A Holiday in The Lake District

Tuesday 20th July
Our holiday in the Lake District continues—without us actually managing to visit a lake. The weather was boiling hot, so actually visiting a lake would have been a good idea, but instead we decided to go for lots of long walks. I was not part of the planning committee, though to be fair, the area is beautiful, even with sweat dripping into your eyes.

Our Airbnb is in Newlands Valley, and we found a lovely walk from the house that was relatively flat (even the planning committee decided big hills were a bad idea in the heat). There was a little ancient church with a school attached, and bubbling brooks, and sheep huddled in the shade of every tree.

An ancient church nestling in the valley.

We had dinner at The Royal Oak in Keswick (Husband likes booking Royal Oak pubs. It’s a thing.) The food was delicious, and despite being very crowded, the pub seemed clean. All the staff wore masks, which seems a polite thing to do at the moment.

Wednesday 21st July

We walked in the valley again, going a little further this time so we managed a loop. The valley stretches beyond the roads, and the path disappears into the fold of the hills. I would love to walk further, but the weather is too hot.

In the afternoon we decided to drive somewhere pretty (though everywhere is pretty, so not sure why) and go for another stroll. We drove to Honister Slate Mine, which is a working mine with tours and climbing lessons and a gift shop. It also has a lot of tourists in a Covid-world in July. I am not keen on climbing or mines or tourists, so it wasn’t my favourite place. Had a quick look at the gift shop, which was full of beautiful things that I couldn’t afford. Walked in a different area, where there were fewer tourists.

We ate at The Royal Oak in Keswick again. It was so good last time, several of us chose the same dishes. The food was tasteless—must have been a different chef.

Thursday 22nd July
We walked the same loop of the valley, past the old church. It was still beautiful, still very hot. I still didn’t manage to walk further into the hills.

In the afternoon we drove into the hills to Watendlath Tarn. The roads there were clearly built for horses rather than cars, and were so narrow that sometimes the hedge brushed both sides of the car. The lanes twisted up steep hills, and you hoped you wouldn’t meet a car coming in the opposite direction—but of course in July, it was inevitable and we would have to reverse back to a passing place. Occasionally the passing place was filled by a parked car, and we would have to reverse even further. Unfortunately Husband quite loudly stated his views of people who park in passing places, at a moment when his window was down, and so was the window of the parked car. We managed to pass without a punch-up!

The journey was slow, but so very beautiful. After winding up and up, we began to drive downhill, but not for very long when we rounded a last bend, and there was the car park. There were toilets (which were locked) and a tea room (which was closed) and the tarn, shimmering in the sunlight. It was much prettier than the photo. We strolled, and paddled, and enjoyed the beauty. There weren’t many other people there, which was nice—probably they were stranded somewhere due to all the parked cars in passing places along the route.

A tarn, high in the dip of the mountains.

We had a final dinner at the Royal Oak in Keswick. The food was tasty again, so the Tuesday chef must have returned. I did notice that no one was now wearing a mask. It’s weird how noticeable that has become.

In the evening we were contacted by a neighbour and asked to limit our water usage. The hamlet is fed from a stream, and it was getting low. Maybe we’ll have to visit another lake after all, to wash and do laundry.

Thanks for reading. Next week I’ll tell you about the second stage of our holiday, in the Peak District. One day we went paddle boarding, which I kept mistakenly calling ‘water-boarding!’ I promise there was no torture involved.

Take care.
Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson
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If you enjoyed this, read a copy of The Sarcastic Mother’s Holiday Diary:

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