Beautiful Lakes (no scrambling please)

So we are back from nearly a week in The Lake District, and what a lovely week it was too.

On Tuesday night we drove up most of the way, staying in a Premier Inn somewhere north of Manchester. I had been to the allotment that day for a few hours and was very snivelly- thinking it was just from all the seeds, but I ended up with a bit of a cold. I tried to stay awake to keep Andy company and managed it for the most part!

Anyway, that meant that in the morning we only had 90 mins ish of driving instead of 4 1/2+ hours, so we drove in to Kendal for a walk.

Then we went to a visitor centre (which involved driving past Holbeck Ghyll, infamous from The Trip, which of course meant we could not stop doing awful impressions of their great impressions…..), had a little walk by the water and then drove to our B&B which was just lovely- in Windermere but also on the same road as Bowness (which is on the lake itself). It was a short walk (15 mins ish) down to the lake, so we spent the afternoon and evening wandering about, had some dinner, and then walked by the lake some more.

The next day we got the car ferry across the lake and went to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s house, before having a few walks elsewhere. We were lucky to arrive early as we got pretty much the last parking space, and as you get a timed ticket to enter we had to wait for around 45 minutes. There were rabbits in the field to watch which kept me entertained!

Then we had a good walk around a little lake, but one we got back to the car it started raining, so we headed into Ambleside for a little lunch. There were some lovely looking places, and we ended up in The Apple Pie, which was lovely- lots of choice. We were going to have tea and cake, but the main menu was so good- I had a lovely roasted veggie and hummus sandwich with a salad, and Andy had a chilli, which meant we were full for ages after. As it was still raining we headed back to the B&B, but back in Bowness it was much brighter, so we walked up to Windermere, and then followed a walk up to the top of the hill for lovely views of the lake and hills beyond. We then went to the original (I think? or flagship?) Lakeland shop (I never knew that this region was called “lakeland”, but it explains why so many other shops are called “Lakeland”- I bought a few bits and we were going to go to the cafe but we were too late. They had an amazing looking lime and pistachio cake- I need to try out those flavours myself at some point.

So we bought some crackers and hummus in a supermarket for a late tea, and walked back down to the B&B, and then down to the lake as by then the sun had come out. Gorgeous.

The next day we were heading up to Keswick, and on the way we stopped at Aira Force– a lovely walk up to the waterfall and beyond.

The weather was just stunning- we could not believe our luck.

We walked beyond the waterfalls for a bit- I think we walked for a couple of hours here.

The waterfalls were so pretty.

And I love being in the woods on a sunny day- the dappled shade is so pretty.

There was a cafe (not National Trust it emphasised!) so we had a tea and shared some toffee cake- our first cake of the holiday!

Then we drove into Keswick- we were a bit early to check in to our B&B so we parked in the town and walked around for a bit- it seemed lovely (and a cafe/ cake lovers heaven!).

It was heaving! We checked in (our B&B here had some great veggie options on the breakfast menu, and was big on keeping green, with local wood and slate being used in all the rooms etc) and then went out to get an early dinner but everywhere was packed. In the end we went to The George Pub, as they did a veggie lasagne whereas some places had no veggie options at all. To be honest I am not a massive pub fan- and this one was not endearing me – it was a typical old pub with tiny dingy windows, old carpet, mis-matched furniture etc, and I was worried that we would be paying loads for a microwave ready meal, but actually it was proper home cooked and home made, filled with chunky vegetables and topped with goats cheese, so much nicer than I had expected. The pub was so busy (we had to share a table with two lots of people) and it was such lovely weather so we decided to head out and enjoy it. I fancied a tea, and although lots of places were closed we happened to walk past Foxglove, a health food store, which also served tea, so I had a delicious Earl Grey (and also picked up a couple of mini Beond bars).

We walked down to the lake and then into some fields (full of lambs! I love seeing the lambs)- such a great way to spend the evening.

The next day the weather was just as amazing- clear blue skies- so we got the boat across with the plan of walking up Cat Bells- apparently an “easy” walk with a little “scrambling”. Well, it turned out not so good for people with a fear of steep things.

