‘Climb every mountain…’ Believe me after a mini holiday to the Lake District I am most certainly going to try!
It was that strange twilight zone part of the Christmas holidays. Christmas hysteria has gone and now you’re waiting for New Year to happen. No one knows what day it is, we’ve watched the obligatory Home Alone, fist pumped at the opening credits and eaten our body weight in cheese.
Time to venture out into the world again and get some much needed fresh air and exercise. What better place than the Lake District.
I had never been before, much to the shock of my boyfriend. It reminded me of the time I told my class I hadn’t seen Frozen….utter shock, tumbleweed…simply not acceptable. (Yes I watched it and bloody loved it!)
That was the decision made and we booked one of the last remaining available B&B’s.
Maps purchased, bags packed, ASBO cat left with enough food to feed all her neighbourhood friends and we were off!
We stayed in Bowness on Windermere and I instantly fell in love with the place. It reminded me of what I imagine a ski resort would look like. Plenty of restaurants, cafes and outdoor clothes shops around every corner. Useful when you have forgotten your hat, not useful when you really, REALLY want a RAB jacket and keep seeing them EVERYWHERE. It all looked so cosy and inviting with fairy lights in most windows and candles burning on restaurant tables. Hygge overload.
Even in bleak January, Lake Windermere took my breath away. It has such a calm beauty you instantly feel relaxed and refreshed.
Hiking around the lake can be fairly easy going. Not too steep and the stunning views keep changing to keep you interested and excited. With so may route options you can pick what suits your fitness level.
Luckily my boyfriend is an expert map reader so navigated us on a rather spectacular hike around the lake, through a forest, a stop for lunch and plenty of time for a good nose blowing. Something I always forget-tissues! It gave us the time to relax, enjoy the beautiful scenery and burn some of the Christmas calories off.
I think after 15 miles we did a good job. I was well and truly exhausted but the kind of exhausted that makes you feel great. Yes your legs are starting to give way and your feet hurt but come on, power through there’s a cocktail at the end of it!
Sitting under a heat lamp, with a blanket for extra warmth this was the perfect end to our first day of hiking.
The next day we took it easy and had a look around Ambleside. There is a little walk you can do to see the Stockghyll Force Waterfalls. This is worth seeing and is a perfect little walk in between long hikes. It has plenty of shops (uh oh) to mooch around and lots of nice cafes to grab some lunch.
After a stroll around Ambleside and escaping another gorgeous Tog 24 shop. We were relieved that no one purchased a RAB jacket (boo), so we had the money to spend the evening celebrating New Year’s Eve with more cocktails, a curry and watching the awesome fireworks around Lake Windermere!
To kick start 2017 we set off to Langdale Pikes for an epic day of hiking.
This place is unbelievably beautiful I just couldn’t take it all in. My iPhone 6 did a pretty good job of capturing some images but you have to see it to believe it.
This hike started by following a never ending pathway of steps alongside a waterfall. Now I am not too unfit but I felt it going up these steps. It really was exhausting but the beauty of the views just made me keep going.
Plus every time someone overtook me my competitiveness streak kicked in and I was determined to get to the top. A few secret foot stomps and swearing later we were about half way.
I was promised tea at this point so I kept going!
Hiking in the winter means you are constantly taking off layers to only put them back on again ten minutes later. It was a lovely sunny day but very, very cold. As we got nearer the top the wind picked up and we were walking up some steps completely covered in ice. I will be honest this terrified me. All I kept thinking about was slipping on the ice and falling off the mountain (dramatic I know but I was tired and in need of tea). An extremely sporty looking chap then practically skipped past me on his ‘run up the mountain’ so I thought right, yep I am being a baby.
Deep breathe, keep going, I will get to the top!
Was it worth it I hear you ask. After I had blown my nose for the hundredth time and my heart rate had come down to a sensible level I stopped to take it all in. The views at the top are just incredible. The air was so crisp and we were the only ones up there for a while. We sat down for a break and just took time to appreciate where we were.
I could have stayed up there for hours but we only had time for the best cup of tea and cookie I have ever had! It was absolutely freezing at the top so you just had to keep moving. I ended up wearing another pair of trousers and two more jackets to keep me warm enough.
I am not a fan of coming down mountains. I always feel a bit anxious and unsteady as it’s so easy to lose your balance. Plus it’s so hard on your legs! They had turned to jelly by this point so I was ecstatic to see that the way down had a few flat areas to give me a break.
I kept looking back to see how far we had come. The weather dramatically changed on our way down so I am glad we left when we did. The top of the mountain looked quite eerie and frightening with the dark clouds looming above. Hard to think you were up there drinking tea and loving life half an hour before.
Once back down and a never ending hike along the road back to the car, we once again enjoyed the post hike glow. Hot shower approaching and dinner booked, I was a very happy girl.
Bags packed, full or well used muddy hiking gear we set off home planning our next trip. You know you have found somewhere special when you have planned your next visit before you have even left.
Lake District see you in the Spring. I will be the one running up that mountain next time…ahem, maybe a jog?