I thought I was being clever today when I suggested to my husband and Pui, a graduate student helping us to put together a YouTube film on Blenheim Lodge and its surroundings, that we go for a drive around the northern lakes in order to capture some images on camcorder and camera. I was, of course, not going to be the one behind the lens as I cannot take a good photo, much less take a video. Pui was going to do this for Hubby and I instead.
Before we even started, I knew it was going to be a long day. Guests checked out at the regular time of 10 am, and then we had 10 bedrooms to clean and make up. Of the 10 bedrooms, I think we managed to clean and make up 7 before it was time to go. We were driving to Penrith, a gateway town into the Lake District National Park, to meet Pui at the train station. The itinerary was to travel from Penrith to Keswick and Coniston, before doubling back and taking the Kirkstone Pass to Ullswater and then back to Penrith.
Well, not everything went as planned, but we did have a lovely time anyway. At 1 pm, Zack and Maddi jumped into the boot of our 4X4, whilst Hubby and I occupied the front seats. We reached Penrith just before 2 pm and picked Pui up. Then it was an easy trundle to Ullswater, where we stopped for some photographs of the lake by the wayside.
Over the past years, I have always wanted to visit Aira Force properly. The last time I was in the area, I did not have much time and, besides, the heavens had opened. Thus it was a happy coincidence today that the skies were friendly and we were close by the falls. Hubby sat with the dogs and took them out for a short walk as Maddi would not have managed to climb to the falls due to arthritis. Meanwhile, Pui and I made our way along Aira Beck and up to Aira Force, a narrow gushing waterfall surrounded by steep rock faces set amidst lush Lakeland greenery.
On our return to the vehicle, Hubby decided to do a detour and we found ourselves heading north and west towards Thirlmere. Thirlemere is a composite lake – a reservoir created in the 1890s by merging 2 smaller lakes, Leathes Water and Wythburn Water. Walking along the path from the A591 towards the lake, we came across carpets of nodding bluebells which looked very fragile against the backdrop of statuesque mountains.
We drove right around Thirlmere and then took a detour to Grasmere, where Pui took photos and videos of Grasmere Lake. We then took a quick look at the Wordsworth Graves in Grasmere before heading towards Rydal Water. Finally, we reached Waterhead, which sits on the northern end of Lake Windermere. Gulls were standing guard on the stakes that formed the pier at Waterhead, making them look rather comical.
From Waterhead, Hubby drove on through Troutbeck and up the Kirkstone Pass. This is the highest mountain pass open to motor traffic in the Lakes and there are some stunning views of its surrounding mountains to admire. The highest pub in Cumbria is called Kirkstone Pass Inn, where intrepid walkers can take a meal and rest in peaceful surroundings.
A small lake, Brotherswater, can be found along the way on the Kirkstone Pass. This little body of water looked tiny in comparison to the larger lakes we had just seen, but is pretty nonetheless. Driving down through the Pass, we finally came to Patterdale and then Glenridding, where Ullswater again came into sight. This time we stopped at Ullswater pier so that the dogs could have a little stretch of their legs. Pui, ever ready with her camera, took more photos.
It was now about 7 pm or later, and all of us quietly ‘forgot’ about going to Keswick; we will do this another day. Hubby and I had already been travelling the narrow windy roads of quaint Lakeland villages since 1 pm and both of us were feeling rather drained, particularly since we had been up early this morning to cook and serve breakfast to 18 guests. Pui, too, had been travelling since 1:30 pm and still had to get back to Carlisle from Penrith, where we were dropping her off. Meanwhile, once we had dropped Pui off at Penrith, Hubby and I would have another 45 minutes’ journey to get back to Blenheim Lodge in Bowness-on-Windermere.
Thus, it was with a sigh of tiredness and self-satisfaction that we had seen and done so much today when we finally rolled into the car park at Blenheim Lodge. Since our return, we have cooked the special bland diet that we must feed our dogs for a while until they are fully well, and then fed ourselves. It is now around midnight, and I think that I will call it a night as soon as I have finished this post.
It has been one fabulous day!
‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’
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