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Published: September 20th 2009
Scotland over, time to continue my August tour of the UK and to be even handed decided to stay in Englands this weekend and head up to the Lake District in Cumbria with Dee who I travelled with in Turkey and Paul and Rach/Danny and Eva who we met on our Turkish boat cruise. I love the way a couple of days with people when travelling leads to ongoing friendships and trips elsewhere in the world.
Dee and I jumped a train on Friday afternonn to Runcorn where Paul collected us so we could collect Rach in St Helens before doing the run up to the beautiful Langdale Valley just north of Ambleside and Lake Windemere in the Lake District. We arrived latish, pitched our tent in the first spot we could find then walked to the pub for a settling evening pint!
As Danny & Eva wouldn't be arriving at the Lakes until Saturday nigtht we decided to make the most of the day and walk a couple of miles up the valley along part of the Cumbria Way to see if we could get a pitch at the National Trust Camp site due to its better facilities.
Dee & I
Waterproof pants with side openings does strange things to people!
Having secured a couple of pitches, pitched the alternate tents we ambled across to the Stickel Barn Pub for lunch then decided to take advantage of the beautiful sunny weather (a rarity ... it aint full of lakes for no reason you know) and do a walk up to Stickle Tarn a waterfilled dam at 1552 feet about an hour's walk upwards from the valley. I'd like to say I found it a piece of cake, but as it's around an hour of climbing up essentially a rocky staircase, my knees didn't like me much by the time I got to the top and really didn't like me by the time we got back down. The view from the top down the valley was lovely and as always despite the pain climbing up is always worth it in the end! To top off the day we walked back down the valley to repack the car and move totally to our new campsite and then sat around our mozzie coils (anti-midgie really) and shared a bottle of wine and a couple of beers, some snacks and a chat before dinner. That part is my favourite bit of camping, oh and the
wander to the pub in the pitch dark with only a head torch to light your way and spotlight the hundreds of wabbits the Lake District has (geez the UK is a wabbit fest!). The rain even stayed away until we got back to the campsite and had another beer.
Once it started it decided to settle in and my least favourite part of camping set in ... camping in the rain. It's not that it was just raining, but it was that solid, continual rain that means you know you are going to be soaked. After my adventure in Scotland last weekend I'd at least invested in a quality pair of wet weather trousers which meant my bottom half was lovely and dry, shame my waterproof proved to be the more water resistant (as long as it's not too heavy) version ... guess it's a Gortex investment for next weekend's Welsh adventures! One thing about living in the UK is that if you invest in good outdoor gear (especially water proofs) you will get your moneys worth of wear out of them.
Of course it's not much fun when it's bucketing down, so we decided to mosey
into Ambleside for a spot of outdoor equipment (waterproof) shopping and a beer or two then off to Elterwater village for a bite to eat before Paul and Rach had to head off back to St Helens and the working week. Dee & I had taken Monday off and Danny & Eva were on their way to Scotland so we had another day in the Lakes so we were praying for the rain to go away. It did slackened off a little in the afternoon so we decided to walk down along the Elterwater Lake to squeeze in a little exercise to justify a Sunday spent pretty much just eating, drinking and trying to stay dry. Of course I can't say we walked terribly quickly which is what happens when you throw 4 photographers (well some of us wannabes) together in a scenic setting. Danny and Eva have good technical and composition knowledge so Dee and I exploited the hell out of it! Nothing like free lessons to keep a girl happy!
Sunday night continued nice and rainy so back to the pub for dinner then back to the tent, stuff in the drying room and more prayers for
a dry and sunny Monday or at least patchy rain. I woke up a few times during the night to the same sound ... rain, rain, drip, drip ... but about 7am victory was ours when I woke up to my favourite sound ... silence ... wooo hooo the rain stopped.
Packed up our wet stuff and got picked up by Danny and Eva then off down the valley for brekkie before heading into Ambleside to do another walk in the lovely sunshine. You can pick up local walk guides throughout the Lakes which gives you very techical instructions on walks around the area (walk 300ft, go through gate, etc). We chose one which took us up out of Ambleside, up the hill, through the woods, back down through meadows (goats, cows and sheeps) before bringing us back along Lake Windemere to Ambleside. I admit the key criteria on this walk was that it was 3.5-4 hours long, 6.5 miles (reasonable trek), was varied and had a pub about 2/3 of the way through for lunch. It was a lovely walk and I can see other trips to the Lake District to try out some of those other longer
After our walk we headed to Kendall for the final piece of our Lake District weekend, a cream tea, then Dee and I were dropped at the train station for the long hot train journey home. What an adventure - a carriage with no airconditioning (on the blink), that pungent hiker boot smell and the ultimate experience ... unlocking toilet doors! Virgin Trains are rubbish, but the Lake District is lovely!
Next the final of the UK weekend Trilogy! Wales!
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