We’re very lucky here in Manchester, not only do we live in a wonderful, vibrant, city, but we’re a stone’s throw from some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. The Peak District is just an hour away, Snowdonia is two hours away, so are the Yorkshire Dales and Cheshire and Lancashire are virtually on the doorstep. With so much to choose from it’s easy to get complacent.
With this in mind, Lady Hughes and myself packed our gear and set off to the Grasmere and the heart of the stunning Lake District – approximately an hour and a half’s drive.
Grasmere is a beautiful village, situated just north of Windermere on the A591. One of the downsides to visiting such a beautiful and accessible place though, is that you’re rarely alone. On a sunny Saturday like this, it attracts coach-loads of tourists, serviced by a plethora of cafes and gift shops. A friend of mine described Grasmere as a Lake District theme park with lots of shops but none that sell bread or milk. I think that’s a bit cruel, but as I shuffle through the crowded streets, I do see his point.
We weren’t too bothered about the crowds though as we were off, away from the tea shops, into the hills.
Our target for the day was Silver How, a small hill right next to Loughrigg Fell, and like Loughrigg, one we did years ago with the kids – time to retrace old steps, literally.
Once out of Grasmere, the crowds disappeared and the only noise was birdsong and the diminishing, distant rumble of traffic on the A591.
The weather was sunny with a cool breeze, so we quickly stripped out of our jackets, hiking in just our T-shirts – we did have trousers and boots on as well, before you start getting the wrong idea!
Navigation was relatively simple and the only challenge was a steep climb up to the summit, which we broke up with several breaks to take photographs – not because we were knackered, honest!
Once on the top we were rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding hills and a sudden blast of cold wind, so it was back on with the anoraks.
Across the valley we could see a passing heavy cloud leaving a shower of rain, moving across Heron Pike, but we luckily dodged all the rainfall, though we did get the occasional hailstones – which was nice.
Walking west across the boggy tops we got a great view of the Langdale Pikes and took the opportunity to explore a bit, checking out the views and a few tarns before we turned east and headed back down towards Grasmere again.
Gentle walk down into town and back to the car three and a half hours after we left it. The guidebook lists the walk as two and half hours but we went off-piste for a bit and took our time – it’s not a race after all.
I do love the Lakes, it can be a bit touristy but it is beautiful and challenging if you want it to be, and best of all – it’s only an hour and a half away.