Monday, 23 September 2013

Take the Time to Love Cumbria

There is no more precious commodity in this world than time. “Time is money” so business experts tell us, but they’re wrong; time is far more important than that. During our hectic day to day lives time slips through our fingers unnoticed and, when we go on holiday, we try to cram in as much as we can to “make up for lost time.” A visit to Cumbria is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of modern living; here are just a few suggestions for places to visit and unwind.
Buttermere
Buttermere: Right in the heart of the Lake District National Park, an easy drive from Keswick and perfect for a family lakeside walk. Buttermere is surrounded by high fells on three sides and has a clearly marked footpath the whole way around. There’s parking in the village and a complete lap of the lake is about 4 miles; perfect for those with younger children.
You could pack a picnic to pause and enjoy on the shore of the lake, or treat yourself to a meal at one of the excellent local hotels? But don’t race around, make a day of it; there are streams to explore, waterfalls to admire and beautiful views to drink in.
Caldbeck: If you want to get away from the main tourist route in Cumbria then Caldbeck is the perfect spot. Just a few miles north of Keswick the route to Calbeck winds through a very different landscape to the rest of the Lake District, with gentle rolling hills and open moorland. As you make your way through the farmland and tiny hamlets keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels; we’ve seen several along this route.
The Howk
From the centre of the Caldbeck there’s a short (2 mile) walk to the Howk; a limestone gorge and series of waterfalls. Along the way is an old bobbin mill which provides an interesting snapshot of local history; Cumbria supplied many of the bobbins to the cotton mills in Lancashire and, as 2 of the main requirements for bobbin making are woodland and water, the old mills are usually found in interesting hidden away places. Pause as you make your way around to listen and watch for birds, the natural woodland attracts a wide variety of native species and interesting visitors.
Ullswater: Often voted as one of the most beautiful of the Lake District lakes and certainly one of the most popular, there are many ways to take the time to enjoy everything Ullswater has to offer. Glenridding is a 15 minute drive from Keswick and from here the famous Ullswater Steamers give you the chance to sit back, relax and take in the views of the surrounding fells, including the dramatic Helvellyn looming large behind the village. If you fancy a bit of a walk then you can hop off the steamer either at Pooley Bridge (if you’re feeling adventurous) or Howtown and wind your way back along the lake shore.
Ullswater from Hallin Fell

As you make your way along the lake take a closer look at the hills around you and they’ll tell you a little about how the lake got there. The bowl like shapes high above Glenridding were the birthplace for the glaciers which first carved the scenery and, since then, wind and water have applied the finishing touches.
Cumbria has something to offer everyone but there’s no need to rush. The landscape of the Lake District took several million years to create; it would be a shame if we didn’t slow down a bit and give it our full attention.