An escape to the Lake District was on the cards for a long time before I actually managed to fit in a visit. After all it is busy work being a full time adventursaurus. As I had previously stayed on a farm in the Northern part of the Lake District, this time I decided to try somewhere new to both my photographer and I, staying in the Southern Lake District. Since the pandemic I have a new found love of holiday cottages, don’t ask me why I simply enjoy the freedom to do whatever I like, whenever I like. Sadly, my escape to the Lake District wasn’t only for a quiet holiday, My Photographer had to do some work (BOO!). I on the other hand was planning to scale a couple of mountains and maybe try some of that famous Kendal Mint Cake.
When looking for a holiday cottage I decided I neither wanted to be in the centre of a town, nor in the middle of nowhere. So I settled on the small hamlet of Clappersgate which is hidden behind Ambleside on the northern edge of Lake Windemere. The Hayloft was my cottage of choice, but beware it is up a flight of quite steep stairs. It is a recently renovated 18th century barn with views of the hills and the lake. I enjoy sitting on the windowsill with a coffee on a morning to enjoy the great views. The best surprise of the stay was the library of old books in the corner. It had everything from Alan Sugar’s autobiography to Tarka the Otter with a few local guide books in between. I did make a dint in my reading list during my stay. But, I would return in the future to escape the humans for a few days. There is nothing better than losing myself in a good book, well maybe getting hopelessly lost on an adventure.
I will admit this adventure took place in April, when my photographer was celebrating Easter (we celebrate both Orthodox and Christian Easter – yay for 2 chocolate eggs). Though I will admit celebrating wasn’t involved this year. But, the Easter bunny still found me in the Lake District! I found lots of footprints leading to a small basket of eggs on the huge lawn at the front of the cottage. Both my photographer and I spent a lot of time sitting out here enjoying the spring weather. Then on the day we left, we found the actual cottage garden on the opposite side of the road. A beautiful hidden garden which led right onto the small River Brathay.
I know it sounds as though we didn’t go anywhere but I did a few small hikes (probably more at the level of easy walk). Finally I have learned to consult my map prior to walking anywhere, or at least seeing what the nearest road sign says before I head in a certain direction. 5 years later and I still haven’t learned, I blame not being able to hold a map in my awkwardly short arms. To find the best places, you need to get hopelessly lost.
The Hamlet of Clappersgate is really small, even with my short legs, I managed to walk around the village in about 10 minutes. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot to see. I enjoyed walking along the riverside to the church at Brathay. It wasn’t a particularly long or exciting walk, just simply peaceful to be surrounded by anemones and the running water of the river. The whole hike was less than a mile and it was flat, perfectly accessible for everyone. I did another couple of hikes which I will detail in separate posts.
To get into the centre of Ambleside was just over a mile to walk, either by following the road or the edge of the lake. Once you have gone over a rickety bridge (don’t worry, there are no trolls!). Making the cottage the ideal location to get to various different places. Once I arrived, I didn’t use the car again until it was time to leave. Not that my photographer would allow me to drive the car for some reason.
I had a fabulous four days in Clappersgate and only managed to tick the top four activities off my list. A great location which I will definitely return to in the future. I have my sights set on becoming the first dinosaur to scale the Old Man of Coniston.
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