The going at first was steep paths, which were OK but covered in little bits of slate so they seemed rather slippery. One bit was very steep but apparently there was another way back down. But then we got to this bit. Well I got further up than this, to the bottom of the rock part. Andy climbed (it was more than a scramble) to to the top, and then tried to point where I should go. I got about half way up and then got stuck. You did have to climb it though- and I mean holding on to rocks with both hands and hauling yourself up, there was no path at this point. And I am not confident at this at all. I don’t like steep things, and I didn’t like being able to see all the way down the hill to the lake- it made me realise how high we were. Then my legs would shake from nerves, and then I would miss my footing and slip, and get even more nervous. Plus I knew that even if I got up, coming down would be even harder. So I stayed there while Andy continued on to the top. I came down part of the way on my bottom and the rest of the way slower than a snail.

After that we got the boat the rest of the way around the lake, and then walked into town for a late lunch. We were recommended Pumpkin by the B&B owners, and it did not disappoint. Delicious wraps, paninis, sandwiches, salads and cakes all made there, plus a lovely range of teas. I was spoilt for choice, and in the end went for a wrap with goats cheese, roasted peppers and home-made apricot chutney- yummy. We also shared a slice of carrot cake which was amazing. We decided that a late lunch was easier than trying to find a restaurant in the evening. Again I picked up hummus and crackers in a supermarket, although Andy bought some chips, and we went for an evening walk around the lake, past the lambs again.

On our final day we went to Whinlatter (it was Easter Sunday so we chose somewhere that would be open)- there was a trail through the woods that was rated “challenging” but we thought it would not be as bad as the mountain walk! The walk was lovely- very steep at times but with some wonderful views at the top, and I just love the fresh air of a forest like that. It said to leave 3 hours but we were back in just over 90 minutes, so we stopped for a drink in the tea room, and then did The Gruffalo trail through the woods- fun.

Then we went to Castlerigg Stone Circle, before heading back into town, for another late lunch at Pumpkin.

Home-made hummus (which was a bit spicy!) in a wrap with roasted veggies, a deli salad, and some pretty calpol-pink Suki Red Berry tea.

We picked up some cake for later, and then walked the other way around the lake – we ended up walking out for about an hour so had to turn back as we were not sure when it would get dark. We had to walk through a field full of little black lambs, and on the way back a big group of them were playing right by the path!

So cute!

On our final morning we enjoyed breakfast before popping into town to pick up some sandwiches from Pumpkin- this time I went for a panini with mozzarella, home-made basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, plus a caramel shortbread (I thought that would travel easier). Then we hit the road for the long long LONG journey home. Actually the traffic was not too bad- we hit a few sections where we had to stop, but generally the going was good. We had some old radio 5 film podcasts to keep us entertained. In the end we stopped at about half 2 at a Sainsbury’s- I popped in to get us some soup for dinner, while Andy ate his sandwich in the car park before we carried on and I had mine in the car. The whole journey took us 5 1/2 hours so it could have been worse, but honestly we could have nearly flown to New York in that time! That part of England is so far away. Also, here is a good fact. Lake Windermere is half way between Lands End and John O’Groats. That surprised me a lot!

I bought quite a few goodies while I was there, but I shall save them for another post, as this recap has been rather long! Well done if you managed this far!

Have you ever been to the Lake District? The last time I went was 20 years ago! It was great to go back and we were so lucky with the weather too.

Do you mind long car journeys? I find them a bit painful in this country- I like Devon but again it is such a long way away. But then when we have been to the US the miles seem to fly by as their roads as just not congested (and the scenery helps too). The film podcast has been our top discovery for long journeys though as you can download all the old ones too.

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20 thoughts on “Beautiful Lakes (no scrambling please)”

  1. We went to the lakes district about 14 years ago but didn’t do all the walking you guys did – it was a very lazy “sit and watch the people go by” kinda holiday for us.

  2. Sounds lovely! The lambs are so cute! Food all sounds tasty too 🙂
    I’d love to go up to the Lake District, but like you say, it is a mission of a journey, I get really restless being in the car for that long.

    1. We did look at trains but it didn’t seem so easy to get around without a car once we were up there. It is a lovely place though.

