How were all of your easter breaks? I had a pretty good one, managing to escape the hustle and bustle of London to the not-quite-quiet region of the Lake District.
What do I mean by “not-quite-quiet”? Well Lake District, which offers one of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK, was obviously filled with tourists on this long holiday weekend. As the area it covers is fairly large, there were quite a number of vehicles on the road as well, though I wouldn’t recommend driving if you don’t have to. Despite the crowds, I still managed to get what I wanted from my break away – fresh air, a change in scenery and a chance to partake in some outdoor activities… But let me start from the start.
Day 1: Travel from London to Windermere
Instead of renting a car and making the 5 hour drive up to Lakeland, I opted to take the train, which takes a similar amount of travel time. Wanting to save a bit of money, I chose an indirect route which involved 4 trains and 3 changes. Clearly not ideal, especially on a bank holiday weekend with repair works taking place on the train network, but for a price of c.£70 return (vs. £200 for other more direct routes!), it worked for me. Amazingly, no trains were missed and we arrived “only” 10 minutes behind schedule.
After settling into my Airbnb accommodation, I headed out to explore Windermere town and to find some lunch. As it turns out, there’s really only 2 main streets in town, so it’s fairly small with limited choices on restaurants. A bit of advice: if ever you plan to visit on a bank holiday weekend, be sure to book restaurants in advance because pretty much all of the good restaurants had no places left for dinner.
I finally settled on a cosy looking restaurant called Wild & Co. which had some light lunch options on offer. I opted for the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on brown toast, which came with a side salad of watercress.
These scones looked really tempting as well but I decided to hold off for now, waiting to get a good walk in before chomping down too quickly on the pastries.
After leaving a bit of time for digestion, I headed off for an easy walk up to the Orrest Head viewpoint. Orrest Head is easily accessed from the centre of town (it’s located opposite the tourist information centre) and offers some awesome views of Lake Windermere so it was a good one to start with, especially for the non-seasoned hiker.
There are two route options to get yourself up the slope – there’s the meandering, mucky trail through the woodland (muddy after the heavy rains the area has been seeing) or the more sanitised paved road up a steeper incline. Go for the woodland trail – you won’t regret it especially when spring is in the midst of springing. 🙂
The trail is defined by solid stone walls, which I later discover actually run all through Lakeland. These dry stone walls, made of slate mined from the local area, came about after the Enclosure Act of 1801, when land that was previously free for all to pasture their animals on, became leased land for the purposes of raising taxes to fund government efforts such as the Napoleonic Wars. It’s really rather interesting, especially when you begin to notice that these walls really do change the way the landscape looks as you look down a valley.
Here’s another interesting fact – the moss growing on the walls, as you can see, is absolutely thriving and a vivid green. This is a sure-fire sign of good air quality, because moss does not grow well in polluted air. Coming from London, I cannot help but take a few deep breaths of this moist, earthy air in for good measure.
30 minutes after a leisurely walk, I arrive at the top of the fell. The skies were filled with clouds and the threat of rain, but it was a beautiful view nonetheless.
After taking my time enjoying the view, I made the slow walk back down to town, stopping frequently to take snaps of everything I was seeing.
With time to fill until dinner, I decided to make my way to the shores of Lake Windermere itself. There is a National Trust footpath located a short walk away from the entrance to the Orrest Head trail which takes you by a little stream that feeds the lake.
OK, so this might not be the most flattering picture of Lake Windermere but it really is rather lovely when the sun’s out and people and dogs are frolicking by the side of the lake. 😉
I’ll end this post here as it’s getting quite lengthy, and continue in a following post. In the meantime, tell me if you’ve ever visited Windermere! What did you think of it?