– I don’t recall that it was so mountainous here, Joe said as we drove around the Lake District. Yes, as the name implies there are several lakes here, but the mountains – it was those we admired the most.
We first drove to Windermere. Joe had great memories here from his younger days: a quiet lake and beautiful scenery. Times change though. The lake was still calm and the scenery beautiful, but add public holiday weeks crammed full of tourists. They were everywhere – on land and on the water. It was just way too busy for us, so we turned our noses towards the south, following the lake and then turned into Grizedale Forest Park.
Here, there were forest trails for everyone, with and without art along the paths. The name is old Norse, meaning valley of pigs. It refers to the wild boar population that once lived here.
While Lake Windemere was busy, Coniston Water was quieter. Here we found a great stop for the night. When we woke up the next day the sun peeked through the low clouds and we could almost see the top of Old Man of Coniston. It turned more idyllic when the sun came up properly as we drove through Coniston and down the west side of the lake. It was a beautiful day.
The mountains were calling. We had seen a road on the map that would take us through beautiful scenery with lakes and high mountains. Route B5289 from Cockermouth to Keswick takes you through Honister Pass and is really worth a drive. We particularly liked the area around Lake Buttermere. So beautiful.
The narrow road rose up steeply. At the end we were on a 25 % incline before rolling into the parking lot of the slate mine at Honister Pass, with an altitude of 356 m. Today there is a tourist center, cafe and accommodation here. We had a late breakfast in the cafe, as the pub breakfast I had promised Joe never seemed happen.
We drove on. We wanted to stop somewhere by Derwent Water near Keswick, but we did not like the place where we considered stopping. It was so busy everywhere (and therefore we enjoyed the west side of this road better).
We drove on … south. Taking off from the main road we found Lake Thirlmere. It was incredibly quiet and calm here. Besides some small fish in the water and a seagull there was not so much life here, it seemed.
A squirrel jumped around in a tree when we turned away from the Land Rover and started hiking up a path that went into the woods.
We followed a river for a little while, and as we were about to walk onto another path that would take us back down again we saw a big rock further up the hill. A remarkable rock, which it surely would be named if located in Australia (much was remarkable there). It looked like it was about to topple over the edge where it lay. We wanted to take a closer look at it, so we found a path that apparently had not been used for a while.
It was worth it – the view was amazing up here! While we sat and enjoyed what was before us, it struck us that here we were in the very middle of the Lake District.
When a mist slowly crept over the peaks around us we hummed “… these mist covered mountains…” from Dire Straits’ Brothers in arms. It felt right.
We were still humming as we drove through the Yorkshire Dales a couple of days later. This national park is not far from the Lake District, but the landscape here is a little different. The peaks are rounder, the valleys wider.
We passed the town of Hawes that clearly is popular among motorcycle riders in the area on Sundays. A little north of small Cray we found a great place to stop and enjoy the view and take pictures.
For us, it all turned out to be a little taste of what this national park can offer, and luckily the sun was shining as we passed through.
It would have been nice to stay here a little longer though. Stop somewhere and go hiking. Same with the Lake District which had some amazing scenery. But time was running a little away from us, and we had to continue.