The Away Dinner weekend has become a regular feature in my walking calendar and each year I’ve joined a group of friends (members and non-members) on the road to Lake Windermere. The weekend suits all tastes, being located close to a variety of challenging and easier walks and excursions, plus a very comfortable hotel - for the second year, Briery Wood Country House. As a guest of the club, I’ve always been made very welcome and the weekend is a great introduction to the club.
Andrew Mitchell was our driver for the weekend and we arrived in Lakeland with plenty of time for a short lakeside afternoon walk with views over the distant peaks, whetting our appetite for the walks ahead. We also had time to visit the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole and also White Cross Bay, where some thirty five Sunderland Flying Boats were built during World War II.
Saturday’s walk was led by Richard Cooksey and took us to Troutbeck, via “Gregg’s” at Ambleside to stock up on supplies. Our walk began near Troutbeck church, unusually named “Jesus Church” - if you are in the area, do call in and view the noted stained glass, which includes a large east window, for such a small building.
The walk included two Wainwrights, Sallows (516m) and Sour Howes (483m) – these are apparently little known beyond Wainwright collectors, but were included in Wainwright’s Far Eastern Fells book. Once you the reach top, you can see why, and we admired the 360-degree vista – research later verified that we might have been viewing to the west, Wansfell Pike, to the north, the Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick and to the north-east, Kentmere Pike.
Following Saturday evening’s dinner of excellent food, drink and company, we were joined for the third year, by DJ Lee MacGregor from Blackpool, who was all too happy to play our musical requests, with music from the 60s to the present day.
After a busy Saturday on the fells and dance floor, we opted for a shorter walk on Sunday and the plan was to walk around Whitbarrow, but sadly a safe parking space wasn’t available, so we decided to save this hill for another time and headed for Arnside Knott (159m) instead. This is a small limestone fell perched on the coast and in fact, the lowest English Marilyn. There are still outstanding views though – to the Grange-over Sands estuary and railway (part of the Furness Line), the southern Lakeland fells and Morecambe Bay.
Thank you to all for another memorable Away Dinner weekend and especially to Richard for his organisation. If you’ve not attended before, I’d recommend it, especially as the weather is invariably good!
Richard Cooksey: Thanks to everyone who attended and also the hotel staff and the DJ for making it such a memorable weekend again. Staying for the weekend gives you a chance to do walks you can't do on the coach and also take advantage of being able to make an early start. I am hoping to finalise the details and so we can hopefully return to the same hotel next year.