Monday, 7 May 2012

Lake District Weekend

We celebrated the May Bank Holiday weekend by venturing up to the Lake District National Park for 3 nights (2 full days).  The Lake District is the largest national park in England and encompasses some 885 sq miles.  Given its size, we certainly weren't going to see it all.  I decided to base in the northern town of Keswick (KEZ - ick) which worked out well.

The LD is known for its beauty as well as having literary ties to William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.  Given the short time and the fortunate break in the rainy weather, we spent most of our 2 days hiking (walking in UK speak) some popular trails.

So, you can take a break from the history lessons and enjoy the scenery and sheep!

From Derby, Keswick is just over 3 hours away.  It took another hour or so on the way up as we battled Friday night traffic and stopped for dinner.

Gorgeous weather on the first day.  We didn't stay in these hotels but I thought it was worth a photo.  We are on our way to the pier to catch a short ferry to the other side of Derwentwater (Lake) to start our first hike.

Blue skies and a random border collie fighting the urge to heard the sheep.

Awaiting our boat and ready for the day.  Nice to be dry though it was fairly crisp (10C / 50F or so).

and we are off

nice photo with Nicole (and a rare one of me)  -- believe it or not, but by the end of the day we were all a little pink-cheeked.  We didn't pack the sunscreen as it's not really in high demand (I don't think we've used it since we've been here).

Destination Catbells.  The peak on the left is roughly 450 meters up (we start up the trail on the right).   Tough work for us city folk.

taking a breather to look back at Keswick in the distance

down in the valley (opposite side of the lake)

still climbing -- we did have to stop for a blow every now and then.  I did like the fact that there was an actual trail.  The die-hard Brits like a little more solitude but we like company to make sure we aren't lost!

 summit #1

looking northwest to Bassenthwaite Lake

Newland Valley

on to the next peak -- Kuk's in the lead

still happy!

up we go

back across Derwentwater -- Keswick in the distance

sheep, sheep, sheep, sheep

a little bit of scrambling required

still happy!

made it!

another of me!

we took a well deserved picnic break and enjoyed the views

outstanding day

We chose a different path down -- the building in the top left is the Lodore Hotel (?) and our destination.  Actually the destination was the waterfalls behind it.  Down is easier on the muscles put harder on the joints.

Of course, a field of sheep await us at the bottom.

looking back from whence we came

 and another

As we were walking to Lodore we saw a rescue helicopter fly by and land in the distance.  Well, it landed in our path.

A climber had just fallen off the right face of that cliff.  We did not see it but others were talking about it.  Evidently he was in quite a lot of pain.  Better to be screaming than silent.  The rescue teams were all over it.  I hope he's okay.  I believe this is Shepherds Crag and my guidebook says there are several fatalities a year.  This link is likely about the incident.

Lodore Falls (my walking book had a much more glamorous photo)

3rd photo of me!  We've even warmed up enough to lose a layer.

here's the Lodore hotel from the front (and a little closer)

waiting for our ferry with the dock dog

helicopter finally departed -- we obviously didn't wait for it

saving our legs with a return journey on the boat; Catbells from this morning on the left, sun shining (how lucky we were)

more sheep, this time silhouetted against the sky

a flower display in the park as we walked back to "downtown" Keswick

I don't think I'll ever to used to this.  This is the street that our B&B is on.  Cars on both sides with barely enough room to pass.  Quite difficult to park (for me) since you can't swing the front of the car out much when backing in.  At least it was one way -- I've seen some like this that weren't!

Nicole in front of our wonderful B&B, The Edwardene Hotel.  Really enjoyed our stay.  Wonderful hosts as well.

Not bad for our first day, eh?

Day 2

We decided to get in the car and do a loop through Newlands Valley to Buttermere and then back through Honister Pass.  Most of the roads weren't quite single track nor were they really enough for 2 cars to pass.   Glad I had a year under my belt to get used to that type of driving.

On our way out it started to rain but fortunately it didn't last all day.

We pulled over at the top of Newlands Pass to take a quick walk to a small waterfall.  Temperatures are a little cooler and it's still sprinkling a bit at this time.

looking back down the valley we just drove up

 slightly snow capped mountain (fell) in the distance

different looking sheep by the waterfall

and, the watefall (or part of it)
next hike/walk was across the road from the same parking lot.  The sign said Ard Crags; my guidebook also mentioned Knottrigg.  One of those was up there.

Steep, steep climb.  Kids are sporting their new hiking shoes/boots and their waterproof overtrousers.  Gloves too, in this case!

As usual, we aren't all at the same pace.  Car's looking kinda small at this point.  The previous waterfall is off to the left.


Well deserved rest at the top

back down the valley

okay, it was actually a little bit more to the top

walking in the clouds, in the snow, with a lone mountain sheep on the edge of the world

So glad we did this one.  It was a tough climb but not too long.  I'm sure the kids will remember hiking in the snow though!

my troops

as I mentioned earlier, coming down is different but not necessarily easier

one more cloud and snow-capped peak photo

We made our way to our prime destination of Buttermere to take the "easy" popular 4-mile walk around the lake.  This stone house caught our eye.

Obligatory sheep and mountain photo


after walking through Buttermere and a farm or two, we head to the lake; fortunately the rain had stopped by this point

I enjoyed the opportunities for all the reflection photos.  Crystal clear.

Kids enjoyed skipping stones.  It took us awhile to make it around with all the stops, but they had fun.

more reflections

cool huh?  though I do have a few ripples in the water from the rock skippers

said rock skippers

my favorite -- the mountain reflection made it all the way to our feet

another family shot along the way

 one more reflection

Made a friend with this guy as we had a snack and rested at the far end of the lake.  I hope it's okay for ducks to eat apple.  He sure seemed to like it.

more great scenery

not sure how this tree is standing and growing in the rock

two sheep watching us pass

friendly cat on the rock wall; I assume it belonged to the nearby farm


Oreo cow

Hairy cows

And best of all, Ice Cream cows.  We were a little pooped by the time we made it around.  Fortunately, the ice cream prize was waiting for us.  Very tasty.

The drive back to Keswick was scenic though it took quite a bit of concentration.  Good times.

Glad we finally made it to The Lakes.  It was a great weekend.

Have a good week everyone.


  1. Loved the scenery pics; especially the tree in rock, your favourite reflection pic, and oreo cow.

    Waterproof boots and overtrousers - you are getting hardcore now. It'll be ineteresting to get your take on how the scenery compares to Peak District and North Wales.

  2. Just stumbled upon your blog post via the Fodors forums. Glad to see you had a great weekend. Lovely pictures, especially from the first day. Next time, come and see our end of the county! :)

  3. The Lakes for the scenery with the water; the Peak District is nice because it is so close and N. Wales for the combo scenery, ocean and history/castles!

  4. Steve...what a wonderful blog about your journey!! Thanx for taking the time to post!!

  5. Lake District looks awesome. Sounds like there is a bounty of hiking trails up there. Those hairy cows look aweosome!