Even on a bad day, this place is a delight to be in – our journey up was a wet and wild one, with driving rain for much of the journey but we really don’t care what it throws at us.
Our first point of call had a different emphasis on it this time, as we’ve decided that we like the area so much that we want to live here, eventually, so we’d arranged a couple of house viewings in villages just outside Penrith – the first was a 19th Century cottage with views across fields and lots of potential, while the second was cosmetically more appealing but would require more compromises on my part (I’ve been told that I’m very fussy and the fact that we’ve viewed more than 50 properties over the last four years probably confirms that!!).
After the viewings, we took a look around the surrounding area before heading to nearby Appleby, where we had lunch followed by a quick wander around the town.
Next, we made our way to Keswick before moving on to the self catering cottage we had booked – another recommendation from us – Dancing Gate self catering or Cherry Bank Guesthouse offer excellent accommodation.
The forecast was for strong winds and light rain so we decided to head for Dodd Wood, where we ended up walking to the Summit of Dodd – definitely windy but no hint of rain, so we were extremely lucky. However, our luck ran out when we visited The Old Sawmill tea rooms – this proved to be one of two low points of the weekend (more on the second one later) due to a combination of insipid food/drink and a distinct lack of customer service – we may have been unlucky, but that’s one place we won’t be visiting again.
Having left that behind, we took ourselves up to Latrigg Point to see what the view was like – again, despite there being strong winds and lots of cloud, the Lakes can always offer something spectacular and it didn’t disappoint.
Every now and again, there would be a small gap in the clouds where rays of sunlight would burst through (they are called crepuscular rays, apparently) and illuminate specific areas across the landscape – a burst of 3 rays together caught our attention but we’d walked up without our cameras (I know, a proper photographer never leaves his camera behind!) and had to settle for catching it on a phone.
An early start and a trip to Rydal Water – my previous visit in November 2018 had given me frost on the ground and mist on the water so it had been a good day, but I wasn’t expecting much this time as overcast and damp conditions appeared to be on the menu.
As we neared Grasmere, we could see that there was a lot of low cloud about but it had moved on by the time we had parked up and walked to Rydal Water, which was disappointing.
We carried on as planned and tried to get something with the lone tree that has been photographed to death but neither of us were happy with what we’d got.
Having said that, we still have a number of pics to go through and we may have some with low cloud showing in the woods above Rydal – yes, it returned for a brief spell and put on a bit of a show
The rest of the day was spent at Blea Tarn - a beautiful spot we were recommended when we visited several years ago. For me, it's always a daunting drive to the tarn, whichever direction you approach from but we arrived unscathed and parked up.
The light wasn't the best for photography but we strapped on our backpacks and set off around the tarn, making our way to the far end before deciding to continue the walk onwards to the road - the reason for this was that there was a line of snow on top of the hills around us and it kept calling us on.
Arriving at the road, you are treated to a fantastic view into the valley, which simply opened up before us - another one of those 'wow!' moments. Needless to say, this spurred us on and over the next 30-40 minutes we climbed Side Pike (well, most of it!), which included several stops just to take in the view before settling down to take some photographs - battling with the light and attempting to master a new lens made it difficult though, so I'm not too hopeful.
The climb back down proved to be an 'interesting' one, due to losing the path and having to negotiate a number of scrabbles down rocks but we made it before tackling the return journey to civilisation - another day of memories forever etched in our minds.
Today was supposed to be the best of the weather for the weekend so we made arrangements to get a sunrise at Buttermere – we’d been before but hadn’t managed to get any decent pictures and we were hoping for better his time.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a spectacular sunrise so the pics weren’t much better but it did allow us to practice focus stacking and panoramas.
After a couple of hours of playing about, we decided to move on around the lake to see if there was anything else on offer, but the light was disappointing and it wasn’t until we got close to the bottom end of the lake that we found a bunch of trees with a stream running through which looked appealing, due to the sun creating some nice shadows, and probably produced the best pics of the day.
Following an encounter with another photographer, who’d had the misfortune the previous day of seeing his camera, lens, tripod and filters disappear into Derwentwater with nothing but a stream of bubbles to indicate where it had gone (how he remained so cheerful, I don’t know!), we made our way back to the café for breakfast before embarking on another hike – this time to Crummock Water and part way up Low Bank.
By this time, the knees were sending out warning signals so we decided to call it a day but plans changed on our journey back when we saw that Moss Force waterfall looked in good shape so we pulled over and climbed a steep ascent to attempt to get a decent shot – once again, it wasn’t to be.
While the weekend hadn’t quite worked out for us, we still love the Lakes and the enjoyment we get from simply being outdoors works wonders for our wellbeing.
What about the property, I hear you say – well, we’ve had an offer accepted on the 19th Century cottage and the purchase is underway – very exciting times ahead and fingers crossed that, in 4 or 5 month’s time, we may be moving in!!