United Kingdom
Above Derwent

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    • Day 24

      Water, water (and people) everywhere . .

      May 20 in England ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      We woke up to another Saturday almost identical to John Owen’s description last Saturday - ‘a cracker of a day’.
      The sun was shining, the skies were blue and the temperature a little warmer.

      We left Ingelton enroute for the Lake District and as always we didn’t take the most direct route. We headed firstly to Windermere. The place was absolutely packed with people.
      Nevertheless, we enjoyed some morning tea by the lake and marvelled at the sheer number of people and the sheer number of ice-cream outlets. We have noticed this all along our travels - clearly the Brits have a love affair with ice cream beyond anywhere else we have ever seen.

      We called into the Tourist Information place as I’m a great believer in gleaning a little local knowledge from these people whenever I can. I asked the gentleman on duty what was the best / most scenic way to get to Keswick which was our final destination.

      “Well, normally I’d suggest this route” pointing to some substantially thick lines on the map. “But I know you Aussies don’t mind a bit of a drive so I’d suggest the following . . .”
      He then proceeded to highlight some very THIN lines on the map, including hand drawing in some roads that didn’t even feature.

      Of course we took his advice and wound our way through the Lake District on these secondary and tertiary roads and enjoyed it very much. Lakes, mountains, streams and quaint villages were around every bend. We eventually made it to Keswick, where again there were hoards of people in the main town. We stopped for a little something to eat, found another Information Office and asked for some further advice on scenic drives around this part of the district.

      I told the lady where we had been. She said that was quite nice, but ‘as you Aussies don’t mind a bit of a drive, I’d recommend this route . . . This is next level to what you’ve done so far’
      Next level?
      ‘Yes, especially Honister pass - it’s very steep, narrow and winding - but very scenic’

      We thanked her for her advice and newly hand drawn map, but before tackling her ‘next level’ drive we paid a visit to the Derwent Pencil museum in Keswick.

      Sounds like a bit of a yawn? Not at all. Apart from reminiscing about the Derwent pencils that were part of our lives doing projects etc all those years ago ( the pictures on the pencil sets are of local scenes here in the Lake District) and being amazed by how much expertise goes into making them, the part that was especially interesting was the role Derwent Pencils played in WW2, inventing then providing Allied pilots with pencils that concealed escape route maps from Germany and a miniature compass all concealed within the hollowed out pencil shaft. The lives of downed pilots were saved by this and other methods, and the fellow who invented the pencil was code named ‘Q’, becoming the inspiration for ‘Q’ in the James Bond movies etc.

      Following this, we headed off to drive the ‘next level’ route around the Lake District. She was right - it was very scenic - but it was also everything she had promised - steep, narrow and winding. Lots of pulling over and reversing to allow opposite direction traffic pass was all part of it, then finally we got back to the outskirts of Keswick to find ourselves in a bumper to bumper traffic jam - which could have been avoided except for an unnoticed error on GPS input.
      Our accommodation for the night was ‘Derwentwater Hotel’. It had accidentally gone into Waze as ‘Derwentwater Hostel’ which also exists, but is on the opposite side of Keswick. On our way to the ‘Hostel’ we were congratulating ourselves for travelling against the very heavy traffic we could see snaking into town on this single lane, one way in, no escape route road.
      When we got to the ‘Hostel’ and realised we had to backtrack to the ‘Hotel’ on the other side of town, the traffic we had been observing so smugly now became ours to be engulfed in.

      Despite this tedious conclusion to our exploration, it was ‘a cracker of a day’.
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    • Day 5

      Goodbye Keswick

      July 11, 2022 in England ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      Nach einem schönen Tag in der Stadt Keswick und am See Derwentwater geht unser Aufenthalt hier zu ende. Morgen reisen wir ab mit grosser Vorfreude nach Schottland.

      --> Erster Stop Edinburgh.

      Cheers 🤙
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    • Day 11

      Catbells and Friar's Crag hikes

      April 7 in England ⋅ ☀️ 46 °F

      Gorgeous hikes around Lake Derwentwater! I'll admit hiking up Catbells was pretty challenging, though, with a lot of steep rock scrambling. But I successfully did not fall off the fell! You can see the fell behind the two people's heads in the photo (taken from the ferry). The ridge right along the very top following both rises is Catbells. The pic of me is with the summit marker.Read more

    • Day 25

      A Day of Scrambling

      May 21 in England ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      The day started earlier than planned, with the fire alarms in the hotel going off at precisely 3am.

      Whenever we stay anywhere, the very first thing Loss does is check out the nearest fire escape and she ensures I acknowledge it also. With the Derwentwater Hotel being an older establishment, she even commented on the higher likelihood of a fire occurring in such a building as we entered it last night.

