Welcome to your Lake District holiday!

Into the woods we go again, we have to every now and then.

-Stephen Sondheim

I underestimated how much I was going to love the Lakes.

A quick rewind to what prompted this trip. The boy, a tall and manly Brit, has not yet been to Scotland. Now this isn’t exactly surprising, considering how many Americans I know who don’t own passports. Or haven’t been to Florida. Why holiday in Florida when you can go to the Bahamas? Well, the same could be said for Scotland. Why go there, if you live in England, it’s actually quicker and likely cheaper to go to France.

So when it was discovered we had to up sticks and shift our life back to southern California, it seemed obvious that we needed to go to Scotland asap. And after a good friend’s recommendation of Loch Ness and whiskey tastings, well, it was full speed ahead holiday planning.

And that’s how we ended up in the Lakes. It’s on the way to Scotland – a great place to spend 2 or 3 nights and then, by my plan, head over to Hadrian’s Wall (specifically to the big tree in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), then Glasgow, then a self catering cottage by the banks of Loch Ness where much walking, pubbing and fireplace sitting would occur. With books.

Everything was booked (and refundable), so at the end of day 2, we both decided that we didn’t want to drive anymore. That this pastoral landscape, this home for hobbits, was going to be our only stop.

And with that walk down memory lane we’re back. Scene continues at the Lodore Falls Hotel. It’s raining. It’s grey. It’s foggy. And the front desk has a book of local walks. What are we waiting for???

We donned our waterproofiest of clothing and parked up at our walk location. And once we saw how much the parking was (I think it may have been £6!) we turned ourselves right back around and took a left on the first single track we came across. After all, the walk we were to go on goes up this way, maybe there is some free-er parking up there?:

We were headed to Ashness Bridge. A traditional stone built bridge over a beautiful hilly waterfall. Only we did not yet know how beautiful it was. We were concentrating on not messing up the rental on the narrow road, complete with livestock grates…

I’m glad to say we didn’t have this problem on the drive up:

**Image temporarily out of service**

Driving to the bridge, we passed areas on the map with names like Scragga Coppice and Highclose Coppice. A coppice is an section of woodland that has been farmed for its wood. Because of the fairly quick regeneration of the trees, they will usually rotate coppices every 15 years or so. It’s actually quite smart. No need to decimate an entire forest all at once! Also this method keeps the local wildlife population happy. In Highate Woods in London, they block off the areas where they are coppicing in order to protect the local wildlife. I have much respect for coppicing.

Oh look – isn’t street view fun? Some ramblers smile for the cameras:

We continued on and parked up in a lot specifically for us hikers. And wouldn’t you know it, unlike the street view images above, we were the only soles in the area. Except for the lot security: the Guard Ducks.

Meet our Guard Ducks, who I have to rename to Simon and Penelope, since I cannot remember the names we gave them on the day. Si and Pen were diligent in their curiosity, checking out our vehicle to make sure no further damage came to them.

As they headed back to work, we headed into the woods.

You comin’? Let’s go!

All photographs are courtesy of DH, who brought more than just an iPhone 4 with us. I know, very bad, photograph’d. He put together some fantastic panoramas.

We played around the mossy, ancient wood, peering out to Derwentwater below.

The mountains in the distance, of which I believe might be the Skiddaw straight ahead, may be obscured by fog and rain, however the lushness of the countryside we were amongst breaks through in startling fashion. It is impossible to dial down the green. I wonder if those in the city suffer far more from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) than in the country? I welcome your thoughts.

Our last bit of business before heading down to the hotel for our cocktail and canapes followed by a three course meal… Ashness Bridge:

And in case you missed it, here is a little stone building. What is inside? I vote for magic!

Well, by this point I was enamoured with the whole affair. Fells, lakes, bridges, belted galloway cattle grazing nearby… I wanted so badly to disappear up the mountain, however my puffy north face was sodden, and we had relaxing pre-dinner by the fireplace to look forward to.

After all, that’s what you do out here in the Lakes.

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