Bumping into Billionaires in Hawkshead

Beautiful, sunny, bank holiday weekend, so it’s off to the Lakes for another mini-adventure. With Ziggy in the back, we cruised up the motorway to the lakes, crossed Windermere by ferry and drove twelve miles on to the town of Hawkshead.

We’d decided on a little circular hike from Hawkshead to Tarn Hows and back again. Hawkshead is a little town nestled in-between Windermere and Coniston and can lay claim to being one of the most beautiful towns in the Lake District – which is saying something in the Lakes. With it’s narrow passages and white-walled buildings it resembles a cornish fishing village more than a lakeland town.

Parking up, we put our boots on and set off into the town. Outside one shop we paused for a moment and I spotted a tall, middle-aged lady who looked vaguely familiar. Standing only six feet away from me I suddenly realised who she was – Jerry Hall (one-time supermodel wife of Mick Jagger and before that, Bryan Ferry’s girlfriend). As she’s recently got married, I looked around for her new husband and there he was, billionaire media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch. Now, I’m a man of the world, but I don’t tend to bump into billionaires and supermodels very often when I’m walking my dog. Unfortunately my paparazzi skills were failing me and by the time I’d got my camera out they were walking away, but trust me, it was definitely them.

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The rest of the walk was had less celebrities but was still very beautiful. There was a little cloud and summer haze but we still had great views of the surrounding fells, including the Old Man of Coniston and the Lansdale Pikes, and the weather was fine.

At Tarn Hows we found a felled tree which had coins pressed into it, presumably for luck – it didn’t seem to have brought the tree any. We did the obligatory “I thought money didn’t grow on trees” gag, and moved on.

Back in Hawkshead we rested outside the pub and had a medicinal pint to replenish lost minerals and vitamins, etc. – always good practice after a hike I find.

Chatting to the locals we asked if they got many billionaires hanging around the shops and all they could say was that there had been a big wedding that day and there did seem to be a lot of Aussies around – who knows?

Anyway, my advice when hiking, is always keep a look out for billionaires and supermodels, you never know when you might meet Richard Branson in Edale, Bill Gates up Ingleborough or even Cindy Crawford on Blackstone Edge – have your camera ready!





Ziggy Stardust and Elterwater

For the last four weeks we have been fostering a rescue dog, a Bulgarian street dog with one blue eye and one brown, they (Dogs4Rescue) called him Bowie (due to the eyes, obviously), but we changed that to Ziggy. This weekend we completed the paperwork to formally adopt him as a member of the Hughes family.

Ziggy’s background is sketchy, to say the least, and his breed is a bit of a mystery, but his ‘doggy’ passport puts him down as a whippet cross and approximately two years old. He’s very submissive, playful and affectionate and we’ve all grown really attached to him. They’ve told us that he’s really well trained but all the commands must be in Bulgarian – which I suspect is a fib.

This weekend we took him with us for a hike in the sunny Lake District. The weather was glorious and the scenery beautiful, but as it was Ziggy’s first hike we picked an easy one, starting at Elterwater village and exploring the surrounding countryside.

Ziggy was well-behaved and we even let him off the lead for a few sections and he even came back – most of the time.

One startling moment was when we entered some woods and let him off the lead, only for us to walk straight into a large deer. It shot off, Ziggy shot off after it, we… weren’t quite sure what to do, so we waited and shouted, until a very excited Ziggy emerged from the undergrowth a few minutes later.

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Back at Elterwater, we relaxed in the pub garden with a pint, and Ziggy chilled out, lying on the floor and getting many interested looks and enquiries. If you’ve never been to Elterwater before I’d heartily recommend it, it’s beautiful, the surrounding scenery is stunning and the pub beer garden is very enticing – especially on a sunny day with a Bulgarian street dog, David Bowie impressionist.

If you’d like to learn more about Dogs4Rescue, click here.



Kendal and Scout Scar

Back in the Lakes this weekend, with Lady Hughes, trying a walk in part of Cumbria that we usually drive through to get to the other bits.

Kendal is a small town in the South-East of the Lake District, not far from the M6 motorway and famous for its mint cake. It’s a beautiful place with lovely houses and a town centre riddled with little little alleyways and bags of character, but my overwhelming memory from my visit this weekend is how stressful it is to simply park a car there for anything over four hours – brace yourselves, I’m going to have a bit of a rant.

The little guide I have, described the parking as “plentiful“. What it didn’t say was that the first three car parks you go into will only allow you to stay for up to four hours, the other parking will be so badly signposted that you’ll only spot them once you have passed them by and turning around is virtually impossible in the labyrinthine one-way system – there was much swearing and gnashing of teeth.

Eventually we did find a long-stay car park, a multi-storey. I’ve often said that the lowest form of architecture is a multi-storey car park and this one was a great example. All of the bays were in sets of three, each set was divided by a large concrete pillar, positioned to make sure that unless you parked in the middle of the three, you wouldn’t be able to open the doors on one side of your vehicle. Needless to say, all the middle spaces were taken.

After trying several side spaces, nudging my car forwards and backwards in an effort to position the door so it would miss the pillar and eventually giving up, I came up with a plan. I would drive to the top, the roof, where were wouldn’t be any supporting pillars as there wouldn’t be anything there to support.

Once we made our way to the top, we found that the genius architect had anticipated our move and played his masterstroke, all of the spaces up here would be just narrow enough to get a car in, but not wide enough to be able to open the doors if there were other cars parked alongside you. We watched as other drivers crawled into spaces and then tried to get out, climbing to the other sides to use the other doors, parking over the lines, taking extra spaces, I even saw one woman taking a photo of her parked car, presumably to use as evidence in the court case when she appeals the fine for parking over the lines.

Anyway, after much shuffling and squeezing, we finally managed to park our car and start the walk.

The walk from Kendal to South Scar was lovely, we were blessed with good weather and once up on the ridge, the views of the surrounding mountains were gorgeous.

At the highest point, there is a shelter with the names of all the surrounding hills and the 360° views included Morecambe Bay, The Old Man of Coniston, Scafell, Langdale Pikes, High Street and the Yorkshire Dales.

This isn’t a particularly difficult walk and only climbs up to about 300 metres but it was certainly one of the most rewarding. One of the weirdest things though, for a walk in the Lake District, was that you don’t actually see any lakes along the way.

Back in Kendal, we navigated our way through the town centre, back to the infamous car park. I dropped off my rucksack and went to pay out ticket as Clare went to use the toilets. Clare came back fuming – toilets closed, and the lady in front of me at the pay-station put her money in, only for the screen to flash up that it was now out of order. I ran down the stairs, found another machine, paid and we hurriedly drove away from Kendal and all it’s satanic car parks!

Despite the parking, we had a great day, here a few more photos to prove it.