I don’t know why I haven’t been back to the Lake District since I was a young girl, apart from gallivanting around the world, raising four children and not being able to afford holidays for many years. Then again, I am not one to go back to the same place very often. Cornwall currently being the exception.
So to celebrate the OH’s recent significant birthday I decided that it was time we headed north again and booked an apartment in Keswick, one of the most northern lakeside towns in the National Park. It so happened to be where I spent my last holiday with my parents, but that being over 40 years ago I wasn’t expecting to recognise anything. And I didn’t except for the Moot Hall. Wasn’t pedestrianised then though.
The apartment turned out to be fine. Within walking distance of the town and therefore shops and pubs and restaurants and also 10 minutes walk down to the lakeside for lovely late evening strolls. And a parking space! A real bonus in this town. Stepping outside the front door the views were wonderful in every direction.
With no real plans in mind, just to take each day as it came and decide where to go and what to do, we ended up having a very relaxed week, with reasonably fine weather. Only one day with heavy rain. A few light showers. Lots of gorgeous views that blew the mind, some delightfully gentle walks around lakes and one stiff climb up a hill for a stunning view that made the effort worth while. And hearing a cuckoo for the first time in years.
Grasmere is probably Cumbria’s most popular village as it was the home of William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and the place of his burial. It attracts coachloads of visitors and walkers too as there is a fairly easy walk circumnavigating the lake. A pretty village, geared more towards the tourist market than locals, it nevertheless has a timeless charm about it.
I can vouch for the gingerbread – it is delicious! There is a walk around the lake, but I’ll post that separately.
Driving through Borrowdale and over the Honiston Pass where a slate quarry provides a place to stop and exclaim at the astonishing views. You can get a slate name plate made while you wait too if you want. We need a house first though. Stopping at local pubs for lunch of home-made pies or thick, spicy Cumberland sausage. Admiring the lovely Herdwick sheep with their black lambs.
Discovering the sheer quiet beauty of Crummock Water where I thought I caught a glimpse of a fayrie – but maybe not.
and Lake Coniston with the steam-driven Gondola and nearby Tarn Hows.
Heading over to Ullswater, reached by driving over Kirkstone Pass. The ‘Struggle‘should have given the game away when we decided to turn off at Ambleside “I don’t want to go up that really narrow, windy road” says I. Too late.
And then there was the Castlerigg Stone Circle, only a mile or so from Keswick, with panoramic views and the mountains of Helvellyn and High Seat as a backdrop and where the light on the surrounding fells took my breath away.
I can see why people return here time and time again. We saw but a tiny portion of the Lake District, but enough to whet our appetite and consider another holiday there in the not too distant future.