Lakes District - 2015

By Jacob Goodwin

This is the second article in a three part series about the trip Mom and I took to the UK. After our visit to London, we headed to the Lake District to take in a little natural beauty.

July 6 - Monday

Trip to Windermere

Our speedy Virgin Train arrived at Oxenholme Station on Monday afternoon. From this station, one can take a short train to Windermere Station, Windermere being one of the principle towns in the Lake District.

This short train ride was much less crowded than the ride from London to Oxenholme, Oxenholme being a minor stop on the train’s route to Glasgow. I also enjoyed the man who checked our tickets on this leg of our journey, as he was very amused with his own humor. Though I could not understand his witticisms, I will give him the benefit of the doubt because, let’s face it, our friends across the pond do a great job of living up to this stereotype.

Arrival in Windermere

The scenery immediately begins to become more rocky with sheep at every glance as you approach Windermere Station. From the station, there is a town featuring many cute guest houses and some spacious hotels running from Windermere to Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere being the longest (if not the largest) Lake in the Lake District.

A5074 near Beech Street in Windermere

Our lodging place was no less adorable than any of the others. Southview Guest House lived up to all of its recommendations on Would we really be offered a slice of carrot cake upon our arrival? Indeed. Would our room actually have a bath with jets? Of a truth. Was the couple running the place pleasant and helpful, and were the two young ladies employed there delightful, singing pop songs as they did their daily chores? Yessir! Nobody reads this blog, but I can’t help but recommend a visit to the Lakes and Southview Guest House.

The extremely pleasant Southview Guest House near the Windermere Station

We got a bite to eat at one of two cafes open that evening in Windmere, bought some stale custard-filled donuts at the Tesco, and headed back to Southview (custard has the power to enhance many a stale pastry!). Mom at this point was tired from the traveling, so she tried to figure out the fancy bath tub while I went hiking up a small hill called Orrest Head immediately above Southview. Some would say I was a little crazy, as there was quite a mist still after a day of rain. But I find that this sort of weather, if not too harsh, is pleasant for hiking and even more so for the green it brings out in the hills (great for photos, too). Or maybe I was feeling guilty for having purchased the custard-filled donuts.

The view from Orrest Head

Having enjoyed the little hike’s greenery, walls, and sheep, I returned to mom, donuts, and our king size bed to wind down.

July 7 - Tuesday

Ten Lakes Spectacular Tour

This was the day of our pre-arranged tour with The Mountain Goat, a company running several van tours in the Lake District. We took the Ten Lakes Spectacular Tour, which is billed as a good tour to take if you only have a day. As with most aspects of our couple days in the region, this exceeded my expectations. In fact, if we had another day or two, I probably would have signed up for one of their tours to another part of the park, likely to the high passes.

Our driver Malcolm, or shall I call him Professor Malcolm, was extremely knowledgeable, sharing his insights on etymology (I think he has personally talked to many vikings), regional history, and the depths and lengths of all the Lakes. I never would have guessed the amount of deforestation sheep can cause!

One of the first stops on our journey was the little town or village of Grasmere, where William Wordsworth had a residence and is buried. I should probably download and start reading some Wordsworth again, I remember liking his poetry in high school (this proves taking up engineering will assure you never again will have time for the finer things in life). Proximate to the site of Wordsworth’s burial is Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread, which has a sort of texture (not crunchy like a cracker nor light like a cake) that I have never had in a gingerbread cookie. I am really hoping mom orders a massive amount of these cookies for Christmas.

The tombstone of William Wordsworth

We went to several other great sites, which I will merely caption in the photos below. But I highly recommend you checkout the album linked below to see them all!

Surprise View, overlooking Derwent Water
The view from Honister Pass and Slate Mine, looking towards Buttermere
Falls between Buttermere and Keswick
Keswick, where we stopped for lunch
Castlerigg Stone Circle
Ullswater cruise

An evening stroll

After a truly spectacular tour (were there actually ten lakes? … I lost count), I decided to take a stroll down to Bowness and pick up some Thai food for mom and me. I stopped to take some pictures of Bowness Bay and Pier, and to grab some pre-dinner ice cream like anyone with a soul would do.

The thai food ended up being a little spicy for mom’s taste. I promise I didn’t do this intentionally so that I could have a larger share of the wicked pan-fried noodles.

Bowness Bay

July 8 - Wednesday

Holehird Gardens

We had seen a little pamphlet on a garden near Troutbeck called Holehird Gardens. Since we only had a half day prior to our Edinburgh train departure, we thought this would be a nice relaxed visit.

Since I am not a clever writer, I will just say that the gardens were eclectic. I believe that each section of the garden was kept by a different volunteer, or group of volunteers. Thus, each section has a unique character, sometimes resulting in a beautiful madness that I quite enjoyed.

We tried to walk back to Windermere to get our bags, but there was no sidewalk on the road. So we got off of the road and called a cab.

The first of my two favorite sections of Holehird Gardens
The second of my two favorite sections of Holehird Gardens

Back to Oxenholme

We headed to Windermere Station and boarded the little Transpennine Express train, retracing our route to Oxenholme. From Oxenholme we would have a straight shot to Edinburgh, remembering the beautiful scene and relaxation of the Lakes.