My decision this morning was to go out and do everything I could today, since it’s my last day of vacation, or take it easy and go for a nice drive instead. Spoiler alert: I kind of did both. I didn’t do the longer drive I had planned, but did hike one of the iconic peaks in the Lake District.
I started off toward Keswick (in the northern Lake District; pronounced kess-ick) around 8:30AM. Keswick is about 16 miles north of Ambleside. I had planned to head directly to Cat Bells, but it was pretty cloudy, so I started at Castlerigg Stone Circle. The stones are thought to date from about 3000 BC and are set against the green hills and farmland just east of Keswick. Then I headed to the town centre, where it was market day. About 50 vendors were set up around the town square, with everything from produce to Cumbrian sausage to arts and crafts. I wandered for a little while then headed to Cat Bells.
Cat Bells is one of the most well known (and most climbed) of the peaks in the Lake District. With a height of 1,480 feet, the climb is about 1 mile with several rocky scrambles to the summit. Since I didn’t arrive until around 11:00AM, I ended up parking about a half mile from the trail and adding a little extra calorie burning to my day. The trail is exposed the whole way up, and the wind was whipping across the mountains. I met a nice couple from Yorkshire on the way back down and chatted most of the way back. I decided it was time for a snack after the hike, so I drove to Buttermere and enjoyed a scone and hot chocolate at Syke Farm Tea Room. By then it was starting to drizzle, so started back toward Ambleside. On the way, I crossed Honister Pass (with it’s well-known slate mine) and stopped for pictures at Ashness Bridge and Surprise View.
Then it was off to the Wainwright Inn for dinner again. I ended up sitting with a couple who were “on holiday” from the Nottingham area; she is a teacher here in England and we compared school systems and chatted over dinner. Tomorrow it is back to reality (and my own bed!). Aside from a few errands on Saturday morning, I literally plan to spend the weekend curled up on the couch catching up on my DVR shows. 🙂