The Lake District…
The words had always been there but I hadn’t understood the attraction of the area for myself, until finally deciding on taking a midweek break in the region. The start of transitioning back to my life.
I’d just finished a three month stint at The Promis Clinic in London. Working as a Senior Therapist in their Achilles Executive Recovery program. It had been challenging, thought provoking and interesting. The daily commute had taken its toll on me very quickly and I’d decided to not continue. Self care being paramount. The energy needed to fulfil a role such as this not easy to come by – 5 days a week and with a four hour commute. It had only taken a short while for tiredness to tingle from my flesh covered bones and all my brain wanted to do on my weekend off was shut down!
When working in a field which allows you to see inside the lives of people who have stimulated and self medicated with drugs, alcohol & food for many different personal reasons. You become aware of the impact stress, burnout and not addressing emotional issues can have on mind, body and soul.
Basing ourselves at Stonecross Manor Hotel, on the outskirts of South Kendal, a historic market town situated close to Lake Windermere and not far from the estuary village of Arnside. We began to explore. For me, Lake Winderemere was the least appealing of all the lakes. But the fact that it sits on the southern end of the district and is the first to be encountered, is maybe why it has such a strong attraction for us southerners. Our drive up from Southend had taken around 6 and a half hours but we made sure we left early, so would have enough of the day to enjoy on arrival. Our hotel had swimming pool, jacuzzi and steam room. Another reason we thought it would be a good place to stay – as what a way to relax on returning from a full day exploring. Our room although simple, was comfortable and well stocked. We paid £60 per night and although had originally booked through booking.com which for some reason threw out my payment. The hotel honoured the reservation and price agreed. Ours was a large bedroom ( which allowed me to continue my personal yoga practice) with a kingsize bed. Fresh bottles of water were put in our room each day – still and sparkling. The products in the bathroom smelt delicious and were plentiful. The biscuits yummy and a multitude of teas and coffee available for all tastes.
We were hoping to ride the ferry across from one side to other of Lake Windermere rather than drive round but it was closed for maintenance as not yet the start of the summer season. We thought it might take a long time to do but learnt that nowhere in the Lake District really takes a long time to get to at this time of year. I should imagine that there is way more traffic throughout the summer. It was busy during our short stay.
Absorbing the cumbrian coastline after a flirtatious evening, spent strolling the sandy shoreline of the estuary at Arnside, as the train trundled its way across the picturesque water covered track, we began to head inwards from Workington towards Loweswater. You can comfortably drive through the Lake District in one day, which for me opened up the next experience I would like to have there. I’ll share that with you in another post.
Memories of New Zealand were triggered, as mental pictures of places like the Coromandel Peninsular bubbled up from the deep reservoir of my mind. I was transported back to 2007 – a most fabulous, fantastic and pivotal time, which changed the course, direction and desire for my life. A time which taught me all I needed to know about healthy living – the importance of family – security, love & freedom, whilst doing what makes you happy. A time which has proved fulfilling, satisfying, terrifying and full of learning, understanding and stuckness. All at the same time!
I think a short break is a good idea for those not knowing if they’ll like the area or not. As I said, although the scenery reminded me very much of our travels in New Zealand – I thought I would connect with the walking element provided by such a location but on reflection, it didn’t grab me as much.
Driving from Buttermere to Keswick via Honister Pass was one of the most impressive experiences of the day. Although it was Vin who did all the driving. It connects Buttermere and Borrowdale Valleys. Is it just me but does there seem to be a Lord of the Rings vibe going on with the names?
Rising to 1167 feet at the summit, it is truly a splendiferous winding, stark and dramatic drive much more so than The Struggle, which we thought was going to be truly magnificent at 1489 feet. It just didn’t have the same, erm… mountain side appeal! Both though, left me wondering who in the hell had built the steep stone walls which stuck to the sides of hill and mountains in all areas.
Arriving in Keswick it was as if we had stumbled onto the districts very own swiss quarter. I felt I had been transported to Interlaken. It was a very odd experience but a delightful one never the less!
I’ve always been disappointed with Stonehenge, as we’ve driving past on our way to Devon on previous road trips. Feeling like it was stuck between an intersection which proved unappealing – so to come across the stone circle, sitting high on a hill at Castlerigg, providing me with free parking and panoramic views of the surrounding areas, I didn’t mind having to wade through a few serious photographers to get my own up close and personal view.
For some reason, travelling abroad this time hadn’t grabbed me but my continued exploration of the UK led us to drive through this Unesco World Heritage site, stopping for scone and tea – exploring water side, mountains and valley.
England has some beautiful countryside but I truly think now, that it would have to be somewhere very special for me not to think of the Lake District as the most beautiful place in our country. Even beating the sandy shoreline of Studland Bay me thinks!