      We leaped out of bed and got ready to leave. While I stumbled around to collect a few essentials like passports, phones and IPads, Loss used these few moments for a very quick go with the hairstyler and comb (because it’s important not to look too dishevelled in the middle of a fire emergency) and just as we were opening the door to exit, the shrill noise stopped. A false alarm. As I tried to get back to sleep, the thought crossed my mind that this was our first ‘scrambling’ of the day because we were also booked to go ‘scrambling’ in the Lake District later this morning.

      When eventually we woke again at a more civilised time, Loss enquired as to what the plans were for today.
      “Memorial meeting streaming, then I thought we might try to immerse ourselves more thoroughly in the Lake District”.
      She thought this sounded ideal.

      I believed my description of the plans for today was accurate, but I had failed to show her the booking details which said we would be ‘working our way up or down a pristine mountain stream with natural rock slides, jumps into plunge pools and scrambling’. I thought it best not to overload her with too much information in one hit after last night’s truncated sleep.
      After a slight pause, I added “Probably best not to wear your pearls or your high heeled shoes today either.”

      After our streamed meeting, we got ready and headed 10 minutes out of town to the designated spot next to Stoneycroft ‘Ghyll’ (a local word for a ravine or canyon) and met Chris who was our guide and instructor for our adventure. I had been keen to ensure we had a place available for us today when working out the itinerary, so I had booked and prepaid it months ago.
      “So how many others will be in our group today, Chris?” I asked.
      “No one else - just the two of you”. Magic.
      As the wetsuits and safety gear emerged from Chris’ truck, Loss was looking for an escape route. A coffee shop? A Keswick branch of Harrods? - but there were none to be seen.
      While we got into the thickest wetsuits I’ve ever seen, I thanked him for running the activity as many tour operators would probably cancel out with so few takers.

      It was clear we were certainly going to literally get immersed in the canyon today and I enquired what the expected water temperature would be?
      “A few degrees - it’s usually about 5 or there abouts” 😳

      Once we’d donned the bib-and-brace wetsuits, jackets, thermal booties and helmets we thought we were all done. But then there were shorts and a rash-shirt to put on over the top.
      “What are these for, Chris?”
      “Ah, the shorts and tops make you slide faster down the rock chutes”. Loss would have run for safety at this time, but the thick, stiff wetsuits only permitted ‘Tin-Man’ like movements.

      Once we were all suited up, we made the 20 minute uphill trek to our starting point on the Ghyll. By this stage we were getting wet - not from the Ghyll, but from perspiration inside our arctic-rated wetsuits.

      A short descent from the track and we stepped into the water. Chris got us to take a plunge in this first pool to acclimatise us. It was surprisingly pleasant, but with 10mm of wetsuit on, we had so much buoyancy we felt like we were bobbing around in the Dead Sea. You only really noticed the very cold water temperature when you held your hands under for more than a few seconds.

      So off we went. Chris was a great guide - very professional with just the right mix of caution and adventurous spirit.
      We spent a very enjoyable 1 1/2 hours working our way down the canyon and it delivered everything they had promised, with the jumps and slides into various pools being the most exciting.

      Many people only book this first section of the Ghyll, but I had chosen the add-on abseiling section as well (which I also ‘forgot’ to tell Loss about). This entailed using ropes and climbing harnesses to abseil down waterfalls on slippery rock faces which were another level up from what we had just done.
      Loss had never abseiled before and I had only ever done it once before many years ago, so after some instruction and practice on level ground it was back into the water for our first drop. Chris stayed at the top and had us clipped in on a safety line.
      Loss negotiated this first drop really well and I followed after her. When I got about half way down I lost my footing and found myself inverted. I eased myself down headfirst the rest of the way into the pool below, much to the amusement of Chris and Loss.

      We did a total of 4 abseiling drops with some slides and jumps thrown into the mix. Eventually Stoneycroft Ghyll released us back to a climb-out section on its banks and we made our way back to the cars. The whole experienced was about 3 hours.

      By now it was mid afternoon and we felt we had earned ourselves a decent lunch so we found a little cafe near to the hotel and enjoyed a late, leisurely lunch in the afternoon sunshine. Fortunately we didn’t have any ‘wounds to lick’, (but we might be a bit stiffer in the morning than we planned especially in our arms) but spotted a family nearby with a dog who was enjoying a lick - of her ‘puppy ice-cream’. (As it turns out, the family are emigrating to Melbourne in a few weeks’ time.) I’ve included a short video of ‘Mabel’ for the kids.
      So it seems the Brit’s love affair with ice-cream extends to their K9 companions also. Google tells me its available in Australia, but we’ve never seen it.

