The Lake District is a separate world of its own.
We decided to stay in a place which was more scenic, peaceful, less commercial and was unlikely to swarm with tourists all day long. We chose the tiny town of Keswick as our base which was surrounded by souring fells, gorgeous valleys and the tranquil waters of the Lake Derwentwater yet close to the town center. We stayed at a charming little B&B named The Claremont house and I cannot recommend this accomodation enough. The hosts are warm, helpful and wonderful people and everything about our stay was splendid.
Throughout the year, numerous tourists come to this place to climb the mighty mountains and many people we met had hiked all of the fells several times. I had agreed to hike as long the climb wasn’t too intense and we zeroed in on the hill called Catbells which according to the reviews was supposed to be the easiest of all the walks of the lake district. On the base of Catbells, I saw little children, 70-80 year olds briskly scurrying away with their tiny dogs to the top effortlessly. I saw a tiny hilltop which seemed to be steep yet nearer than we had expected and I gloated to hubby that it seemed easy enough.
What a fool I was!
Sorry to bust the myth but Catbells is NOT at all an “easy” climb. It is very deceptive! Every now and then, we would see a peak and would think- “Ah finally, the summit!” but when you scramble to the top huffing and puffing, LO! there is another one smirking at you. This happened four times! It took us around five hours to make it to the top and back and though the day was eventful and the views from the top were stunning, by nightfall, our legs were killing us! If you don’t workout and are not a climber, there is no easy walk in the Lake District.
Due to the obvious reasons, we decided to take it easy the next day and the next thing on our list was the visit to the house of the legendary poet – William Wordsworth! Dove cottage is located in the most picturesque little village named Grasmere . We passed by Wordsworth’s grave on the way to his house and had to wait a short time till our guided tour started. Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed inside the house but the walking in the gardens and the backyard on such a sunny day was lovely. The tour inside the cottage was very interesting and it is always a marvel to go back in time and walk in the steps of the people as legendary as William Wordsworth was. We saw the original furniture of the house where he spent 8 of the most productive years of his career and also his spectacles, battered little suitcase and the quilts woven by his sister Dorothy and his sister-in-law which are all amazingly preserved! Our guide was very knowledgeable and passionate about the author and answered all our questions with a smile!
Rest of our trip was spent seeping in the beauty of the breath-taking countryside and soaking up the sun. We spent a day in Buttermere and it is NOT a place to be missed if you are a nature-enthusiast. It is your own tiny piece of heaven which is untouched by concrete development and has stretches and stretches of lush greenery, clear blue waters and sublime mountains. We had taken a packed lunch from our B&B (which was one of the best choices made during our trip!) and we sat on the secluded shore for ages, just the both of us with our feet dipped in the water, eating and wishing we would come back to visit Buttermere in our later years and that it remains exactly as it is now forever.
The evenings were usually spent on the shores of Derwentwater where we would share a portion of fish and chips or would feed the ducks and the swans which by the fourth day all came paddling to us in a wink and there would be “Quack quack quack quack” all around us for another hour. Hubby who hand-fed the huge swans was pecked on his hands and legs constantly as he tried to explain to them that the feed has got finished.
The only thing missing from our otherwise perfect trip had been the spotting of the rare red squirrel which we were always watching out for. We had given up on it entirely till the time Phil, our wonderful B&B host, came hurrying up to us during our last breakfast there that there was one sitting on the tree outside! Abandoning our food, we ran outside and behold! There it was, nibbling away on a hazelnut and glancing at us sideways as if to say, “Here I am! make it quick…I don’t have all day to pose for your photographs” Our trip was complete!
Weather was spectacular throughout, food was a reward after walking non-stop for the whole day and we met many charming Cumbrian people and other tourists travelling from many parts of the world. It was fun listening to each others’ tales and exchanging stories.
I can go on and on writing about this amazing place and it would take several trips back (or never) before we can say that we have had enough of the Lake District! Will surely return one day.