a walk & a pub

our last full day in the lakes! after another excellent breakfast we are off on foot again: first to skelwith bridge, then onwards along the river brathay to elterwater. the weather is nice for walking (i.e., not too much sun, no rain πŸ™‚ and the first part from the drunken duck to skelwith bridge takes us along the little used road to the north, then through a patch of woods until we end up a skelwith bridge. we have a cup of coffee at chesters café by the river (operated by the same staff as the drunken duck, it seems) and then continue past skelwith force through the fields along the river to elterwater. a fantastic walk through rather romantic landscape…

in elterwater we decide against continuing along the value floor and for having a light lunch in the britannia inn…and — enjoying our food, beer, and cider outside, watching people, dogs, and obnoxious ravens — decide to spent some more time here (another round of beer & cider, i’ve to admit to); along the way we win a bottle opener (which causes us lots of delay at manchester airport the next day)…finally, after a leisurely day which we quite enjoyed we are on our way back via skelwith force and bridge to the drunken duck.

all in all a very nice short trip! :-))

a very nice day

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it’s wednesday, my birthday πŸ™‚ today’s plan is to go into ambleside for some shopping (looking for a golf umbrella sturdy enough to serve as a walking stick, preferably with a straight wooden handle to fit a camera tripod head to it [using something like a 3/8–1/4 bushing or so]), then on to brantwood for lunch and a walk through the woods and garden — quite looking forward to that!

after yet another very good breakfast (the plan had been to have kippers for breakfast [“Look! Kippers for breakfast.” — not quite jane austen, but pretty close :-)], but i chickened out as the ones another couple were having were permeating the room with a rather fishy smell), we are off to ambleside.

after a round of shopping (fleece jackets!) we take the road from ambleside via skelwith bridge to coniston and then follow the narrow road around the north end of coniston water to brantwood. after a lunch on the terrace of the cafe we spent a very nice, relaxed afternoon there and conclude with tea outside.

the drive back is a bit of an adventure as the road from how head to hawkshead hill is among the most narrow roads we’ve taken so far — and the natives are not afraid of speed (and speed braking) :-}

back at the drunken duck we celebrate my birthday with a “sumptious dinner” :-)…all in all a very nice birthday…thx!

drunken duck–hawkshead–tarn hows–drunken duck

breakfast at the drunken duck: one of the best we’ve had in the UK! recommendable! space is at a premium though, reading the morning paper is not really possible (unless you have one of those wannabe papers in tabloid format…), oh, well.

after breakfast — the weather is quite nice for walking, clouds hunting across the lake district sky, being in turn chased by the sun, and temperatures in the upper 10s, lower 20s — we are on our way towards hawkshead and then via tarn hows back to the drunken duck.

the drunken duck on top of a hill at a crossroads and we take the road down towards outgate: as with all the roads converging at the drunken duck it’s a rather quiet road and, hence, low risk πŸ™‚ at outgate we cross the road and take the footpath going around the right of the outgate inn which leads us across grass land and a small wood to loanthwaite lane and then on via grass land again until we reach hawkshead — after such a strenuous walk it’s really time for a good cup of tea (and a look around in all the tiny and not so tiny shops)…

…over an hour later and we are finally on our way to tarn hows — very few walkers are on the loose today and we have the walk almost to ourselves and enjoy the quiet, the peacefulness and the beauty of the lake district!

when we reach tarn hows it’s become quite a bit windy and we need to take cover for a short break under a tree in the rose castle plantation on the north-east side of tarn hows to avoid having our snack blown away.

the way back leads us around the northern end of tarn hows and then onto the old roman track eastwards again past torver intake until we reach one of the four roads going to the drunken duck at knipe fold — where we turn left and walk up the road until we reach the drunken duck again: time for the complimentary cream tea! πŸ™‚ to be honest, we are a bit knackered…

dinner is excellent, again πŸ™‚

to the lakes!

