one stinking hour from home is all I could ever need to recharge my batteries.
The land ranges in lush shades of green from small hillocks to the highest peaks in England. The roads are fraught with hairpin bends and flowery country lanes. There are miles of hand built stone walls that divide small and large boundaries. And pretty little cottages nestle cosily on hill sides and on lane ends.
Oh man, the place I wish to visit forever (and possible see out my greying hair days) is The Lake District. From Coniston to Bowness to Ambleside to Kendal, these heavenly nooks hold so much beauty that you couldn't think it was possible to embrace it all in a day. But you can and we did. Well, actually 3 days and two nights. This was our holiday this year and yes, it was small but really, its all we could afford as Mark is still in redundancy mode. But you don't need to go abroad to be thrilled by the natural beauty on your very own doorstep and you can always strike a bargain with hoteliers in this season of financial despair thus making your pennies stretch and your heart leap higher than the thrill of a cheap sangria with a free cocktail umbrella!
I have always loved the Lake District. this stems from when I did adventure training in the RAF. We would book groups of 8-10 people to go fell walking by day and pub crawling by night. Ambleside is a particular favourite of mine because its plentiful in pub life and hill side alike. It also boasts a cute little novelty (pic to follow, below) which brings curious tourists in their thousands to adore. Id also come here with the RAF Mountain Rescue team to enjoy the spoils of the hills and the dangers of how fell walking can lead to requiring such a team. These hills call to me as do the lakes and perspectives of this beautiful land.
Mark, as you can imagine, was in his geocaching element. At Coniston he grabbed his first webcam cache where CCTV takes your image to prove you were there. We had to co-ordinate the picture snap with my mum on the phone who was also on the internet and had to capture the image. All very techy and such like but we got it! Ellie and I are in the picture too (just behind the car on the bend - yoo hoo!) He was a real happy camper with that baby!
Coniston village is a real gem hidden in the hills and side streets are bedecked with courtyards and side alleys - all glorious and pretty
Corners and bends reveal exciting scenery
Bridges of every kind hang over swollen streams
The rain, which was pretty much the precipitation for the three days made streams like these look like rapids
Beautiful slate churches clung to each village centre
My dudes enjoying a chat whilst waiting for lunch in a pub (we were more excited that we could take the dog in!)
The sun did rear its head from time to time which made for this pretty picture, a view from yet another bridge!
We then drove to Kendal to check into our hotel (that allows dogs - yahoooo!). It was a beautiful stone structure set on the corner of a road, called the Damson Dene and as soon as we unpacked our short stay belongings, we went on a discovery.
Belle got tired with all the hills and stairs but the promise of a swim and spa pool retreat after the adventure soon had her on the go again.
The view from the wee pond at the bottom of the hotel grounds
He he heeeeee, Ellie couldn't resist. Obv she is far less naked.
More pondy viewsAnd so for a swim and a relax in the spa afterwards (minus the dog of course). We went into Bowness on Windemere for tea and we were surprised at just how many pubs allow you to take your pooch in for a meal. Eddy was well behaved and scoured the floor for scraps, of which many feel from our plates.
The next day we went into Kendal itself. Its not soo nookery nickety knack as the smaller villages but its still full of character and great shops. mark went caching so that Belle and I could leisurely take in the full extent of the boutiques and arcades without incessant "tutting". As much as Mark and I would like to roam the hills, its just not possible with Ellie in her wheel chair. But we don't mind really as we much prefer coffee shops with charismatic charm and shops strewn up and down cobbled streets. Ahem! However, Ellie thought she was having convulsions as I lead her down this cobbled street in her wheelchair and she asked me stop once or twice just so that the noises in her head would stop! We did laugh.
Look how tiny that shop is below this pub, we had to crouch real love to get in!
More lovely side streets
Secret gardens at the end of long arcades
tired munchkin in a beautiful cafe.
Lots of beautiful summery flowers cheered grey walled buildings on the high street
Pubs that mark how far from London they are
Mark and his bloody caches. This was a travel bug that likes to have photos taken on post boxes along its travels.
We didn't really buy much but I stretched to buying some yarn from a little wool shop in some really pretty colours to help my hat making go with some va-va voom. They should be on sale in my Etsy shop pretty soon.
On the way back to the hotel form Kendal, I stopped down the hill and gazed at this view but in haste of getting out of the way of oncoming traffic, my focus set to the stones.... but I quite likes it! LOL. Scafel Pike (the highest peak in England) is beyond in the blur.Then it was back to the hotel for an evening meal but not before another swim and a spell on the spa.
We checked out the next morning to spend some time in my favourite place in the whole wide world - ever............even above Florence and Barcelona - Ambleside. Every corner poses breathtaking decor, houses decked in flowers, hedges all neatly trimmed, bridges with perfect views, shops sympathetically blending into the slate and stone charm of the town houses, hikers and yompers in gaited boots and gortex jackets. Its a wonderful towny village.
I could have sat on the bridge all day long.
My guys, my patient guys waiting for me as i enjoy every inch of my favourite place.
One lady has acquired a very expensive taste in Kettle chips. They are divine, without question they are perfect crisps but they cost almost £2 a bag!
And this is what makes the place eccentric and charming. The bridge house. Its all crooked and dinky and oooooooooh, i dont know. I just love it.
Its now the worlds smallest tourist information centre and is preserved by the national trust
And after that we went home.
Did some washing, caught up, slept because of the purest of fresh air we had consumed and life got back to some sort of normality.