The Lake District

Location MapThe Lake District is surely the most beautiful National Park in all of England. The home of her highest peaks, treacherously steep, but rewarding mountain passes, reflective lakes and colourful heathland.

The Lake District is one of those places that I wished we’d had more time in last time we drove around the UK. It’s just one of those places I feel an affinity for. So when we were looking for places to spend a couple of days within the vicinity of Edinburgh, I was glad we chose the Lake District.

After Murphy’s law served us an unfortunate parking ticket, and gorging ourselves on Pokeball shaped cheesecakes, we drove from Edinburgh down to Eskdale in the southern Lake District.

I can’t remember where exactly we left the highways, but it’s amazing how quickly you can leave the cities behind and feel like you’re in the middle of a beautiful nowhere in English countryside.

Negotiating traffic in the English countryside

It turned out that we only had the address of the locale, but luckily some chap walking on the side of the road knew the exact location of the house the instant we showed him a photo!

Saying that our new quarters were better was a gross understatement! We had a nice little white cottage by the side of a narrow country road all to ourselves. There was a garden, a conservatory and three cosy bedrooms upstairs.

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Our accommodation was slightly better this time!

After celebrating and relaxing a little we headed down to the local pub for dinner. You’ve gotta love how country places always serve you up a good hearty meal. I was challenged to eat the rest of Jenny’s meal too before rolling home at dusk.

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Dusk and a full moon over Eskdale

Later that night a couple of our friends from our Machu Picchu group, the Sexy Llamas, arrived from Liverpool so we had a good gasbag until the early hours of the morning.

Keswick via Honister Pass

The next day the Sexy Llamas set out for Keswick via the B5289. This road takes you through Buttermere and up over Honister Pass with fantastic views.

We stopped in Buttermere for some lunch and a short walk around the lake’s shores. There was plenty of clowning about in the stellar weather.

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Clowning about at Lake Buttermere

It’s probably nicer to drive out of Keswick to have the Honister Pass open up in front of you, but it was still pretty stunning from the old slate mine. We didn’t hike all the way to the top, but I’m sure it would have been amazing.

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Honister Pass in brilliant weather

The next stop was Ashness Bridge and the not so surprising Surprise View. There was a small sign indicating the turn off, but we very easily missed it and has to double back.

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Ashness Bridge

To save time you can drive all the way to the top just by Surprise View viewpoint. I may have just been busy taking photographs as usual, but I didn’t see what was so surprising about it.

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What's so surprising about Surprise View?

We stopped off at Keswick for dinner by Derwent Water and continued our tradition of parking way further than necessary from our destination. The walk through town was worth it though as Keswick is a pretty town. I never quite understand why it has a silent ‘w’ though.

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Sunset at Kes(w)ick

Sunset was pretty spectacular, but as I was trying to capture it I was ambushed by a bunch of crazy meerkats!

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Sunset by Derwent Water and a bunch of crazy meerkats

Then began the long sleepy drive home via the coastal road.

Windermere and Ambleside

The following day we headed towards Winde(r)mere and stopped at Ambleside. In hindsight, I’d say that Ambleside was actually the nicer of the two. One cool thing about the UK is that within 100 miles (probably less at times) you can come across different accents and in this case very different looking houses and architecture.

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Another nice English town, Ambleside

We ambled on down to the edge of Lake Windermere to grab some drinks, some snacks and some Pokémon at a hotel. Ok, well we didn’t really catch any Pokémon, but we did the best we could within WiFi range!

The day was running out though and we still hadn’t found any fish ‘n’ chips. The scone place had also closed by now so we drove towards Bowness-on-Windemere which was on the way home for Liam and Courtney anyway.

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Lake Windermere at sunset

It was nice that we coaxed them to stay a little longer, but the fish ‘n’ chips was very average. Though no one dared to tell the massive tattoo-covered bloke that served us that there was a problem. I’m not sure why. Maybe he would have appreciated the feedback and written us a very articulate thank-you letter in calligraphy.

We bid the two sexy llamas farewell, took our deep-fried remorse back to the car and headed back to our cottage.

The road up was just as sketchy as the drive down, but at the top there was the perfect spot for a romantic full-moon pee stop. Peter’s excellent rally driving got us home in one piece and despite being pretty knackered we had some good chats long into the morning.

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Full moon bathroom break on a crazily steep pass

The next day we had a mini adventure searching for Hadrian’s Wall and soaking up the sun around Lanercost (not a GoT reference).

See what happened during the rest of the month in the UK here.

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