Here Comes The Planet 34 – England 08

Our UK camping and road trip special! We buy a whole heap of camping gear and take Van Failen through the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and all manner of places in between.


(Baby Weasels… baby weasels… hiding in a wall, baby weasels…)



The weather was still miserable for our last couple of days in the Lakes and we realised that, with only a few days til we were off to Iceland, we really needed to sort out the last major leg of our trip – the 6 weeks in the USA. So we holed up in a cosy B&B just a block back from the main street in Windermere.

We did get out a little bit – we did a 5km walk from our place to Orrest Head, the first walk Alfred Wainwright (who is famous for promoting the Lake District as a walking destination) did in the area. It is a short walk uphill from the middle of Windermere to a hill top from which you can see almost the whole length of Lake Windermere and many rolling hills and patchworked fields. Photos do not do it justice at all.

The path up the hill was gorgeous – all moss and gnarled tree trunks.

We then walked down to the lake and along the bank, through a forest that looked very Robin-Hood-ish and back to the B&B.

The rest of our stay was spent in bed working on our trip. Exciting stuff! I do feel better now that we’ve at least got our New York accommodation booked – and through Airbnb, for the first time. I’ve tried to book with them before but had difficulty finding places that are free for the dates we wanted, or just not hearing back from property owners. This time we’ve managed to score a room in Greenwich Village for $80 a night and sharing with a guy who gets great reviews as a host. We have also, coincidentally, planned our NY stay during Halloween and have been told that Greenwich is where the best action will be… fingers crossed!

During our breakfasts at the B&B we met a lovely family from the US who gave us some great advice on visiting theme parks and their teenage daughter even offered to accompany Luke and I to Magic Mountain, which is right near their home, so Luke wouldn’t have to go on everything by himself – what with me being the world’s biggest chicken when it comes to any ride more energetic than a ferris wheel.

Travel really does impress on you the generosity and kindness of people everywhere – it seems that everyone we meet has a word of advice or an offer or meeting up with us somewhere or a helping hand. I do hope that we have many opportunities to return all this good karma when we can.

Howgill Fells, a view along our route when we left the Lakes.

Lake District

Driving around the Lake District is like walking a tightrope in an art gallery. Death lurks around every tight, stone-walled, sheep-strewn corner but your eyes constantly stray to the epic vistas that surround you.
Today Mum and I drove through scenery that I’m sure I’ve seen in car commercials – mossy forests, windswept valleys, past tumbling waterfalls and cottages that are literally (and I do mean literally) from a Beatrix Potter book.
To see the Lake District in any weather is to understand why authors, poets, craftsmen, and artists find the place so inspiring.

Honiston Pass.

It is countryside made for walking and criss-crossed with thousands of trails. Mum and I spotted many walkers on high ridges and every car park was full of  families in sensible clothing carrying rucksacks and walking poles.
Every track was enchantingly inviting.

Tell me you wouldn’t follow this path.

Next chance I get I’m buying an os map and some more waterproof clothing and heading out. Although possibly not in the school holidays.
I’m not done with you yet, Lake District.

The Lake District

This post should really be called ‘Amanda accidentally stays in a place of extreme luxury’ because that’s what happened.

Yesterday I booked accommodation for Mum and I. We’d decided one night at the south-ish end of the Lake District and one at the north, giving us a day to drive around or, in the unlikely event that the weather smile on the British public during the half term school break, do some walking.

I searched for something moderately nice and under 100 pounds a night and there was nothing decent in Kendal or Windermere so I booked the Merewood Country Hotel, which is closer to Ambleside (as an aside, how adorable are English place names? We drove through Pudding Norton the other day and there’s a suburb of Birmingham called Mouse Sweet. Seriously.). It was cheaper than the place we stayed in Warrington (Best Western-type establishment next to a motorway) and included a full breakfast. But check this out.

the bar, where I’m sitting now. The view from the windows is over Windermere. Well, mostly it’s rain but there’s definitely some lake-like thing in the distance.

This place has a library, for god’s sake. Every room has a functioning fireplace. If I was denied the Lebua in Bangkok I would accept this place as a strong substitute.

The entrance hall. It’s pretty much every Georgette Heyer book come to life. And if you don’t know who Georgette Heyer is, you’re missing out on the best Georgian/Victorian romance novels since Jane Austin.

It was the country home of some lord and his much more posh hunting lodge is just up the hill. More posh than this! Needless to say I having nothing appropriate to wear but neither does Mum… in fact none of the guests are dressed as nicely as the staff here. I’m slightly concerned about what to wear to dinner in the dining room, which looks more fancy than the rest of the house. I think my dream holiday would involve swanning around somewhere like this in some extremely large and swishy gowns (think Dangerous Liaisons), flirting with handsome men and eating extremely small cakes from large silver platters. Tell me I’m not alone in this.

The Library.

To finish off my massive post-a-thon for today, here’s a picture of Mum from this morning. We drove through Manchester on the way here and stopped in Burnage Lane, where Mum grew up. The house she lived in has been replaced but the street was familiar and so were the shops and the place names.

My mum is great :-).