  3. This sounds absolutely wonderful! Walking in beautiful scenery, stopping in little cafes and pubs…ahh heavenly! Apart from the long journey home everything sounds perfect.
    I don’t think Ben would be up for a holiday like this though 🙁 He’s not as crazy about walking as I am 🙁 Though in May we’re going to stay with my grandad who lives in Wales and hopefully we’ll be walking Snowdon and the surrounding areas. I’m so excited!

    1. Wow that sounds great! I always think of you guys as walking loads because of your dog!
      Andy is keen for anything that gets him a good photo of a beautiful view! To be fair he does like the walking too.

  4. Oh my goodness…over 5 hours in the car. I just can’t imagine! Since I have to get up and move about every 20-30 minutes, that would be very annoying for the poor person driving! I’d lose my mind as well though…I get motion sick, so I can’t even read in the car as a distraction.

    I LOVE the Lakes though. Absolutely love it – it’s the best place for ‘action’ holidays and those are the only ones I’m interested in. Anna (the Apple) did a post recently about not finding ‘cultural’ elements that interesting and I’m 100% with her on that – natural features and scenery are far more engaging for me, and I’d love running/hiking/windsurfing…ah, all of it! The last time I was there was in 2010 for the Brathay Marathon, and I’m sure one of the B&Bs you stayed at was near the course, because that view of the lake with the boats (your second picture) looks so familiar to me.

    Never, ever run the Hadrian’s Wall Half Marathon if you don’t like scrambling – the first 5 and last 2 miles are nothing but scrambling, and on even steeper terrain than that. I absolutely adore lambs, particularly black ones…but they always make me feel so sad as well, and I wish I could rescue all of them and take them home with me.


    1. Yeah I try not to think about the fate of the poor lambs 🙁
      No I shall avoid that half marathon as that is not my kind of thing at all!!!!
      I do get a weird delayed motion sickness thing, where once we stop moving I feel like I am tipping, especially if I lean forwards (eg when eating or drinking) I feel like I will fall forwards. When we stopped at the Sainsbury’s it took a while for my legs to get going again as I hobbled across the car park!
      You are lucky to live close to the lakes as they are just beautiful 🙂

  5. What a lovely trip Maria, so glad the weather held out! Some of the scenery looks absolutely stunning and I can’t get over how cute those baby lambs are!
    I have to do long drives for work sometimes, the worse was 5 hours there, then the person wasn’t in so 5 hours home – killer! I don’t mind shorter journeys if the radio is good!

    1. Oh poor you- I have no idea how you manage that!
      I quite like the radio but we kept on losing radio 4 reception up there which was annoying!

  6. Sounds like you were so busy whilst you were away!
    As I mentioned on Facebook, Lake Windermere is where we got engaged last May, and after the first beautiful day we spent there in the sunshine, all we got was rain and thunderstorms so we didn’t get out as much as we would have liked. We plan on going back there next year though for a break and seeing all of the things we never got a chance to because of the weather we had last year.
    Such cute lambs. Baby lambs have recently started popping up around us as well – they seem quite late this year?
    I’m not a long journey fan. When I was at uni in Stafford it was a four hour drive back home each time and I struggle to keep concentration at the wheel for that amount of time so take frequent stops when I’m on my own. Luckily Dan enjoys driving more than me so offers most of the time now!

    1. I think Spring is much later up North though- all the daffodils were still out there, whereas here they are all past it and need to be mowed down. Might be why the lambs were so little there.
      Windermere was lovely- I hope you get better weather when you go this year.

  7. Love the Lakes, it’s so close to us so I’ve been loads of times. Keswick is just lovely 🙂 I drive the 5-6 or even 7 hour journey to Brighton a couple of times a year, I drive the whole way as James doesn’t drive :-/ to be honest I don’t mind it. We make a road trip out of it and make a playlist and enjoy the service stations!

    1. Yes we came home a different way and were nearly in Durham- we were surprised how far north we were! We went back down the A1 as there were a lot of roadworks and problems on the M6, so there weren’t really any service stations (why we stopped at Sainsbury’s!).
      Gosh driving all the way to Brighton! A long road trip indeed!

    1. You are lucky to live near them 🙂 It is always the way though- we don’t go into London as much as we could.

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