8 months ago



58 EVERGREEN Autumn Above: The River Mite on the turntable at Dalegarth Station. Below: Enjoy a walk to the Woolpack Inn in the village of Boot. from Wasdale and the other two were walking from cars. Perhaps people just buy Walks from Ratty as a souvenir. The tarn is a delightful spot; it was warm and cloudy during my visit but there was a breeze, so the twin August miseries of midges and rain were held at bay. Well, almost; on the descent, as I saw my train for the return toot towards Dalegarth, a light drizzle began. Twenty minutes before the train was due to leave Dalegarth, people were already stoutly claiming seats for the journey, including some for mysteriously invisible companions. I eventually found a space in one of the open carriages, seated on solid wood, the wind whistling past me and rain battering my back and the back of my head. It was a true introduction to third-class rail travel in the 1840s. It’s not often you get more rain-battered on the train journey after the walk than you did on the walk itself! Having said all that, it’s marvellous what you see when your train has 360-degree “windows”, and how it helps to make clear the geographical context of your journey. Ratty is a key to unlocking the fells, but it’s also a joy in itself and a means of getting somewhere. Wainwright’s Walks from Ratty celebrates these aspects of the little line perfectly. Fittingly, almost the only places you can pick up Wainwright’s pamphlet are the station shops at Dalegarth and Ravenglass. Plan your next trip soon, and get hold of Walks from Ratty before you get on the train. DAVID McVEY

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