With bracing walks, dramatic scenery and not a tourist in view, visiting the Lakes is more enjoyable at this time of year, says Kevin Rushby. And when the weather turns, it’s easy to keep warm. Cumbrian whisky, anyone?
Coming up the steep ascent I start to zigzag, blowing hard. The early mist is clearing and sunshine breaks around the corner of the mountain. A grouse chuckles nearby in the heather. Then, suddenly, I am at 500 metres and on the top, gazing out over a vast panorama of lakes and mountains. Far to the west is a golden smudge of sea and, even as I stand there, the sky is clearing, patches of blue joining hands over Buttermere and out beyond Scafell Pike. I take a panoramic shot with my phone and tweet it. Within a minute I get a text back from a friend: “It’s raining here.”
Further along the ridge, the view is down into Crummock Water, the entire lake a dappled mirror of russet and gold. The air is utterly still and clear. “Where are you?” comes a second text.