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The Sketch

Sunday on the lads weekend away was the day for the boys having a bit of fun in their flash motors while me and Stevie B were riding shotgun. We’d not really planned any kind of route. Unlike most bits of Britain, the Lake District doesn’t have a lot of roads that are exciting to drive but which also go through the best bits of scenery. After a bit of driving we ended up at Derwent Water for some lunch and a short stroll.

Back at the driving, in the Lake District there are two types of road. One is long, flat, traffic-filled nightmares of roads. The other type requires the packing of spare underwear due to their narrow, twisty, stone-walls-up-the-side character. The scenic roads would be more exciting if you could guarantee nobody was going to come the other way. Sadly, however, most do have cars coming the other way. You invariably meet somewhere that’s not quite wide enough for two cars to pass without slowing down. And which has either a vertical cliff, a bog or a stone wall on the side. Anyway, there’s not a lot of scope for going off the tarmac in a Porsche, especially in November.

Back at the Plot

One of the best compromises ( in that the road is mainly wide enough for two cars all the way ) is the drive over Honister Pass. To get there from Great Langdale you have to drive out to Ambleside and then up the main road to Keswick, before then turning south again into Borrowdale, which is reputedly England’s wettest place. The start of Honister Pass from Borrowdale is probably only 3-4 miles as the crow flies from where we’d started. However, there’s some hilly bits in the way, so you have to drive about 25 miles around to get there.

At the head of Honister Pass is an old slate mine, where we pulled off the road to admire the view, but rather disappointingly the car park was completely full ( and very uneven ), so we did one lap and then exited again and drove down the hill towards Buttermere. It’s kind of pretty in Buttermere but we found an absence of decent-looking parking again, so decided to continue on and maybe go back to Keswick. To get there we headed out of the bottom end of the valley into Cockermouth, partly because the boys were getting a bit short on motion lotion and weren’t sure quite how far they were going to get without stopping.

Getting Stuck

Cockermouth proved to be a nightmare. We immediately got stuck in a random traffic jam. We couldn’t figure out how to get out again without going back where we’d come from. After a few random thoughts, we did eventually go back where we’d come from. We then did a loop of 5 miles or so to get to a different road that had a junction with the main A66 road back to Keswick. That was half an hour of our lives that we’ll never get back.

Enough of That

Three years ago, when we’d been on a family trip up to the lakes ( see Happy Birthday ), we’d gone to Keswick and had a pleasant afternoon walking up and down the side of Derwent Water, so I suggested maybe we could go there for a while on the basis that I knew it ticked many of the required criteria for a Sunday afternoon stroll, in particular there’s :

  • a cafe
  • lots of walking options of differing lengths
  • several geocaches that I’d not done before
  • a massive, tarmac-covered, easy-to-access car park that has lots of spaces in it

Parking up two Porsches in the car park proved to be a great way of drawing attention, apparently, despite the boys having done their level best to make sure they were miles away from anyone else. Or maybe they drew attention just because they were miles away from anyone else. Whatever. The cars seemed popular with the locals.

Feed Me

It was definitely time for lunch when we arrived. We headed straight into the cafe at the theatre for food and beverages. Nice! I’d been there before too, so had some experience of their lunchtime offerings. Pretty good, all-in-all.

After that we headed off for a walk around the edge of the lake. When walking from here you pretty much have to head south along the lake shore. You go a very wiggly mile or so along the lake shore until you reach a point where the lakeside path and main road came close together. From there we turned back along the side of the main road to head back to the theatre again. We retired for a round of coffee and cake, as you do. When we came out there was just enough daylight left for a few photos. I took a few snaps of the setting sun over the lake (and the geezers).

Getting Stuck, Again

On the way back from Derwent Water we got stuck in a huge traffic jam trying to get back through Ambleside, so someone suggested we turn around and take the small road that goes out of the back of Grasmere into Great Langdale, bypassing the centre of Ambleside. It seemed like a good idea but by this time it was completely dark. However the road was one of the proverbial 6’6″-width-restriction-not-suitable-for-HGVs variety. It was most definitely not suitable for HGVs. In fact, it was barely suitable for Porsches either. Definitely a few brown-trouser moments, but the boys did a grand job. Eventually we found ourselves back on the slightly better road back up the valley to our hotel. No damage incurred.

We stayed at the hotel for the evening again. There wasn’t really anywhere else to go, so we feasted on some stuff in the bar again. The bar menu was more than adequate. It also felt like more of a “lads weekend away” venue than the proper restaurant would. There was some farting about with board games again, which I did my best to grump out of, but eventually gave in.

And that was it apart from another monstrously huge, lardy breakfast on Monday morning and a boring but ultimately painless drive back down the M6. Another year of lads-weekend-away-in-November completed. Once again we’d managed to pick a great location and had enjoyed some unseasonably warm and sunny weather.