London to Penrith: Sun to Snow

I had a quick exit from Heathrow after buying a new SIM card, probably from the exact same store I got my last one (sorry Charmaine, I forgot the one you gave me but luke will bring it) and then caught the tube to Kings Cross. It was a short walk of a couple of blocks in the rain to the Prince Arthur pub where I bought a large glass of wine, a packet of chips and sat in the cosy bar for a short while before heading to bed around 10.

If you like ties, old cameras or spinning wheels you’ll find a surprisingly wide collection of each dangling from the ceiling inside.

All the trains that go to the north west leave from Euston, which is almost next door to Kings Cross and St Pancras, and if you think I’ve spent enough time in London to be over the Monopoly board names you’d be sadly mistaken.

Getting my hopes up despite checking the radar.

I bought a sandwich to eat on the train, and as we pulled away from London the sun came out and the blue skies and green fields really lifted my heart. I’ve been feeling a bit anxious about all the travel and doing it solo, but being on a train and heading in the right direction with only a couple of hours to go I could feel myself relax.

The first sights of the fells brought a surprise – snow! Not an entirely welcome surprise, as I’d left my warmest coat at home. The air felt icy when I stepped out of Penrith station.

I walked through the rain to a camping goods store to buy fuel for my stove but they didn’t have the one I wanted. It wasn’t much of a loss since there’s no way I’m going to set up a tent in the current weather conditions. As I stood in the store planning my next move I looked out and saw it – SNOW!

I have made a terrible mistake.

So that was it, I booked a room in a pub in Askham, a little village outside Penrith, and called a local taxi to take me there.

The taxi was driven by Jacqui, and the taxi company is entirely comprised of Jacqui and her taxi😂. She turned up almost instantly, since she was dropping someone at the train station next door. We had a good chat on the way to Askham and I told her that I come from a family of taxi drivers. She gave me her card and I said I’d share it on the blog so here it is!

If you need a taxi in Penrith I’d highly recommend pre-booking, this lady is in high demand!

the room I booked is in a pub called The Punchbowl. There’s two other pubs in town but Jacqui said I’d picked the best. Phew!

If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Hot Fuzz’ then you have a bit of an image of Askham. Not only did I have this thought but the guy behind the bar at my accommodation said the same thing. It’s extremely pretty, with swathes of daffodils on the village green and all very neat and tidy. It must be a popular spot in nice weather because I think I counted about 20 signs telling people where not to park. It wasn’t such a problem today of course.

I would’ve taken more photos but I was wearing gloves and it was raining sideways.

The highlight of the rest of the day was sitting by the bar in the Punchbowl and chatting to the bar staff and other patrons at the pub. One of the bar staff, Jack, is on his second last day here and we talked about proper cider, the joy of festivals and he showed me picture of his dogs, one of which is the size of a Shetland pony and does wear a Shetland pony’s coat when the weather gets cold. Speaking of dogs, more than ten came in at various times during the afternoon, none as big as a small horse, sadly.

I love the low ceilings and tartan carpet.

I had an amazing chicken pie for dinner, took a glass of wine up to my room and settled into a bath to relax before bed. Unfortunately the fire alarm went off and I had to jump out and dry off, burning myself slightly (and somewhat ironically) on the heated towel rail in my haste. It turned out there was no emergency and fortunately I didn’t have to stand in the car park for hours in the rain waiting for the fire truck to arrive, which is what would happen in Australia if a fire alarm went off for any reason.

So now I’m in bed, hoping for better weather but planning a trip by bus to Pooley Bridge and Penrith tomorrow if things don’t look good enough for walking.

Here’s a few photos of the room, just because I always like to remember what places looked like. Hopefully tomorrow I can get some decent photos of the village!

3 thoughts on “London to Penrith: Sun to Snow

  1. Wowsers, what an unexpected start to your journey, I hope the snow doesn’t last! Your hotel room looks so modern and spacious, usually they still have the plumbing from last century and are tiny. At least that’s a win, hopefully more dogs will cross your path in the next few weeks.

  2. Best of luck for an improvement in the weather as it’s been a pretty cold and grim spring so far. The weather is supposed to be better next week so hope you can enjoy some of that gorgeous Lake District scenery.

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