Happy Wednesday! I just returned from five days of hiking in the English Lake District with Elli, one of my best friends from college. We walked 85 miles in five days and fueled up with many, many eats that I couldn’t wait to share. I’m going to check in again tomorrow with more thoughts on the experience (and next week with more London adventures) but for now, I hope you enjoy this peek at the journey so far!
We arrived in the Lake District on Thursday evening, eager to start exploring. Friday morning was a bit rainy, but after a five mile run to get into the active spirit Elli and I tucked into breakfast provided at our B&B and were totally warmed up. Breakfast was the same every day, a hearty meal to get us going. I always started with fruit, which on Friday was honeydew and black currants. Other days featured raspberries or strawberries.
A typical full Engligh breakfast is eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, and toast. I “just” had scrambled eggs and mushrooms, and gluten free toast with butter and jam, each day. And lots of water to hydrate – which was a surprise to our hosts, since most English breakfast eaters just drink tea!
That morning, we went to Grasmere, one of the lakes north of Windermere (the famous one and the town we were staying in). We visited William Wordsworth’s house because we are Oxford nerds, and then braved the rain as it continued into the afternoon and decided to hike over Loughrigg Tarn to Ambleside, the next town. It was a rocky, hilly eight miles or so, but we made it and it was beautiful in the mist.
We had eaten lunch in Grasmere but not packed too many snacks beyond an apple and banana each. This was a mistake we did not repeat, as it was clear that hiking made for constant hunger. We got a bus back to Windermere from Ambleside and headed to the Angel Inn for dinner. I had a chicken burger with melted Lancashire cheese, salad, and chips (French fries in England). All delicious to the last bite.
We followed up with a visit to the Windermere Ice Cream Company, which we repeated every day of the trip. My first try was the Raspberry Ripple. It was thick and creamy, although I wish I had gotten a bigger scoop…
On Saturday, we went shopping at a Booths supermarket in Keswick, another town in the Lakes, before setting off on a walk around Derwentwater. We bought salad (for me), a sandwich (for Elli), and lots of snacks. We started to eat carrot sticks as we walked – Peter Cottontail snacks! String cheese and gluten free oatcakes also made for excellent on the go eats. We were both hungry pretty much all the time…
We walked about 14 miles from the village of Keswick, through a meadow to Derwentwater, halfway around the lake and then down to the town of Rothswaite. We hiked through woods, valley, mountain, lakeside, and pastoral farmland terrain. Beautiful, exhausting, and totally worth it.
Saturday evening, because we got back late, featured a takeaway dinner eaten on the bus. A salad with feta cheese and chicken, with some more oatcakes on the side, and an apple. And some black currant ice cream when we returned to Windermere.
Sunday was spent in Coniston, where we started off on a hike planning to circumnavigate the lake, but saw our pleasant afternoon turn into an adventure. The first six miles down one side of the lake were smooth, but then the “public footpath” took us through a field of sheep that turned into a bog, and we somehow wound up facing down cars on a major throughway marked as a path. I was terrified during parts, to be honest, but Elli kept her head and got us through. The experience required lots of early, pre dinner ice cream to recover. Mint chip this time!
When we returned to Windermere, we ate at Sutherland’s, a pub in the town of Bowness. I had a whole rainbow trout grilled in dill butter, new potatoes, and veggies, and ate all of it, plus some of Elli’s chips. I think I ate more that day than any other time in my life, and I was stuffed but needed all of it!
Monday we headed to Ullswater, another northern lake. We took a ferry from the northeast tip of the lake at Pooley Bridge to Howtown, and hiked seven very rocky miles down to the village of Patterdale, then another two to Glenridding. The path showcased gorgeous views, but it was a little frightening on parts; the best view of the lake came when you were basically standing on a cliff!
We stopped for lunch at this spot, and had another grocery store feast. I went for salad with chicken along with the usual apples, carrots, cheese, yogurt, oatcakes and such. I am pretty sure I ate well over a pound of cheese during this trip. I was downing two or three string cheese sticks and the same number of cheddar Babybels each day. It was necessary for protein on the move – apples, carrots, and oatcakes are great for carbs but weren’t enough to keep us going.
That evening’s supper featured mussels and chips for both of us, with more ice cream that I forgot to photograph. I went for cinnamon plum flavor, a new one for me, and very tasty. We ate that near the harbor in Bowness watching the boats.
I’ll leave you with this glimpse of the Bowness-on-Windermere harbor and a promise to share more scenes from the hikes tomorrow.
Have you ever been hiking in a beautiful new place?
What are your favorite snacks for outdoor adventuring?
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