The UK’s fifteen national parks are an eclectic mix of landscapes, ranging from heather-clad moorland, rolling hills and craggy fells to expansive lochs, wooded valleys and sandy beaches. They’re home to our highest peaks, our deepest lake and miles upon miles of trails for everyone to enjoy. Oh, and millions of sheep (of which the Lake District’s hardy Herdwicks are by far the cutest). I’ve visited six of our national parks to date – some on multiple occasions, others just the once – and each of them holds a place in my heart.
Although the previous day had been a total washout, brighter skies were on the cards for our final full day in the Lakes – so we made the most out of it by climbing another peak, Yewbarrow. Spoiler: we totally underestimated this 628m peak. This mountain was essentially A Bad Idea – but it didn’t stop us giving it a go (and a decent run for its money, even if we were rather unconventional walkers/ hikers/ climbers).
On a clear day, England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, affords spectacular views across England’s deepest lake and the surrounding Lakeland fells. However, our streak of good luck with the weather had temporarily expired – and the Scafell range was shrouded in thick mist. So much for the optimistic weather forecast displayed at the campsite . . .
As we set off from the campsite towards Wast Water, the wispy grey clouds overhead looked somewhat ominous. Undeterred, we decided to go along with our original plan – a circuit of the three-mile long glacial lake, taking in the shoreline footpath along the southern edge before returning via the road on the northern edge. So far, so bon.
With breakfast consumed, the tent packed away and our backpacks on, it was time to leave the glampsite behind and swap the picturesque hamlet of Boot for a pitch a stone’s throw from Britain’s “favourite view” (as voted by ITV viewers several years prior).
Having visited the tourist honeypots of Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere a few months back, Laurence and I were keen to head a bit further off-grid on this trip to the Lake District. Cue: a four-hour train ride to the south-western Lakes for a taste of Britain’s “favourite view” (according to ITV viewers) in the form of Wast Water, a suitably remote and picturesque spot surrounded by England’s highest peaks, the Scafell range, and hundreds of adorable Herdwick sheep.
Whilst Grasmere was beautiful – and on an ordinary day, I would happily have waited two hours for the gingerbread shop to open – we decided to make the most of the sunny weather (and our limited time) and hike back to Ambleside. After all, what’s a trip to the Lakes without going on at least one walk? Fortunately, the Lake District offers walks for people of every age, ability and interest – and it was easy to find one to suit our needs. If you missed my two previous posts about our weekend in the Lake District, you can find them here and here.