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Black Pudding Gaiters

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lake district

Camping, but not as we know it

As a kid, the family spent many nights under canvas until one morning we woke to find a large portion of the tent getting blown down the camping field. We chased it down  but the bright orange tent had to be dumped in to the nearest skip.
Rather than replace the tent, our UK trips were spent in static caravans.
In the evenings, Mum would prepare dinner, Dad would have the map out, planning the next hike and I would head out on adventures around the site with my brother. Climbing trees and wading through streams. Happy days!

It’s been many years since I’d last slept in a caravan but, for a a few days in August, I’d be spending a few days with the family in Lakeland Haven Leisure Park.
A few days before the trip I read the reviews on TripAdvisor. Oh dear, it didn’t look good! I didn’t build my hopes up.

The journey down there was interesting.
Being a family holiday which included three kids aged 5 and under, there was a lot of stuff to take. My little Abarth 124 wasn’t big enough so for the four days I drove Mum’s 2004 Renault Clio. That was a shock to the system, but on the bright side, I wasn’t going to be getting a speeding ticket!

20180817_160540On check in, it was nice to see Haven had listened to my brothers request for caravans close to each other. The kids loved running along the grass between the two.
Both caravans were spotlessly clean and surprisingly comfortable.
On the first night we stayed in the caravan and cooked  the food we’d brought with us. It was raining quite heavily so the night was spent curled up on the sofa watching Disney Dvds and playing cards.

After a decent night sleep, I rustled up some breakfast then the family went their separate ways.  While the others visited the miniature village down the road, I took the footpath just outside the Haven main entrance.20180818_121147
I walked along the coastal path to the West,  along the sheep filled marshes until I reached Cowpren Point. Here, the route headed North, eventually coming out on to a road at Sand Gate.  A track, just off the road to the left,  lead to the village of Cark where The Engine Inn provided a good refreshment stop!

Fully refreshed I headed West out of the village towards Cassen Wood.
I passed a “residents only” sign but decided that I was a resident for a few days so continued until I hit another sign stating “No access to Holker Park“. My OS map showed paths and the gate was  unlocked so I continued to the next gate, beyond which several dear were grazing.
After Googling the hall I discovered entry to the park and gardens was £8.50, which explains this second gate had been padlocked!
I wandered back the same way to Cark and took the B5278, Station Road, out of town and towards the entrance Holker Hall. I found a footpath to the right, just after the Hall gates.
My walk became a circular loop as I took the next path on the right back to Cark.
From the village it was  a straight route South, through the village of Flookburgh to the caravan.
Not quite the route I was planning but a decent 8 mile walk. The route without the dead-end is available to download as GPX.
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We headed back out up the road to Flookburgh in the evening. There is just the one road in/out of the holiday park and at the Flookburgh end is the Hope and Anchor, a large Robinsons pub serving food.
If you don’t want burger, the choice is limited to what  is on the special’s board.  Luckily I did fancy a burger, more precisely a Black and Blue Burger, a beef burger topped with blue cheese and black pudding. The black pud was slightly mushy  but not bad at all!

I woke to light rain the next morning.
The kids were spending the some time in the pool so I headed out for another walk, this time I would be heading East towards Grange over Sands.
I took the road out from the camp, taking a right down the road opposite the Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding shop. Apart from crossing a field to cut a corner near Allithwaite, the route mostly followed quiet country roads until I reached the coastal path in to Grange over Sands.
The rain was off and on. It started again just at the time I purchased a coffee from a small stall and sat drinking outside.  To the left of me sat a family consuming pop, coffee and chocolate bars, to the right a young couple who were making their way through to large plates of beans on toast. In true English style, we all sat in the drizzle watching the world go by as if we were on a sunny terrace in Sicily.

To be honest, Grange-over-Sands isn’t hugely exciting on a damp August afternoon.  I did a quick loop at the end of town through some woods and past a garden I can see no mention of online!  After a stop at The Commodore Inn, I took a road to the North of the town back towards Allithwaite. From there, I retraced my steps back to the caravan park. I didn’t realise at the time, but I’d soon be back at this village.

The rest of the family were eating at the onsite bar/restaurant. I’d read bad reviews and wasn’t over keen on taking a meal there, also, I was back from my walk quite late on in the afternoon, they were already eating when I arrived to pick up the key.
Their meals ranged from ‘Okay’ to inedible, it seemed I’d made the right decision to eat elsewhere.
After a clean up and change of clothes, I once again, headed up the road to Cark to the furthest pub, the Rose and Crown, it was packed.
A few minutes down the road, I popped my head in to the Engine Inn, they’d stopped serving walk ins. Seems a bit daft only serving people who had pre-booked given how many free tables there were.
Back down to the Hope and Anchor, they stopped serving at 6, although the choice would have been either Sunday roast or another burger.
A quick look on Google revealed the Pheasant Inn in Allithwaite served food until 9, and I’m so glad I went there!
Sitting in the adult only conservator, my starter came in a brown bag, I unwrapped it to reveal a lovely black pudding.
Main was a very nice slab of pork belly with crackling.
8.2 mile round trip for food, I felt I’d earned this, especially after the 12 miles earlier in the day!
Happily fed and watered, I put on my head torch and wandered down the country lanes with bats zipping round me.

