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Published: April 12th 2010
For nearly four years now, people have asked us “Have you been to the Lake District yet?” and we have always had to reply “No, we’ll do it when we have a van”
Well, since we have had ‘Brian-not-sexy-but-good’ for over a year now, we have finally decided to make time for the Northern parts of the UK over the next couple of weeks.
Yes, the Lake District was everything we imagined it would be. Ridiculously cute skipping lambs, daffodils, cute cottages, lakes, enticing pubs, villages, hills… and yes, you guessed it: RAIN.
So unfortunately, we’ll have to continue imagining what all of these things actually looked like, because three of our four days were spent under grey skies, persistent showers and eventually snow. So, not only was it wet, it was also very, very cold.
Well, I had better not sit here moaning about the weather, that would hardly make interesting reading would it mum & dad? So here it goes, a short summary of our time in the Lake District.
We arrived in time to enjoy a magical twilight at Wast Water. England’s deepest lake at at 79 metres (258 feet). A truly magical spot
with steep sided mountains plunging down to a dark and brooding lake on the valley floor. It is a very dramatic and beautiful place and the drive out here through the farmland remains a highlight. It had a very remote feeling as there are so few accommodation options apart from a campground and staying at the YHA. Being late March it was beautifully quiet. We decided to camp at the National Trust campground for most of our stay and can definitely recommend this lovely little spot.
The next day we actually got pretty good weather again so we packed our backpacks and dressed in about 6 layers, before setting off up the side of the valley to make our ascent of Scarfell, the second highest peak in England. This turned out to be a bit of an endurance test after a slightly dodgy compass reading set us marching up through miles of steep sided moor land before we rejoined the main path in pretty deteriorating conditions. It was actually quite a tough path and felt like a real climb compared to Snowdon. By the time we reached the summit, the winds were strong and visibility had dropped down to
about 15 metres. The path was snow and ice covered in many parts and we had to return down by the same path instead of our pre-planned circular route. Of course there are no photos of the views, all we saw was white! I guess that is just another one we’ll have to keep in our imaginations!
After our day spent on the slopes, we decided that the weather was trying to tell us to visit some of the more sedate Lake District attractions. So under grey skies we packed up Brian-not-sexy-but-good and spent the day visiting places like Windermere and Coniston Waters. Of course I would be a pretty bad teacher if I didn’t force a visit to the Beatrix Potter gallery and former home of the author. Chris couldn’t exactly protest, what else were we going to do in that weather?
The house was exactly as I imagined despite the pouring rain. In the living room, I looked over to see a field mouse warming itself by the fire. How sweet I thought, they’ve put little models of Beatrix Potter characters around the room for the children to look at. I reached down to stroke it
and nearly wet myself when it looked up at me and started grooming. The surprised National Trust lady looked a bit embarrassed, scooped it up and put it outside in the garden! Now that is a very clever mouse, wonder if some of those mouse ancestors were the inspiration behind some of the early Beatrix Potter characters?
Our second to final night was spent in a holiday cottage as Brian-not-sexy-but-good sat outside in the pouring rain. Let’s just get this straight, we did NOT wimp out, we ARE NOT SOFT. We visited friends who were staying in the area and they just happened to have a spare unoccupied holiday cottage underneath theirs. Of course it is very dangerous to drink and drive so the only sensible thing to do was spend the night under a roof, in a warm bed… with a flush toilet… and hot shower… ah thanks guys!
After bidding our hosts farewell, we were back on the road again and heading towards Ullswater. On the way we stopped in to do a short walk around Aria Force waterfall and tried to find the supposed daffodils that Wordsworth wrote about in his poems. Sadly they
were all firmly shut on this side of the Lake District but the moss growing on the trees did give the walk an interesting tinge.
Our last night was spent in a beautifully empty (wonder why?) campsite next to a babbling stream and a flock of sheep on the shores of Ullswater. Sound romantic? Well I guess it would be if I stop the blog there and don’t mention the sub zero temperatures, breathing out frosty dragon breath and the now frozen sheep that had died during the night. Oh yeah. It was also grey and wet. And then it started snowing.
Hmmm... we have nearly another two weeks left of our van tour of Northern UK. Let’s hope things are looking a bit brighter as we head up North to Scotland!
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