Friends, Romance, Countrymen...

To do a play on Shakespeare's words.....

If you were wondering where I had disappeared to, fret no more - I went on a short holiday!!

My longest suffering friend Hazel moved up to Carlisle a few months ago and after promising continually to visit but never having enough money to spare for the extortionately priced train fare my boyfriend had the idea of killing two birds with one stone (proverbially speaking) and suggested that we take a couple of days off and drive up there to combine a visit to her with a romantic jaunt around the Lake District (he's a sweetie right?!).

Of course I jumped at the chance so we booked a room at an Inn in Keswick and on Sunday morning we set off.

The journey was delightfully easy and traffic free, after hearing horror stories from other people about how long it can take to get up there.

After arriving and checking into our lovely room we met up with Hazel in the town and after a pint of cider took a walk to Derwent Water, which was just stunning.

Hazel and I

Oliver pretending to push me into the water, the little scamp

We strolled back into Keswick for a mug of hot chocolate and a natter. All in all a glorious sunny day which we made the most of knowing that normally the Lake District is renowned for its unclement weather.

The following day Oli and I decided we'd like to do some proper hill walking - so armed with our trusty hiking guide we set off to tackle Catbells.

For those not in the know, Catbells is a fell with a modest height of 451 metres (1,480 ft), but despite this it is one of the most popular fells in the area.

I would love to say I was as brave as our own dear Vix and that I wore fabulously outlandish clothes for hiking but I'm sorry to report that cowardice and the need to be comfortable when scrambling across rocky outcrops prevented me from doing so. I do however think walking trousers could be more nicely made, they are deeply unflattering when one has a little junk in one's trunk....

Having scaled Catbells' summit we headed back into Keswick where we took advantage of the lovely sunshine and sat outside with an ice cream.

But we didn't rest for long. Not content with having climbed Catbells that morning we got back into the car and drove to Haystacks.

Anyone well versed in Lakes history or indeed English Literature will know that Haystacks was a beloved site of the writer and fell walker Alfred Wainwright. It is a more demanding hike than Catbells and can be a little daunting at times but the views from its lofty heights were more than worth it.

This is the 'tarn' or hilltop lake where Wainwright requested his ashes be scattered upon his death.

I think I look particularly smug in this photo, possibly because I was pleased as punch not to be suffering from vertigo at this moment in time...
After two hill walks that day we were worn out and grateful to be going to Hazel's house in Carlisle for a home cooked meal that night.
On Tuesday we headed South to Grasmere and stopped off at Sarah Nelson's infamous gingerbread shop.

Sarah Nelson was a poor woman who eventually carved out a living for herself and family with her special, secret recipe gingerbread. The cottage that houses her shop was originally the village school where Wordsworth once taught.
The recipe for her gingerbread is so secret that it is locked in a vault in the National Westminster Bank in Ambleside!! I'm not surprised, it is without a doubt the most unusual and delicious gingerbread I've ever eaten. And yes, I brought lots home. More info on Sarah Nelson here
We wandered around Grasmere, it's very quaint and full of tea houses.

A noble sentiment.

We then had a quick pit stop in Ambleside for a peek at the famous Lake Windermere.

Finally we headed further South for one last walk, this time around a tarn called Devoke Water.

It was so beautiful and peaceful, you can walk for hours without seeing a single soul.

We came home knowing our 'tarns' from our 'cairns' and seriously bitten by the hiking bug!! Planning to go up there again very soon.


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