe clockwise motion in various practices.

Anyway, that’s enough etymology for today; I just wanted to explain why I prefer a deasil direction.

Off We Go!

We commenced the walk along the busy A591 before branching off into pasture and woodland at Bannerigg Farm. Crossing the single-track Oxenholme to Windermere railway line, we descended through the forest and along narrow pathways alongside Mill Beck until we reached Lake Road. Ambling onward, we passed the Police Station and Ye Olde Bath House. Along the way, we greeted fellow travellers and a pooch or two.

The grey weather we experienced began to lift, and warm, watery sunlight filtered through.

Onward, we trekked, descending to Moss Wood and following the path of Sheriff’s Walk, which runs alongside Mill Beck. Once again, I was disappointed that we didn’t meet the sheriff himself, any cowboys, or members of the First Nation peoples. I will, I’m sure, meet them on another day.

Mill Beck
The path alongside Mill Beck

Descending through Moss Wood and Rayrigg Meadow, we strolled along woodland tracks and paths before reaching Rayrigg Road and our scheduled stop for refreshments.

Time For A Brew

Now, I’ve said it before, but I’ll mention it again. The café at The Jetty Museum is excellent! They make the most wonderful Flat White (other beverages are available) and have a grand selection of cakes! I enjoyed a slice of delicious Borrowdale Tea-Bread with my coffee – highly recommended!

Suitably refreshed, we continued our journey, stopping briefly to look at the Windermere Model Boat Club site. There was also time to view the building, which, in the late 1890s, housed the local horse-drawn fire engine.

We admired the sunlight illuminating the distant Coniston fells and listened, open-mouthed, to Nigel telling the story of his recent non-stop, end-to-end Windermere swim. Eleven miles, yes, eleven miles – well done, Nigel!

Walking along the shoreline, we passed several boat landing stages stretching into the water’s mirrored surface.

Windermere Jetty
A Windermere Jetty

Leaving the shore, we ascended alongside Wynlass Beck and went up to Church Street.

The end of our walk was in sight. On the outskirts of Windermere, our small band of walkers parted company, each of us journeying home. It had been a long walk, six miles or thereabouts, downhill in parts, uphill in others and meandering in places. It was a good day, and I enjoyed it immensely. The weather was kind to us, and the company was lovely.

And We’re Done!

Thank you, Nigel and Paul – you are exemplary walk leaders, and I look forward to joining you again next time.

Finally, if you are reading this and thinking, ‘That sounds like a fun day’, I can assure you it was! Maybe your interest has been piqued – if so, why not join the next walk? You will be more than welcome. Details will be posted on The Lighthouse Facebook page and here on the website as soon as they are available. Perhaps I’ll see you next time – I do hope so.

For details of other activities organised by The Lighthouse, visit our Peer-Supported Mental Health Social Activities page.

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