Written by Lynsey Oxton
We English like nothing more than a weekend getaway; somewhere we can switch our phones off (or at least put them on silent) and forget about work for a while. Where better to do this than the Lake District in Cumbria – a place with mountains, lakes (obviously) and winding paths that go for miles…..
We stayed in a lovely B&B in Portinscale called Dalegarth House owned by a fab couple (Craig and Clare) who couldn’t do enough for us; the welcome coffee and flapjack went down a treat following the 2 hour journey up from Manchester!
Portinscale is perhaps one of the lesser known beauty spots of the Lakes, a hidden gem nestled just a 15 minute walk from Keswick. We were lucky enough to have brilliant views from our bedroom window out to Derwentwater lake too.
Being just a hop, skip and a jump away, we decided to do the walk around Derwentwater. We had a hearty breakfast at the B&B and started off on our merry way, weaving between countryside and lake. The scenery around the waters, woodland and Skiddaw Mountains was pretty spectacular….
After walking at a steady pace for around three hours, we arrived into the market town of Keswick for a well earned drink stop. Although not a big place, it had all the shops a keen walker or mountain climber would want, plus the famous ‘Herdy’ gift shop and plenty of watering holes and eateries.
You only need a good pair of trainers to walk around the lake; there’s nothing too strenuous to worry about. For anyone who is more adventurous than I, there are obviously plenty of climbing opportunities. In fact, once a year on the May bank holiday, Keswick plays host to the ‘Lakeland festival of light’. Best seen from the Keswick side of the lake, hundreds of people walk up Cat Bells and create a line of light in aid of a charity (which differs each year). Unfortunately my picture, taken from a field in Portinscale, doesn’t do it justice – but you get the gist!
A Spring visit can always guarantee one thing – the sight of baby lambs in the fields.
What I didn’t expect to walk past was a field of alpacas too! And I thought I was having a bad hair day.
If you’re keen on trying the local ‘produce’, look no further than the Lakes Distillery near Cockermouth, where you can take a tour and see how they make their gin, vodka and whisky. We also stopped by the bistro for Sunday lunch and had a great meal (desserts to die for). After the tour and the ‘obligatory’ tasting, we felt it would be rude not to purchase a souvenir. I opted for the salted caramel vodka – drink this neat with a single ice cube for a cheeky tipple!
In fact, I discovered another fine vodka during my trip – Kins Toffee Vodka, which I purchased from Booths (a Lake District supermarket). I think there must be something about a long walk building up a liquid appetite?
So there concludes my short two night stay in the Northern Lakes. It’s easy to see why Keswick attracts repeat visitors in all seasons. We had the best of Spring blooms, but I’d bet it’s enchanting on a snowy Winters day (just be sure to remember the toffee vodka to keep the chill off).