Last month I went to the north of England with a guy who would turn out to be a massive douche, and his family (who were all sweethearts), and I had a pretty good time. For someone who loves travel, experiencing new things, staying in a new house, and getting free food, the mini-break was perfect for me, especially as there were so many interesting things to see and do.
We stayed in Windermere in the Lake District, which is known for being an area filled with such vast natural beauty, that it's even a favourite place of my boss to travel to. We set off from Watford, a place relatively near to central London, so you can imagine what it was like spending a six/ seven hour journey in a tiny car with four other people and a dog. The outside scenery slowly changed from tarmac to tumps (no, not the US presidency candidate that we all thought entered as a joke), and made me feel more and more like I was embarking on my way to the Shire. From there, we went to Buttermere and Glenridding and Kendal, and spent a lovely eight days scouring cliffs and towns - my favourite five of which are categorised here. Warning: I took way too many photographs.
My favourite thing about Newlands Hause was the fact that it transported me from England straight to somewhere very nordic, primarily Iceland or Finland. We were pretty much the only people in the whole place, with mainly just sheep and hills surrounding us. It felt like stepping into a slightly unearthly scenario, like we had left real life completely and instead gone walkabout in Bree, and it was slightly awesome. McDouche and I climbed one of the hills and tried not to fly right off the edge with the force of the wind, unlike the sheep who were completely unfazed. There was a small waterfall down the side of one of the hill faces, and it was all so untainted and rustic that I was surprised they'd layered tarmac on the ground for cars to pass by on. Quite frankly, I could have stayed there for a good couple hours, chilling with sheep and waterfalls, but not only did it just look like Iceland but it also definitely felt like it, and it was hard not tearing up at the wind battling my eyeballs.
Tarn Hows National Park
For me, Tarn Hows made me feel like I was in Yosemite, California, which is a drastic change from Iceland. It was breathtakingly stunning, and there were lots of little pathways around the place that would lead to somewhere cool. For me, the only downfall of the place was the sheer amount of tourists, like myself (can I hear "hypocrite"?), stopping every five seconds to take photographs. Honestly, it was so rare to see someone without a camera around their neck that you would have guessed it was an entry requirement of the place. Regardless, it was definitely one of the best places I went on the trip, and is a place that I will always remember having good laughs in, especially when McDouche flopped down one of the hills. As a sidenote, watch where you're going when you reach the murkier parts of the national park, because at one point a very swam-like part of the ground engulfed my whole ankle, and I was so insanely grateful that I was wearing decent walking boots. McDouche on the other hand couldn't be so lucky.
It was insanely difficult to desist taking photographs at Orrest Head, because it held such an incredible view at its peak that I wanted to capture every square inch of it. Again, like at Tarn Hows, so did everyone else, judging by the amount of times I heard a camera snap a shot (I keep sounding like an irritated elderly kid who hates technology, despite owning some herself, but in all honesty I just have a heavy dislike for when people spend the whole time behind their camera lens and don't actually take in what's around them - or even worse, snap a quick photo and leave straight after - you know?). The walk up to the top wasn't too bad, as we went up one of the lesser steep ways, especially when you consider our party consisted of an OAP and a skittish dog, it was relatively straight forward. One thing though - if you don't take good walking boots, you're screwed, especially if the hill has experienced any rain within the past 24 hours, which I can bet you it almost always has.
The Hardknott Pass
Technically, the Hardknott Pass is just a road (albeit the steepest road in England - 30% incline - where our driver's driving had to be acutely accurate otherwise we'd fall own the steep, plunging drops to the side to our untimely deaths, because who needs rollercoasters when you've got the real thing?), but if you like gripping the sides of the car seats in terror, it's the road for you. Also, the views that we got to see on the way were absolutely incredible as we were situated between small Cumbrian mountains, and due to the fact that I don't think many people are all too keen on risking both their car and their whole family on a dodgy road, it was almost deserted. It'll be hard to capture the place san any rain, though.
Gummers How was quite like Orrest Head in the fact that you had to climb to the top of a hill, battling rain and wind, to get to the peak of the tump. However, this was slightly different due to the fact that on the way up you get to see the beautiful 'beef farms' (which are equally as eerie as it sounds) situated on the hills, to which I should probably mention that if you have dogs, keep them on leads until you get to the very top - we didn't, and so McDouche's dog yapped around the cows, gradually helping build the irritation of everyone in our party, until the cow let out the smallest sound and the dog ran away. Also, at some points the climb up is so steep that we had to split into two parties - one that would scramble up dodgy cliff faces, with the other taking the more sensible, flatter route. I was part of the former, and held onto my camera for dear life throughout the climb.
During our stay in Windermere we visited an incredible amount of lakes and hills, and as lovely as it was, by the seventh day God had definitely created boredom. So, if any of y'all are planning to visit The Lake District, England, soon, here are a few of my favourite places to go to keep things interesting;
I did both vaguely and passive aggressively mention Lake Windermere in my post earlier, about the evening we spent taking photos down by the lake. It was a great night, and if any of you are keen photographers, the twilight hours are definitely the best time to go, as not only are you subject to some awesome colours, but you are also mainly alone. (I say mainly due to the fact that during our night of photography, a group of drunk Northern teenagers came down to have a beach bonfire, and when they asked who we were, a member of our party called "we're just photographers!" and boy, did I like the sound of that.)
So, to conclude my stay at the Lake District, I had a pretty awesome time. The views were incredible, and the company (san McDouche) was lovely, and I'm so glad that I was given the opportunity to go. However, if I was invited back I would definitely refuse - with Mykonos and Alicante and Almería still left to explore, I'll definitely go for the warmer options. I hope that I've given y'all some ideas for your stay at the Lake District, and if so, let me know below!