      Tomorrow, GW, we are ‘scrambling’ for Scotland.
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    • Day 4

      Combined Lake/Walking Tour

      July 19 in England ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      Drove to Keswick and parked by lake, took launch to Hawse End and walked up Catbells and down to the caravan park, along road to footpath to lake and along lake back to Hawse End, took launch around rest of lake back to car parkRead more

    • Day 34

      Lake District

      July 26 in England ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

      Wir kommen erst um 19:30 auf unserer Borrowdale Campsite im Süden vom Derwentwater an, werden aber super herzlich begrüßt, sogleich eingewiesen, der Pitch liegt etwas abgelegen mit sehr nahem Zugang zum See. Ach, wie herrlich alles. Bis ich vor Ort auch hier feststelle, dass diese idyllische Abgeschiedenheit über null Facilities verfügt. Jetzt verstehe ich auch, warum dieser Platz quasi der einzige war, auf dem ich noch einen Platz reservieren konnte. Es ist zu spät zum Umplanen und bezahlt habe ich eh schon. Also Durchatmen und mal gleich die öffentlichen Möglichkeiten am See erkunden.
      Die Nacht wird wieder unbequem, da wir Regen erwarten und das Dach nicht öffnen. Der Camp Verwalter hatte uns noch mitgeteilt, dass dieses Valley englandweit die meisten Regenstunden hätte 🙈
      Dafür ist der nächste Morgen sehr idyllisch und wir starten relativ früh nüchtern, um im Lingholm Teagarden Frühstück, Toilette und alles weitere zu bekommen. Die Stimmung am See ist sehr ruhig und cosy. Ein schöner Morgenspaziergang von 1h vor dem Frühstück 😀
      Lingholm ist eine absolute Empfehlung. Wenn wir nach Suppe und Eiern mit Lachs und Avocado Toast nicht schon so satt gewesen wären, wären wir sicher noch dem Kuchen verfallen. Grandios.
      Zum Abarbeiten der Köstlichkeiten erklimmen wir den 455 Meter hohen Cat Bells. Von dort ist der Rundblick grandios.
      Am Abend fängt es wieder leicht an zu drizzeln, wir gehen dennoch zu Fuß ins Mary Mountain Hotel und lassen die Tour bei einer Menge Moretti (hat zumindest mal Spritzigkeit) und Vor-, Haupt- und Nachspeise ausklingen.
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    • Day 10

      The lakes

      August 21 in England ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

      After arriving in Keswisk, checking in to the hotel and some dinner, it was time for sleep.
      In the morning, we had to do some washing at the local laundrette. With clean clothes, we dropped them off at the car and heading into the town centre to have a look around.
      With a short walk to the lake we took a walk only the path that ran beside it.
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    • Day 5

      Lovely place for dinner!

      May 26, 2019 in England ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      So, our hotel couldn’t fit us in for dinner, and I certainly wasn’t headed back out onto those roads - even though the two pints I had to calm my nerves also sucked enough brain cells out to make me think I could do it again! So we were very fortunate that there is another hotel about a ten minute walk down the road, yes the very scary narrow toad with no sidewalk... to take our mind off our imminent doom, we did what any American would do when surrounded by thousands of sheep, we bleated our way down the road annoying as many of them as we could. Apparently the British cyclist that passed us thought it was very amusing. Taylor said she was embarrassed it I reminded her there was a better than 50/50 chance they had been imprinted on the hood of a Citroen station wagon by now - and they think we’re the fools! Anyway, we made it down the road to dinner and enjoyed a few more pints, an incredible view as some really good food. KK and I had some fresh caught salmon for dinner while Taylor enjoyed a really good fried sole sandwich and Denise enjoyed a scrumptious hanger steak. We also sampled some smoked salmon and fresh bread too! I now remember why I gained 20 pounds when i moved over to live with Jan for 8 weeks! Good thing we are only here for 10 days, or they’d have to tie me to the tail of the plane and pretend they were dragging the Good Year blimp home! Fortunately we are doing a five mile hike tomorrow, provided I can keep KK from leading the pack and having us end up down in Wales! Hopefully we will have some pretty pictures tomorrow of us in the rain and my pants actually buttoned in the front!Read more

    • Day 5

      Dinner - Tay almost finished a meal!

      May 26, 2019 in England ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      About time little lady! Doc, KK and I are harping on the protein! She’s eating, she just prefers to eat twenty small meals vs three regular meals! UGH! Tonight was a small victory I plan to savor though!Read more

    • Day 25

      More scrambling videos

      May 21 in England

      As only 2 videos can be uploaded on any single footprint, I’ve just added a couple more here.

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    Above Derwent

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