We could see from the window of the Mouse House that it had snowed on the higher peaks overnight, and as the weather forecast suggested that conditions would deteriorate through New Year’s Day, we decided to go for a local walk through the Whinlatter Forest Park, which was just a short drive through Braithwaite.
Debbie had looked at the Forestry Commission website and selected the Two Gills Trail. The description told us that the spectacular views along this trail make it very popular and it largely follows the forest road network so it is not difficult to negotiate. It crosses both Black Gill and Comb Gill as they flow down the mountain slopes to Bassenthwaite Lake below. It sounded ideal.
We were able to park at the Whinlatter Visitor Centre, at a cost of £2 for the first hour, and 45p for every 20 minutes thereafter, and from there the trail was very clearly waymarked with coloured junction markers. We were following the red trail. We immediately headed into the woods, along a well-surfaced trail which passed by a play area with some wooden sculptures, heading gently uphill. It was a cold morning, but it was very pleasant walking through the wood, and it certainly made a very welcome change to walking through the strong winds I had dealt with the day before.
As we crossed Black Gill we got a wonderful view of some snow-capped peaks, with the cloud line just above them, and as we continued past a sleeping Gruffalo we soon came to a tree that appeared to be defying nature, its roots going down into rock.
It was not long before we came to the top of our walk, at the point where the Comb Gill crossed it, and we headed down a steep track, with beautiful views all the way down, both of the surrounding countryside and of Comb Gill itself.
We turned right at the bottom, and the track we were now on gave us some either better views of the snowy summits either side of where we were, and also of the Cottage In The Wood where we had enjoyed a delicious meal earlier in the week.
In under an hour we were back where we had started, having walked a pretty easy 2.8 kilometres.
You can see more photographs from the walk here.