As I’ve mentioned previously, there’s some places in England that lie practically on your door step that I have taken for granted, one of those being the Lake District. People were amazed that in my 29 years on this earth I’ve never visited the lakes, a mere 2 hour drive away. Been to Lake Pangong, the high altitude body of water in Indian Kashmir, and Lake Toba, the volcanic lake where the world’s largest explosion occurred, but never been to the Lake District, the abode of postman pat and that black and white feline. All this was about to change.
When you’re driving across the country as you begin to enter the Lakes, the scenery dramatically changes and becomes…nice. No plastic bags growing on trees and pointless graffiti scrawled everywhere, you can really lose yourself here like, and before long, we did. The GPS stopped working and we ended up taking a wrong turn and almost ending up in Carlisle.
There is no shortage of hostels and cheap lodges in the Lakes, just book early especially in the summer. We had to settle for the Windermere YHA which offered nice views its namesake lake but locked its doors at 11pm on a Saturday night, it’s almost as if they expect people from Newcastle to come in at 4am mortal drunk and wake everyone up before throwing up all over the curtains.
You can’t visit the Lake District without partaking in some walking. You can find most of England’s highest peaks in the area including Scafell pike and Hellvelyn, but there is also an abundance of moderate walks. Stargazer’s stroll in Keswick takes you to a view point at Friar Crag. The walk was described by John Ruskin as one of the most beautiful scenes in Europe, I wouldn’t agree, but I wasn’t here on a clear night when the lack of pollution makes it perfect for stargazing.
Borger Dalr is a little more strenuous and was once described by Wainwright as ‘the finest square mile of Lakeland’. Starting at the village of Grange the walk takes you through some farmland, and over some 8000 year old rocks formed by glaciers then into Dalt Quarry. To pass the time while walking try to catch some of the fellow walker’s conversations when they pass in the opposite direction, see what you can make of it, I learned that one enthusiastic rambler ‘has never been defeated by a sea serpent’…. Right mate.
The ramble continues over Broadslack gill and then there’s a steep climb up to the summit at Castle Crag. A crag is a steep mass of rock projecting upward which derives from the Gaelic word ‘creag’, unless of course you’re a fan of the Back to the Future novelisation, in which case it’s a slang word for ‘ass’ created next year.
So for anyone who lives in England, or just visiting for that matter, I strongly recommend making the trip over to the lakes, it really is a dreamlike and picturesque place which is quite iconic with England. When I arrived back at work in Felling on Monday and looked around at the dirty streets overrun by shell suit wearing junkies and resembling a zombie apocalypse, it’s hard to image the lakes is just a stone’s throw away.