For me, The Lake District sits on the edge of the map, like the lost land in a child’s story of giants and fairies, an unexplored place of fells and lakes. Where ever I have lived the Lake District always seems to be a faraway kingdom, unexplored, until now.
This weekend, despite the best of efforts of a dragon determined to thwart our journey, in the shape of the M6, we finally conquered the Lake District. We stayed in Keswick as guests of Choice Hotels UK in The Keswick Country Hotel (more on our stay later in the week).
Much of Saturday was unrelenting rain, being a believer in good waterproof clothing over bad weather, we set out for Castlerigg stone circle only to have our adventure halted by a fallen tree. Being completely drenched the best option seemed to the choice of my 6 year old: swimming. I can confirm, there is a great family friendly leisure pool in Keswick.
In the late afternoon, we drove up to Ashness bridge for views over Derwent Water. Beautiful even in the slate grey of relentless rain. We toured back roads scouting for a walk for Sunday.
We returned to Castlerigg, later in the evening after the rain cleared and the clouds parted to share stray patches of brightness. The stones have sat for over 4,500 years under a great arc of sky, in a broad landscape. A ring of stones, within a ring of fells. A sense of space, a rare glimpse of infinity and some sheep.
On Sunday the Gods smiled and the sun shone and my small boy walked up his first fell/mountain. Catbells (451 metres). Apparently, it makes a good first fell. Paths are clearly sign posted, there are a couple of places where scrambling is required, which requires a bit of confidence, but on the whole it’s a gentle walk upwards and an easy descent. He wasn’t the only child at the top but I am convinced I was the proudest parent. Perfect weekend.