Eager to push our (amateur) running pastime to new limits, the requirement (i.e. Sharon’s condition) of “scenic views” and challenging trail routes led us to the Lake District – England’s largest national park and home to some of the best views (and mountain) around. We stayed in a small cottage off the main high street via a small alleyway. Margaret, our host, was incredibly accomodating and offered guidance on the best places to go. We had a certain appreciation for Margaret, because she had made excellent use of the space in her cottage. The downstairs was home to a small sweet shop; the spare room upstairs made use by us! Breakfast was served, ready at the table, with silver-plated cutlery and fine china pots immaculately placed. Everyday.
Credit: Margaret Wolsey, Beautiful English Lake District, Airbnb
Our first day was spent exploring Windermere. It was small and quiet with a much lower density of shops and homes as in London, however situated numerous antique shops, small cafes and restaurants. We couldn’t help but feel like we were far below the average age within the vicinity! After a tour around the town, we opted to take a view of the town from the lake:
Afterwards we climbed Orrest Head, an iconic vantage point and conveniently a stone’s throw from our cottage. Tell me, who doesn’t like easy wins!?
Our initial plans were to visit England’s largest “mountain”, although, to the relief of Sharon, the weather and rain did not present us with the greatest of conditions. Instead we visited (on a very windy and rainy day indeed) Loughrigg Fell. At one point , I remember my whole body engulfed in pins and needles as a result of the wind and cold! If not for the hot chocolate saved for the top, we probably would have suffered a great deal more! Boy was that satisfying.
After a gruelling climb up the fell, we retreated to a small pub in Ambleside, where we warmed ourselves by the fireplace. Logs were periodically added, which we gave a nod of approval and appreciation to! Special mention should be given to the local who “complained of more restaurants than residents” and the couple who seemed to gain far more appreciation for things than we did (in general), when we had far more concern to dry ourselves.
It wasn’t all physical suffering. We managed to treat ourselves to an independent retro-styled cinema, Zefferelli’s, in the evening – complete with felt seats. There aren’t many cinemas I can think of with a gourmet italian restaurant downstairs and certainly makes for a far more appetising alternative to popcorn. Our final leg took us through Ullswater and the Kirkstone Pass, which provided delightful views over the undulating countryside. This ended at Penrith where, after a quick browse around the old market town, and equipped with our “Lake District 2014 Playlist”, we made for the long journey home.