As I am writing this I’m sat in Wilfs café at Staveley – spoiler alert – if you haven’t been you should really visit after reading the next post to go up on here.
Also, the irony of all ironies whilst I’m typing away here in July, is that we’re about to be ambushed with a heat wave. Core blimey – that’s what we’d say at home.
Now, speaking from the future as I edit this post, the heatwave has in fact hit us and now (thank goodness) has taken its rather overdue leave and we have been embracing the atypical rainfall that we would usually expect at this time of the year! Yes, I know it may be the summer holidays – but when did this mean that the entire two months were guaranteed to be dry!
- Embrace the weather. Don’t be miserable over something you ultimately can’t control. Go for a walk in the rain.
Go on then. Roll your eyes at me. Who would want to go for a walk in the rain? Rainy days call for indoor excursions and play areas for the children and hot coffees and cake for the adults. I kid you not; a walk in the rain will soon change your mind about this.
There’s got to be something about going for a walk in the drizzle, not caring about walking in the puddles and going into a café to have your dog (or children) shake themselves free of water droplets that so very kindly decided to take refuge on your clothes, and now damp face as well!
- Go in search of a waterfall. Whilst staying in the Lake District, which from my experiences appears to have a microclimate of its own, why not take the opportunity to have a walk to one of the local waterfalls.
Stock Ghyll at Ambleside is a short 2 mile walk just outside of the main town with shops and cafes and can be enjoyed whatever the weather – that is if we have had some rain in the last month or so. To give you some insight into this, recently the stream which runs through Park Cliffe – which longstanding customers will reminisce full grown men running down the stream in the Freestyle Duck Race at Easter many years ago – dried up. Yes, there was no water. Although, this may have made the previously treacherous river crossing for campers to get between Fellside, the camping field, and the bar and restaurant, it meant that any hopeful young fishermen and women were out of luck as no fish were to be in sight!
If you’re feeling more adventurous, then another waterfall you could check out is Aira Force which is on route to Ullswater, and if you also happen to want to take in some of the fantastic scenery in the Lakes you can reach Aira Force waterfalls over Kirkstone Pass. Kirkstone Pass is an English mountain pass that is part of the A592 if you are using a map, or satellite navigation, and reaches an altitude of almost 1500 feet, at the top there is a small inn which is rumoured to be haunted – but I will leave that investigating up to you there!
Aira Force is a National Trust owned site and has a car park and small café which are well maintained and very handy. Please check out their website below for pictures and videos of the waterfalls itself.
- Honister Slate Mine.
Not only does Honister slate mine produce the famous Westmorland slate, it also provides several adventures to people staying and living in the Lake District. You can explore inside the mine on a guided tour, go on their ‘infinity bridge’ or have a go on the via ferrata. The via ferrata is an outdoor challenge involving you following the historic miners’ route around the slate mine, no climbing experience is required, and the activity is led by professionals. You are also attached very safely to a mountain cable so if you happened to slip you wouldn’t fall! Do not fear and give this experience a go, fully accompanied with some seriously awesome views to take in! There is only a minimum age of 10 years old and minimum height of 1.3m – note here that there is no maximum age limit so parents and even grandparents this is not an opportunity to wait behind in the café!
For more information please see their website; leaflets are also available in reception.
- A spot of shopping.
Bowness, Windermere, Ambleside, Hawkshead, Keswick and Penrith are all nice for a little walk around and look in some of the independent shops and cafes. Bowness and Windermere are a 10-minute drive or bus journey away from Park Cliffe, or alternatively about an hour and a half walk away from the main road.
Hawkshead is on the West side of the lake on the opposite side and can be reached via by car ferry at Ferry Nab just before you enter Bowness on the left (however, this currently not running in August 2018) or you can drive South to Newby Bridge roundabout and drive round the bottom of the lake and up the other side.
Penrith has a wide range of shops as well, however, much less tourist orientated and quite a drive up to the Northern lakes from Park Cliffe, but equally a beautiful route if you chose to go over Kirkstone pass which brings you down to the road which runs alongside Ullswater – a quick stop to go on an Ullswater steamer perhaps?
Keswick has a real range of shops, both outdoor related (my brother would tell you there is a brilliant climbing shop called King Kong here) and lifestyle shops to mooch in. If you do have time in the evenings and enjoy theatre and live performances, possibly music, I strongly suggest you check out the programme at Theatre by The Lake which is a great destination right next to Derwentwater and shows a variety of interesting productions. Not too far away is the famous Lakes Distillery which offers tours and tastings which would certainly be a morning or afternoon well spent.
- Go in pursuit of a country pub!
Anybody visiting the Lake District, should in my opinion, enter a pub of some description at some point in their stay. There are so many to choose from whether you want a dog friendly environment, family friendly vibe, more private pub in a quieter location or bustling Friday evening there is definitely a pub to meet your needs – please send me a message if you’re yet to find one which suits you down to a tee and I’ll be sure to put together a well-informed list!
The closest, and most popular pubs, that customers seem to go back to time and time again locally are The Masons Arms at Strawberry Bank and The Brown Horse at Winster; both can be reached a walking route provided at reception. Pubs in Bowness which are always popular are The Pig and The Albert which are by the roundabout – The Albert has recently extended their outdoor beer garden (which I have recently tested out and can confirm is a great place to relax on a Saturday afternoon with a cider!) to provide even more outside seating. The inside is warm and comfortable with a choice of seating options and you’re able to order both a meal, or just a pint.
That’s it for now for what do consider doing on a rainy day in the Lakes – be sure to remember though that the climate and weather here is very changeable, almost by the hour I’d say!
If you’re embracing a day out in rain be sure to let us know where you end up.