No, Wordsworth's path was like a human traffic jam

Kate Simon tried to concentrate on the beauties of Rydal Mount, but found the sound of advancing feet too distracting for contemplation

Wandering lonely along the path from where the poet William Wordsworth first saw his daffodils is no mean feat. Even in late April, when there is still enough of a nip in the air to keep the hordes of tourists at bay for another month or so, it is hard to experience anything like solitude on this well-trodden route.

It had all started so well. My partner Dean and I were the only passengers on the open-top bus from Bowness to Grasmere, belting along the shore of Windermere, our driver making the most of relatively empty roads that are usually choked with traffic. In the souvenir shop next to Dove Cottage, we were able to move about with ease among the Peter Rabbit erasers, Kendal Mint Cake and Coniston Water tea towels, and we didn't even have to queue to buy our postcards and roll of film.

But once on the path it was a different story. Walking up the lane past Dove Cottage - Wordsworth's home for just nine years, yet the place where he wrote most of his famous works - we soon became aware that we were not alone. Two by two we advanced along the Coffin Path. A couple of hundred years ago locals used this route to carry the dead from Rydal Mount to the church at Grasmere, stopping to rest the coffins on large stones along the way. These days it is a visual guide to the countryside that inspired Wordsworth, drawing thousands of visitors every year from across the world. Today was no exception.

At White Moss Tarn, where William and his sister Dorothy met the Leech- Gatherer celebrated in his poem Resolution and Independence, we crossed the ditch and took the path down to the common for a view of Rydal, one of those truly breathtaking glimpses of the Lake District's astonishing beauty. Returning to the path, we hoped we might have shaken off the bulk of our fellow travellers, but the stream was relentless.

We soldiered on trying to admire the landscape but were constantly aware of advancing feet. We either stepped aside to make room for oncoming traffic or let the swifter walkers forge ahead. A few minutes later, realising we could hear every word of the conversation of the couple in front, we hung back again for a moment, only to find another group behind in hot pursuit, their dog dancing figures of eight around our feet.

Five people had squeezed on to the stone coffin rest in the field above Rydal Mount, the Wordsworth family home, and they weren't moving. We sat on the grass for a while, enjoying the view across to Nab Scar and Rydal Water below. "The path ends just over that rise. We could turn back or carry on over to the caves on the opposite hill," I suggested. We decided to carry on going.

Just a few yards forward we were stopped by another couple. "Oh we're glad you're going on. We heard you talking about turning back. It's a lovely walk over there." Walkers are friendly souls, but next time I think we'll venture off the beaten track.

Kate Simon stayed in the Lake District courtesy of the Linthwaite House Hotel (tel: 015394 88600) in Bowness. Two-night breaks cost from pounds 75 per person per night, including dinner, bed and breakfast. Club, deluxe and single rooms and suites are also available at a supplement.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life