With the August bank holiday looming, we just had to take advantage of it! So we booked a lovely B&B in the lake district with Marcus & Jess for a spot of walking in the country. First impressions were we were back in New Zealand. It was so green but we soon discovered why - it rained quite a lot the whole weekend! But being true kiwis we carried on as usual. Even ate our lunch in the rain!
It took roughly 4 hours on the Virgin fast trains, it seemed everyone else was thinking the same mode of transport as it was really packed. We soon discovered it pays to have reserved seats but that doesn't stop some bottom crawlers of society taking them and not moving! Jess and I nearly hit heads with the rudest man who was too cheap to pay for his children to sit down on a reserved seat. Tom & Marcus sorted it and we got to sit in first class, a bumpy start to the trip but the cider and sandwich soon put us back on track.
We rocked up to Windermere around 11pm or so and walked 10 mins to the Bed and Breakfast. We were greeted by the lovely owner with tea and cake before bed. We were very ready for bed but had to decide on sandwiches and breakfast for the morning! I think we all slept well that night! The morning consisted of a big BIG breakfast, there was lots of choice, which ranged from pancakes, panfried fish, eggs any which way or the BIG breakfast - which I think we all went for.
With a little direction from the owner Jane, we set out on our walk with Paddy Dillon (the guide book) I think the 4 hour walk had a little bit of everything. Rain, sun, wind, farm life, cow poo, stone walls, greenery, getting lost, climbing hills, views, and then it was lunchtime! what had our lovely B&B lady Jane packed us! well lets just say no one was really hungry as we were still full from breakfast! but it was our duty so we ate the lunch too. It consisted of a very large yummy sandwich which we chose the filling for, fruit, sausage roll, chippies, fruit cake and who can forget the Kendal mint cake - we still are! I have never seen so much sugary mint in one place!
We finished up our lunch on our hay bails with wet bums and then continued to walk it off in time for dinner! With two places recommended for dinner we started with the first which was French cuisine and very good. It was the McMillan's shout - so thanks guys! That night we went to bed very full and a little tired from a good days walk with Paddy.
The next morning started much the same, overly full as we can't say no to good food, our little packed lunches in hand but this time we hopped into the car and drove to Rydal & Grasmere lakes (40mins) and walked a 2 hour coffin trail in the pouring rain! It is nice how you can get a different experience from walk to walk in the area, this was nice as it had a two lovely large lakes to walk around and swing bridges and not to mention the puddles! Lunch started at Badgers pub which soon ended as we were kicked off the outside table even though it was pouring with rain and we continued the last 40mins back to car. We had heard a lot about the gingerbread in the area so we paid Sarah Nelson's tiny gingerbread shop a visit and found a queue out the door. We panicked and bought up large and decided it wasn't our cup of tea but you have to try these things!
The day ended with yet more food at the second recommended Wicked Windermere restaurant. It was nice food but the decor was a bit over the top. The next day left us with no packed lunch but a large breakfast again - Pancakes all round but I think Tom had the fish? We set out in the car in search of a castle, well that isn't quite true we found signs to a castle and made it our mission. It seems no one wants to live in a castle these days, so we left our number as I think we would be great tenants. It would have been a great Wedding venue! We also popped into Hill Top to see where the genius, Beatrix Potter lived and created her lovely timeless children's books, which I'm sure we have all read at some point. She was an interesting lady with old and new values and a cute farm!
We also explored the wondrous Castlerigg Stone Circle on a hilly top somewhere close by, got wet but still it makes you wonder how and why?! I think one inscription suggests it was an old market area. All that history makes a person thirsty and there was a nice pub on our way back to Windermere, the Windmill, so we stopped off for pie and beer, Collie Wobbled beer to be exact. I also got to try Ginger wine! - very sweet! not bad though. With time on our side we drove down to Bowness on Windermere which was definitely were all the tourist were hiding! lots of shops and 'rides'.
Just before it was ready to leave, it rained again and sadly there were delays on the train lines because of the bad weather. With a lot of confusion and several card games later we got on the wrong train and had no seats, but we made it home in one piece and tired which is always a good sign of a good weekend in the country! We will definitely be up for a winter walk next time in the hilly green mini Wellie lake district.
Kendal mint cake anyone? plenty to spare!