dsc01556-1a full week of vacation lies ahead of us: on wednesday is my 40th birthday and we celebrate by “going to the lakes!” we’ve booked four nights at the renown drunken duck south west of ambleside. our plane is supposed to leave at 10:25 from zürich airport, arriving in manchester at 11:25, from where we shall take the next best train to manchester picadilly and pick up a car from easy-car aka avis (easy-car is “cooperating” with their “quality supplier avis […] to offer a wider choice of vehicles in the future”).

the first part goes relatively easy: we are at the station with a couple of minutes to spare, arrive in time at the airport…to learn that the flight has been delayed by about 40min…which we spent strolling through the buzzing “airside center” of zurich airport — it’s so popular that people fly here to do their shopping!…ok, ok, that was a fib: the airside center is pretty much deserted, with lots and lots of expensive shops with virtually no customers inside. it seems like zurich airport successfully cloned the expensive part of zürich bahnhofstrasse to the airside center — including the small numbers of visitors…if you are looking for a bookshop: touch luck. looking for a well assorted news agent? tough luck. but if you would want to buy, let’s say, an expensive leather suitcase (though, why would you? once you are “airside” you’ve already checked your luggage in): this is the place! and while you are at it: how about filling it with jewelry from the most expensive of switzerland (though not necessarily most tasteful of switzerland)? need some shoes (though that would beg the question how you got here in the first place: on your stockinged feet?)? airside center is just the place if you’re one of the lucky few farting money (though, non olet)…after an expensive coffee (CHF 4.50 each) we decide at 10:15 to go to the gate and wait there for our flight to be announced. around 11:00 we board (via bus, no less)…and then have a further delay: no on-board power…as it turns out later, when switching back from the external power supply to the on-board generator we blew a fuse (the pilot blames it on the air conditioning). once the local electrician has replaced the fuse we are off…the flight is a bit choppy (not at all my cup of tea, really, and i try to distract myself by listening to the latest editions of the podcasts that i downloaded over the weekend)

compensating for the choppy flight, our british airways pilot does a very smooth landing (nice πŸ™‚ and we are through customs in record time, buy the latest potty harry book and today’s guardian at the first whs, and catch the 12:45 train to manchester picadilly. the avis station is just around the corner from manchester picadilly station (down the approach road, turn right into dulcie street at the first corner).

getting the easycar from avis turns out to be a lengthy procedure — and it’s a good thing i’ve brought the printouts of my email exchanges with easycar customer service with me: we booked the car sometime late last year and at that time the contract didn’t include an excess, all contracts after january or february of this year do have a £100 excess included — and sure enough, avis tried to pull that one, only after showing the email from easycar confirming that our contract doesn’t carry an excess did they (after some back office mumbo-jumbo) print out a new contract without any excess…

the good thing is that we don’t have to stop at a petrol station first as the car is filled up already and we are on our way out of manchester towards the north!

by 15:15 we have made it to sizergh castle near kendal, a national trust propertyfree entry for national trust members! πŸ™‚ we park the car and head for…the tea room ;-)…which has a waiting queue! luckily a couple of people in front of us are too impatient and leave, so after about 5min we get seated and have a nice cup of tea and an apple crumble with custard (nice πŸ™‚ after this pleasant tea break we stroll through the rock garden (really recommendable!) and the rest of the largish garden and just enjoy it…

shortly before 17:00 we are back on the road to windermere where we stop at the booths supermarket to buy some apples for the days ahead and some mineral water — and are off towards ambleside, across the rothay bridge until clappersgate, then onto the B5286 to hawkshead, and after about three miles we turn right towards the drunken duck inn which is about one mile up the hill (well, the sign says “1/2 mile” but that sure is a rather long 1/2 mile).

our room is small but nicely decorated (the bedside tables are a bit on the wonky side — as are some of the bar stools) with a very nice bath en-suite (fully working shower! not the trickle-drip-drip kind so often found in b&bs around the country…). and: best of all the locally brewed beer is good and the food is excellent!