Once upon a time… that’s what the Lake District makes me think of. A fairy tale, an adventure. A place not quite in this world… a quieter, more romantic and magical land.

Sparkling streams bubble over mossy rocks and sunlight filters through a tapestry of leaves onto the dewy grass. Up higher in more open places, the wind howls and rain embosses sharp grey rocks. The landscape is sometimes close, quiet and fantastical. Other times it can seem traumatic, desolate and forbidding. Whatever the scene, there is always a spell forming, ready to enchant and bewitch.

Our week spent in Ambleside was almost a repeat of the same vacation in the same week last year. One of the major differences this time was that the pubs and restaurants were fully accessible! We invited friends and ‘rellies’ to join us too (a different crew from last year). One recommended pub was the TapYard – a house of refreshment we popped into following a ramble around Grasmere and Rydal Water then back into Ambleside on ‘The Coffin Trail‘ (so many fabulous hostelries in a small town)! A highly recommended restaurant we checked into on the second evening (premature wedding anniversary celebrations) was Zeffirellis, we were totally spoilt!

We stayed in a new build, modern ‘cottage’ called Riverside Retreat on the outskirts of Ambleside so we were able to walk out the door and stumble into gorgeous landscapes everyday (walking is mine and Catherine’s preferred holiday activity) so it was, every day!

The weather remained mostly dry throughout the week with bursts of very warm sunshine. The only inclement climate we encountered was over 480 metres up on Wansfell Pike were the wind blew hard and cold! This was our last day and a climactic end to the holiday. As you’d probably expect however, this wonderful hike ended in what became our favourite pub ‘The Golden Rule’ where we were greeted by a smiling landlord, a roaring fire and an applaudable array of ales  🙂

There was another highlight when a couple of walkers spotted my ‘squid stick’ leaning against a tree while I was having lunch. They crowed around and exclaimed their amazement. One of them said, “tell my mate when he comes by he’ll love it!” Sure enough, the guy and his group insisted on photographing ‘squiddy’ from all angles and were equally vocal pronouncing it’s charms! Hi guys! I did promise a blog post so I hope you’re reading this and enjoying the photos 🙂

The week was also a celebration of our friend Gill Eddy’s big birthday! She guided us up Easedale Tarn and back, then to Tweedies Bar where we enjoyed the best beer and chips! Champagne was later to be had once we returned home to Riverside Retreat.

I am surprised by the amount of fun and sense of achievement we also had completing a jigsaw! I took ‘Jolly Britain’ by Hartwig Braun and everyone got involved. We put the final pieces in place on the very last evening… over the entire week there was no TV, no radio and no ‘news’… I highly recommend it 🙂

I’ve listed the routes we followed plus some we didn’t get around to below…

Bleham Tarn and around 5 miles

Wray Castle and Belle Grange 6 miles

Elter Water and Loughrigg Tarn 7 miles

Skelwith Force, Colwith Force, Cathedral Quarry 5.8 miles

Ambleside and Troutbeck Circular 8.2 miles

Blea Rigg 9.3 miles

Loughrigg Fell and Grasmere

Helm Crag circular 4.8 miles