Our annual walking holiday with friends, this time in Chapel Stile in Great Langdale. This was once a centre of quarrying operations - and there is still a working quarry - but the big industry now is tourism, with almost every picturesque cottage bearing a sign to say it is for rent. On Fridays and Saturdays - changeover days - a coach brings in teams of house cleaners and bed-makers to service the cottages. Close access to major walking country must mean that there are few months in the year of off-season.
We began by taking a gentle stroll down the valley, past Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge. Everywhere a dusting of bluebells blued the woodlands. We sat down for a coffee break and spotted a song-thrush sitting bolt upright in the field opposite. It sat there completely still for some minutes. Most curiously, about a hundred yards away, another was behaving in like fashion. What could they have been doing? Were they watching us and wondering the same thing?
We ate our sandwiches just by a bridge above Skelwith Force. We had already spotted a dipper operating in the stream, but now we saw that there was a pair, and that they were servicing a nest built right under the bridge, apparently undisturbed by the intermittent tramping of feet overhead.
The weather holding fair, we planned a more challenging walk: Pike o'Blisco. In this area the roads are also a challenge, and we began by driving up Wrynose Bottom to the Three Shires Stone. (I realise that this sounds like something out of "The Hobbit.")
The stone marks the ancient border between Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmoreland. It's all Cumbria now.
From here, a path leads out over the fellside to Crinkle Crags and Bowfell, two of the big names in walking terms. Our objective was more modest; we turned right.
Which is not to say that the views were not astounding, especially that over to the Langdale Pikes themselves, robbed of their unmistakeable profile from this angle.
On the way down, rocks showing sedimentary layers.
And this detached needle, like a crazy sculpture.
It was a good first hike.