This overcast, but dry, day was spent touring the Lake District.
We only had two real stops – one at Keswick for maps, coffee and lunch rolls and the other at Buttermere on the lake of the same name.
Our main goal had been Buttermere, one of the smaller lakes in the northwest of the district, actually a National Park. Our intention was to circumambulate the lake and we were pleased to be able to complete this in the suggested two hours. We were also glad that we followed the suggested clockwise route, as the outward leg’s trail was much rougher than the return on the other side. Timing was a little critical as we had a parking duration problem. [lengthy diatribe] All parking lots use the “pay and display” system whereby you pay for one of a set of expected durations at a machine, print a ticket and display this in the windscreen. That’s all well and good if you are accurate in your time estimation. In this lot, the time breaks were for 2 hours and 4 hours. Being nervous about completing the walk in two hours, I opted to pay for the four hour option and paid what I thought was £5. I was surprised and annoyed that the ticket only gave me two hours, but put in the card and off we marched. We completed the circuit with several minutes to spare, and when I inspected the ticket it turns out that I had only paid £4. So the machine swallowed the difference between the two hour option (£3) and my £4, but did not give me any value (pro rata additional time) in return for this. This is thievery. [/lengthy diatribe].
We really enjoyed the walk though as it afforded great views of the mountains (hills really – less than 1,000m). The whole district is densely packed with this topography and that is what helps to make it so beautiful.
On the way back we opted to go via the west coast. In a way this was a mistake as we were then on the western flanks on the hills of the Peak District and the coastal areas were not that pretty. However, the main road, the A595, was a driver’s dream. Tons of turns and undulations – it was great to drive into the tight corners. I’m sure Joan had gone up a neck size on this trip as a result of the lateral G-forces generated by our trusty Hyundai i30.
Along this road we were amazed at how, south of Egremont, there was suddenly bumper-to-bumper traffic extending for several miles. Then we saw signs for Sellafield, one of Britain’s oldest nuclear power stations (and one that had an accident at least 30 years ago). It must have been the end of shift as we discovered once we passed the site entrance.
Prior to dinner we patronised the Bargain Booze shop we spotted yesterday, in order to restock the quaffing cellar. We were astonished that most of the reds were Australian.