Yet said adventure was slow in coming. We began with a few photos, crouched, stooped, laid out flat, of the mountain view across the lake before approached the ruined quay for closer examination. One wall had fared better than the other in the passing years; the other had sloughed its stone and laid bare the ironwork frame beneath. A wooden dock extended out from the quay, but neither G. nor I chanced it, as the water had already overtaken a third of its length and seemed ready for more still.
From there, we followed the shore across stone and soil, making the acquaintance of downed trees, exposed roots and what seemed an old well, right by the water, but years of runover having calcified one side. We did not linger before its white growths but continued eastward until we came to an inlet. From dry land, we watched a farmer back a tractor, tank and hose down the muddy bank to the water’s edge, flip the switch on the hose, and some minutes later successfully extract himself, tractor and collected water.
A short distance off, we found a bridge spanning the inlet. On the other side, a raised path of packed earth led through a marshy stretch of ground. The soil’s high water content did not dissuade other earthbound forms of life, for we swiftly noticed a number of lumbering white shapes at work amongst the marsh grasses. Closer inspection revealed them to be sheep, which seemed to have free run of the place.
Two hundred meters on, the path let out into a campground, mostly empty on a weekday in the off season. Our circuit of the lake’s northern end had brought us nearer the low mounts to its eastern side, and a few minutes’ deliberation was enough to convince one another that the afternoon would not be complete until we might look out from their heights.
Yet the going would prove more difficult than we had imagined, if only because we had set out from the lake rather than an established trailhead. The campground led to a road with no path leading up the slope: only closed fences and thick underbrush. So my travel companion and I followed the road back north for a time, leaving the asphalt to avoid the few passing drivers and making a great show of examining the rundown walls to the roadside, long since lost to moss. When we were at last able to find a road leading up, it soon ended before a cluster of bungalows and a repurposed farmhouse.
From the campgrounds, we could make out trekkers on the paths running along the ridgeline above. In the end, pressed for time and uncertain of English trespassing laws, my travel companion and I decided to run the risk and passed over a wire fence into an empty pasture. By keeping low and near the treeline, we could stay out of sight of the farmhouse until we reached the next fence and higher pastures from where, ordinarily, it would be more difficult to spot us due to the land’s rise and swell.
A few minutes’ hurried crouching brought G. and I to a steel gate, which we clambered over with little difficulty. A flock of sheep stood ready to greet us, and we quietly passed through their ranks. At the sheep-pen’s end, a wooden gate barred the way. Having come this far, we opted to let ourselves through, only to find that we had traded sheep for a pair of irate-looking horses.