Surely you can’t call yourself a proper lover of hiking/walking if you haven’t been to the Lake District. 18 years or so after our, rather wet, last visit it was time to go back! With a bank holiday, a long weekend was planned, with exploring and walking. I was looking forward to bagging at least one of the Wainwrights and taking the kids up on the fells. All was planned, a little house in Keswick booked and my new wheels ready for a long drive.
Then in the space of a week disaster struck. Our youngest fell off her pointe shoes in ballet, badly spraining her ankle and a few days before departure we had gallons of water through our kitchen ceiling! Did it all ruin our fun? No, of course not. Although it might not have been the trip we had planned we still had a lovely time. Here’s what we got up to.
Family Lake Trip – Keswick Launch
The Keswick launch company run cruises and boat hire from Derwentwater. There’s a small ticket office at the side of the lake to buy tickets, with cruises taking place throughout the day. With our youngest not being able to walk we decided to let the boat take the strain. It was a perfect way to enjoy the surroundings and spot Catbells, that I’ve wanted to walk up for ages. There’s a few stops around the lake should you wish to hop off, on this occasion we stayed on for the full round trip.
For a family of 4 we paid £34 for the round trip. Me and the Eldest returned the next day for the Walker’s service, but more of that later!
To get to the ticket office, walk through Hope Park. There’s gardens to wander through as well as several cafes, a theatre and mini golf. If you’re wanting to park at Hope Park you need to get there early. I dropped the family off and returned on foot later, as it was so full. Our little house a few minutes from the centre thankfully had off street parking.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
I love stone circles (I’m a fan of the Outlander book series, so if you know, you know!) so this was on the MUST list. A short walk away from the centre of Keswick is the stone circle. It’s an English Heritage Site, free entry and has views of the surrounding fabulous hills behind the stones themselves. My photos don’t do it justice. We half hobbled, hopped, carried and piggy backed our way there, which in hindsight wasn’t the greatest idea. The stones are off a small lane which people do park at the side of, including the much needed ice cream van. Having made great effort to get there we decided it was too much for the youngest to walk back. At a half jog, me and eldest went back to our holiday house to get the car.
I really needed a walk. A stressful few weeks had the hills calling me and being in the Lake District I had to walk up one of the Wainwrights. Catbells looked like just what I needed from the boat trip. So I persuaded my eldest to join me and one morning we set off early for the Walker’s boat across the lake to Hawes End jetty. Unlike the other cruises this boat only stops at this jetty. There were that many people wanting to do the walk that another boat had to be put on. The walk up Catbells is quite straightforward and we had a loop route planned. There’s a bit of scrambling in places and I had to tell my mountain goat to wait for me a few times, as he was off up the fells at a rate of knots. The views across the lake are gorgeous and with a sunny day you could really appreciate how beautiful the area is. Having reached the summit in just under an hour, we sat and demolished the picnic, before continuing until we found a path, further on, taking us back down. In all honesty I could have kept going up the next fell! The route back was more sedate, although a slate path in places had me sliding all over. It was a really hot day and we were thankful when we made it to the shade of Manesty park and a lovely woodland path. We had made good time and so had taken a rather leisurely stroll at this point, until we realised it was nearly time for the next boat. The boats arrive every hour to Hawes End jetty and so with a bit of sprint at the end we made it in time for the next one. We’d had a fab walk in three hours and on returning back to Keswick, joined the rest of the family for beer at what better named pub than The Wainwright!
We had a lovely time in Keswick, despite not being able to walk to all the places we had planned we still managed to tick a few things off our list. It also means that there’s still things to see and do, so we’ll have to go back. I want to walk alpacas by the lake and go paddle boarding somewhere next I think. Might not wait 18 years to do so though!
Whilst you’re there check out lovely The Keswick boot company – not an ad but having followed them for years on twitter I had to pop in and say hello. They have the most amazing selection of walking boots.
We also had gorgeous pancakes and beer at Lake Road Brunch sitting outside in the sunshine and watching the world go by – literally it seemed as it was so busy! They are dog friendly if you are visiting with your pooch.
Where in the Lake District should we go next?