Back in the caravan, the others had settled down for the evening. I too climbed in to bed and got comfy under my duvet.
Not my usual camping but no complaints!

Autumn in the Lakes

A week off work and a surprisingly good weather forecast so a few days walking seemed the most obvious thing to do!

I ummed and ahhed as to where to go, trawled through a few locations and ended up with a very good deal for a couple of nights at the Lakes Lodge in Ambleside.

Lakes Lodge AmblesideDespite travelling on my own, the room allocated was massive. Solo travelers are quite often shoved in the broom cupboard, however, my room (6) was big enough to contain two double beds.
It was  good to see a lot of tea, coffee and milk available in the room, more than enough to make a flask up for the day.
Close to the centre of Ambleside so car parking is very useful and had the bonus of being able to leave the car there before and after check in.
The buffet breakfast was lovely and plenty of it. The black pudding in particular was extremely good!
If planning a stay, it’s well worth booking through the hotel directly, there are a few perks to be had.

Day 1
A big accident on the M6 turned a 2 hour drive in to a journey lasting over 5 hours which meant my original plans for the first day had to be changed. My original walk to Loughrigg and on to Grassmere had to be cut short but still proved to be an enjoyable walk with some fantastic scenery.

Loughrigg Fell near AmblesideDespite being mid October, the weather was lovely and quite mild.
I left the car in the hotel car park and headed towards the recreation ground and Rothay Park.
After crossing the River Rothay, I headed West, reaching Loughrigg Ghyll.
The path continued to Brow Head Farm, Miller Brow and Pine Rigg.
This route then goes North West to Ivy Crag and eventually, after some climbing, Loughrigg Fell. This area offers some great views.

It is at this point I had to change my original plans and I took a shorter route going straight down to Loughrigg Terrace passing Rydal Water and through Steps End wood.
I then headed South following the River Rothay before returning to Rothay Park.

The full walk is around 6.5 miles and is available to download from ViewRanger

Day 2
After a nice fried, buffet breakfast, I left the hotel and went North to start the Fairfield Horseshoe.
This is one of the classics and it’s not difficult to see why!
Follow Nook Lane until it becomes a path, passing through the farm yard.
Cross Low Sweeden bridge and you’ll soon come across a wall which you’ll follow alongside (either side) for quite some time.
There is some fairly easily scrambling required to reach Low Pike, from where you Fairfield Horseshoecontinue North, following the wall up to High Peak, Dove Crag and Hart Crag where the wall soon disappears and the path begins to head West to Fairfield.
There are some fantastic views from here.
The journey back, not surprisingly, is South to  Great Rigg.
Take left at the cairn to follow the ridge to Heron Pike and Nab Scar after which the path changes to a South East direction to Rydal. The route from here is signposted towards Ambleside.

You can view this 11 mile walk on ViewRanger.

Day 3
I was geared up to head home on the last day, stopping for a quickly arranged walk in Staveley, however, Lakes Lodge kindly allowed me to leave my car in their car park so, after checking out (and eating a lot more of their fantastic breakfast!) I drew up a quick plan for another Ambleside based walk.

The StruggleUnfortunately, after the lovely weather the previous two days, it was getting a little murky so I wasn’t going to be getting the same great views, that, however, wasn’t going to deter me!

I made my way to Kirkstone Road and on to what was rather worryingly called ‘The Struggle’
Quite an apt name as it is a bit of a steep climb!

The footpath is the first one reached on the left hand side off the road and  through two gates. Stay on this path, passing the Kirkstone Quary  and reaching the Red Screes.

I’m sure this is a lovely area but by now, the slight murkiness had become fog and the visibility had become quite low. It’s at times like this a map, compass and some basic navigation skills are very useful!

Foggy Red Screes AmblesideThe path to Scandale Pass was difficult to find in these conditions but, from Red Screes, the path initially heads South West before turning North West then take the first obvious left turn near a wall down to Scandale Pass and continue to follow this down hill eventually walking alongside Scandale Beck.
The route passes through some woods before finishing in the North of Ambleside.

As with the previous two routes, this 8 mile walk is available for download.

All in all, a very enjoyable few days and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to do a return trip again soon and definitely recommend the Lakes Lodge to anyone planning a similar short break.

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