Why did we decide to go on holiday to the Lake District in half term? Firstly, it’s pretty. Secondly, none of us have been there for ages. Thirdly, it was half term. Finally, we were in Liverpool anyway, so we were sort of halfway there already. Ish. And finally, finally, who needs a reason anyway? It’s the Lake District.
So we checked out of our hotel in Liverpool and started to make our way north. We chose to drive through the city centre and head for the M58, because it looked the shortest route. Short doesn’t always mean quick though. It took us an hour to get onto the M6. At least the weather was nice and there was little traffic once we got there.
By the time we’d got through the “nice” bit on the M6 and reached Tebay Services we were ready for a break, so we stopped and grabbed some lunch in the cafe, followed by a half hour of the kids running around like mad things while I walked down the car park to grab a geocache that was conveniently situated in the bottom of a tree. Each to his or her own.
At this rate we were going to arrive far too early to get into our accommodation, a log cabin at Low Briery Holiday Park, but we’d got dressed up in clothes suitable for walking, so we decided to head through Keswick to the car park at the foot of Latrigg and go for a short walk. There was someone from the Girl Guides in the car park selling cakes and drinks. We convinced her we’d buy something when we got back.
Latrigg is a very easy walk from the car park, because once you’re there it’s only about 1km along and 100m up to reach the summit, so little more than a gentle stroll. There’s also now a good gravel path all the way there, so we went that way.
Just on the crest, I noticed there was a cache nearby. The GPS was pointing off down the mountain, so I scrambled down a very steep grassy bank and through some gorse and eventually found a small cache in the top of a tree stump. This holiday should get the average terrain rating for my cache finds up a bit.
Back on the summit, Ami had come over quite ill and needed to get back, so she and Kas started walking back around the gravel path while Izzy and me went back to the very summit for a quick gawp, and then returned over the grassy knoll. Ami was so bad, and moving so slowly, that Izzy and me got back first.
We decided at that point that we should get to the accommodation as soon as possible so that Ami could get settled, and by the time we arrived they were happy for us to go into the log cabin. It was small but perfectly formed. There were two bedrooms, a bathroom and a combination lounge-kitchen-diner, plus a small balcony. It was really nicely fitted out.
Ami got herself cleaned up, changed and settled a bit while Kas, me and Izzy were carting stuff up from the car and generally getting bedded in, after which it was time to go buy food. Keswick is the nearest town, so we trusted that there was bound to be a supermarket there somewhere. Indeed there was. It was called Booth’s, a local brand I’d never heard of, but definitely at the upper rather than the lower end of the market. Lots of fresh produce, fruit and posh alcohol, and relatively few crisps and biscuits. So we grabbed enough “stuff” to provision ourselves for a couple of nights, a couple of breakfasts, and some things for lunch the following day.
When we’d done all that, it was time to indulge in the “holiday rules” tradition of getting an ice cream. We found a shop in the centre of town that looked like it was wanting to close (it was nearly 6 pm, after all) and grabbed a few of their finest, which we then ate sitting on a bench.
Back at the log cabin, we decided it was time to do a bit of exploring before bedtime, so we went for a wander around the site to see what was where, and ended up at the north end, where you can walk out onto the side of the River Greta. This proved to be a worthwhile walk, as the river bed is full of interesting geology. The river is one of the ones that flooded very heavily in December 2015, which caused severe damage to many roads, pathways and also to the holiday park we were staying at. They lost a number of the static caravans. They weren’t so static once they were given the opportunity to float. Anyway, the riverbed here is a mass of tangled debris, huge rocks of varying geological origin, and general muck, with remarkably little water (at this time), so it was interesting. It was also a great place to practice skimming stones, or plopping them into the water.
And that was more or less the end of our first day. We didn’t do much in the evening because we’d got a busy day planned for the following day. The weather looked good, so we were planning to hack our way up Skiddaw.