In June, Dad invited me and Marco on a Newman family holiday to the Lake District. It was the first time us Newmans (Dad, Mum, Hugo and I) have vacay’d together since I was about 14. Now that is along time ago! Never has a boyfriend accompanied me on a family trip and never have I been to the Lake District.
A fan of trying new things, I was rather excited at the prospect of spending a week in a cottage with the clan. Our humble home was located in the small village of Glenridding which is at the bottom of Ullswater Lake. I had heard good things about the Lake District, it’s abundance of hiking trails and outdoor activities, I knew I would love it.
On the drive up Marco and I spent a night in East Croydon and Manchester and a couple of hours in Birmingham, mainly due to his work schedule but partly to break up the journey. I have friends who live near Manchester so I met up with them in the evening at Elnecot (a favourite of mine) and for breakfast at Dishroom. Despite breaking up the journey, we encountered horrendous traffic the entire way. Hurrah!
The weather that week was phenomenal. It was overcast for the first two days but hey, this is England after all. The rest was glorious sunshine and temperatures so high we were able to kayak and swim in the lake, enjoy an ice cream by the shore and wear shorts the entire time.
Marco and I went on a hike most days we were there. Our first summit was Place Fell standing at 657m. It was a steep climb and we didn’t have a lot of time before our dinner reservation but we managed to reach the top and back in 2.5 hours. The views of Ullswater and surrounds were pretty decent until we reached the top where we saw absolutely zilch. We were in the clouds.
The following day we embarked on a family trip up Hellvelyn (950m). We had planned to ascend up the infamous Striding Edge, which is a jagged grade 1 scramble. Dad declared that he would not be attempting this nerve-racking route due to his fear of heights. He was hoping to meet us up there via Swirral Edge which is slightly less scary and would be our path down.
It was an extremely hot day and I was rather baffled that some of our party left without food or water. Marco and I packed the kitchen sink and all the food we could fit in our bags. Two litres of water each but even then, I got caught out and ran out an hour from home. It took us 6.5 hours in total and only three of us; Mum, Marco and I, made it to the top. This certainly isn’t a ‘mountain’ that should be taken lightly but definitely a peak not to miss if visiting the area. That evening we scoffed down some burgers at a local joint.
Despite walking every day, we certainly squeezed in a fair bit of indulgence. Some of my favourite meals include those at Fellpack and The Round and Lingholm Kitchen and the Swinside Inn, all close to Keswick. We had BBQs, tea and cake and lots of cold beers in the garden.
Keswick certainly has its fair share of fine foods and the walks surrounding the town are pretty spectacular too. Catbell walk was a favourite of mine. It is pretty easy going and didn’t take long but the scenery is really something else. The sheep on the hill made great photos too!
Time was flying by but there was time for one last hike. I couldn’t leave the Lake District and not climb the highest mountain in England, surely?! Scafell Pike (978m) was on the agenda. Marco and I set off that afternoon with more water and food than ever before. We were prepared for all eventualities, I even packed gloves!
The Corridor route seemed the most obvious choice to climb up as it was the easiest, the most popular and so less chance of us getting lost. Signage and route markings in the Lakes are somewhat poor so a good map, compass or GPS is important. The scenery on our ascent was wonderful, overlooking the Great End (910m) and passing numerous tarns. At the top we could see as far as the Isle of Man and even Scotland!
Sadly the views at the summit weren’t that spectacular as we were just too high, too remote and the distance too far from anything to see things clearly. We took the Grains Gill route back which passes 4 of the highest peaks in England. Most people go up this way and we soon realised why. It was a tough scramble, to say the least. My GPS and our judgement saved us from heading down to a sheer drop.
Again, this is not a mountain to be taken lightly. UK peaks are merely small hills compared to the summits I conquered in New Zealand but despite their small size, they can still be very dangerous. We returned to the car exhausted but super proud of our achievement.
Hiking, eating and drinking weren’t the only activities on offer that week. Marco, Hugo and I spent a morning rock-climbing with Mountain Adventure at Sticklebarn which was fantastic. We got a chance at belaying each other and all three of us successfully completed every climb. The views across Sticklebarn Valley were incredible.
We also went Alpaca Walking with Alpacaly Ever After which was one of the highlights of my trip. You can see from the photos what amazing weather we had on Derwentwater Lake. The Alpacas and guide were so friendly and the guide shared so many interesting Alpaca facts with us.
Before our drive home, Marco took me to Forest Side Hotel for lunch at their Michelin-starred restaurant. It was a very nice meal in a beautiful setting. There was Maserati’s parked out front and everyone was very well dressed.
Who could have thought a holiday in England would bring so much fun and adventure? I really fell in love with the Lake District and I would love to return. I now have a different, more favourable view on staycations and England as a destination. We all had a really great holiday, thanks so much Dad!