The Morning

The bad news is that this was the day of our departure from the Lakes. The good news is that we weren’t going home just yet. We were driving to the North-East to see family for a few days. We had an appointment at a maize maze.

Before any of that, though, we had one final hotel breakfast before retiring to our rooms to finish off the packing.

What’s a Maize Maze?

As the name suggests, a farmer plants maize in a field, but does so in such a manner that there’s a maze to walk around between the heads of maize. I guess it vastly improves the financial return on a field whilst still notionally producing some useful crops.

The one we chose was at Lakeland Maze Farm Park, a fairly substantially-sized affair to the south of Kendal. The parking there was, interesting, to say the least. I wasn’t over happy about dumping my massively-long close-to-the-ground vehicle in what was basically a field. Especially not as it looked like rain. They also had some quite interesting angles and slopes on the parking area, to make it more entertaining.

The place itself is designed mainly as a day out for families with younger children, and so it’s full of families with younger children. That means lots of random running around, shouting and crying. It also means somewhere that sells very unhealthy food. The last time we did a maize maze was away back in 2006 on Lindisfarne. That one was just a field. There were no other services present. I was kind of expecting this one to be the same, but it wasn’t.

Getting Lost

The Maize Maze was, to be honest, very big and impressive. It had overhead bridges for crossing various bits. And it had a game to play where you had to find a dozen or so signs within the maze. They were sneakily hidden in all the dead ends. I can’t remember if there was a prize for completing it, but in any case, one of our kids was more enthusiastic than the other about walking at high speed along every avenue trying to find the signs. That caused a bit of fraction (partly wth me) but I think in general we all had a sense of not wanting to be there. The place wasn’t really in the Lakes, and nor was it with family in the North-East. And it was designed for much younger children.

So basically we got round as quickly as we could, had a swift snack and drink, and jumped back in the car.

Which Way?

As we were in Kendal, we could have picked a number of routes to get across to Sunderland, but the most obvious was the short journey down to the M6 and then up the “good bit” where the motorway cuts through the mountains just south of Tebay.

I think we stopped at Tebay Services for something better to eat and to fill up with fuel. From there we crossed the Pennines through Kirby Stephen and onto the A66, up the A1M and into Sunderland. We were on our way to Sunderland to check into a hotel because family members were temporarily unable to host four of us. This was partly caused by COVID and partly caused by a pending move of house. Anyway, we were booked into the Hilton Garden Inn, which is on the site of the Stadium of Light. The rooms were very nice.

The Evening

After a fairly long day out we didn’t have the energy for much more than having a shower and going to Kas’s mum’s for dinner. Another long day, and a sad day because we left the Lakes, but a happy day because we’d still got three whole days left and were spending them with family.