Back on my trip to The Lake District last summer one of the most impressive places I ventured to, Coppermines Valley, was actually entirely by accident.
One drizzly day – drizzly being quite characteristic of the whole trip – we headed up to Coniston with the aim of hiking The Old Man of Coniston. Armed with a set of instructions that seemed to match up with our starting point and hiking route, off we went. I say the directions seemed to fit, because they genuinely did appear to match up with what we were witnessing along the way, making us feel like we were on the right track; the track changed when it was supposed to and natural landmarks looked as though they tallied up.
The path we took was lined with moss-covered trees and moss-covered dry stone walls, making everything almost too green, and led us alongside a stream, past waterfalls and eventually opened out into a spectacular valley overlooked by mist-shrouded mountains. Although my mind couldn’t help but wonder how impressive it would be on a clear day with all of the peaks in view, the low hanging clouds certainly added to the atmosphere.
The Coppermines Valley has been redundant as a mine since the early 1940s but vestiges still remain with rusting equipment and crumbling slate buildings scattered across the opening. There’s something I love about abandoned places being reclaimed by nature and with the surrounding landscape it was especially haunting.
It did however dawn on us at this point that we were not where we thought we were! Our directions mentioned nothing about Coppermines Valley or a valley at all. Fortunately, we bumped into a couple of walkers who evidently knew the area better and who could point us in the right direction (…with only a little backtracking!) so we still got to finish our trek up The Old Man of Coniston and appreciate the detour!
Have you ever discovered somewhere by accident and been glad that you did?