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Holiday to the Lake District - Day Four

Posted on Monday 5th July 2010 at 00:00
Day Four of the holiday and the inevitable happened at last. It was always going to, despite warnings from those who know the area better than us, and who cautioned us against it. That's right; today, we took a boat ride on Lake Windermere.

Yes, yes, I know, I know! The other lakes are better, cheaper, less touristy etc, etc. I know that! And, in time, I hope to spend a great deal of time exploring the less well known parts of the Lake District, and getting to know the real place. But I still had to do Windermere, just once.

The problem with it as a lake, being long and thin (a ribbon lake, I think they call it) is that there is no one place you can stand to get a good idea of the size of the thing, it is just too long. The only way to experience it properly is by boat. So that is what we did.

In order to combine things and save some cash, we decided to go with a combined steam train and boat ride ticket, allowing us to tick two things off our list of planned activities for the week, and so free up yet more time for stuff that is perhaps a little more worthy.

We settled on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite railway to take us as far as the boat; a pleasant enough ride on an attractive little steam train (with an unattractive name: Repulse) at speeds so slow you would half expect to be overtaken by continental drift. The boat we boarded was the MV Swan, the youngest of the three boats on the route at only 72 years of age. We elected to sit outside at the front, as it would afford us the best view of the lake, a smart decision whilst in port, but one that we would soon come to regret, once we felt the full force and chill of the wind upon the open lake.

Indeed, it was only bloody minded stubbornness on both our parts that had us sit there, frozen and huddling each other for warmth, all the way to Ambleside, where we disembarked.

We had around an hour before the return boat, and so elected to look around Amberside itself, a pretty town with a frankly astounding number of outdoor clothing shops. Amongst these was the first ever actual branch of Cotton Traders that I've ever seen, and, much to my delight, they had a 50% off sale, just as I was finding my existing pair of black Cotton Traders shoes in need of replacement. Perfect timing.

Upon our return to the water, we discovered that we'd be travelling on the MV Tern, a Victorian steam ship built in 1891 that had since been converted to diesel (sadly), but was nonetheless comfortable and roomy inside and a massive improvement on the previous boat.

Whilst on board I sampled the hot chocolate (not bad) and bought a postcard for my mum!

This evening we made an effort to eat as early as possible once we arrived home. The reason for this is that the sun was shining, and we just couldn't resist an opportunity to go for a walk round the village of Morland once again. As we walked we amused ourselves by making bets about the number of cars we'd see on our walk (6 out, 6 back) and chatted about how pleasant the countryside is during the summer. We were passed repeatedly by a tractor that was conveying covered hay bales from a field to a barn a little way down the road.

The short walk we had planned ended up being somewhat longer, since once we got going we just didn't want to stop! In the end we were forced to turn back by concerns that it might be dark soon, and neither of us were carrying torches with us.

Tomorrow we are thinking of walking a little in Coniston and seeing the sculpture walk at Grizedale. The weather looks like it may not make up its mind, so we are thinking sunny thoughts.

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