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Keswick - The One In The Lake District.

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A bit of therapy as we care for my MIL. It's getting more intense now; we are limited to not going very far at all.

Last month was the last time we managed to get away in our touring caravan and it was to our most favourite place on the planet: the Camping and Caravan Club's site at Keswick. Apart from the views there is a beach onto Derwentwater and 5 minutes walk away is the town centre with an excellent supermarket, a good range of other shopping, pubs and a main bus station.

We found the site almost by accident about 25 years ago when we went to another site at Ulleswater which turned out to be disappointing, so we had a look around. We don't visit this site same week, same pitch etc. every year, but we do try to have a week here and long weekends trying new sites during the summer. We had excellent luck with the weather this year: I always polish the Volvo and clean the van but a little light rain on the 4 hour drive is usually enough to lift the muck from the M6 and chuck it all over both. Not this year. We normally book for 8 nights, Sunday to Monday, and it either rains for the first few days and we have to wait, or we have a few days great weather followed by rain, and go home early. This year we booked 7 nights Monday to Monday, and had great weather all week! :default_trophy:

Anyway, here's the view from the pitch we had this year:


And less than a minute's walk away is the beach:


To the left in the dark you can see a row of lodges. I have a photo from 2003 when there were static caravans there. When new the lodges were about £350K each, but then the view is:


Up the middle is the ridge of Catbells. I walked up there as a younger person 15 years ago, the views are amazing. Some idiots can be seen jumping off with paraglider things sometimes. Takes all sorts.

Actually where I'm standing to take this photo is usually under a couple of feet of water; it normally goes all the way to the trees on the right and the bank in the middle is submerged. Very shallow entry to the water so ideal for paddleboards, canoes and dinghys. You just have to watch out for the old, wooden water bus launches which wizz round the lake churning up quite a swell if you get too close. They won't slow down for smaller craft. The view from here changes dramatically as different cloud formations come over; it can change in minutes as you watch. Early, misty mornings bring out the keen photographers too. Sunsets bring out couples with camping chairs and bottles of wine. :default_drinks:

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Keswick, one of the best places to shop in the country, for someone like me who does ‘outdoor practical, rather than ‘street fashion’. And Pontefract cakes in the sweet shop!

I’m glad it’s a favourite of yours too. Wonderful place. 

We used to spend every Christmas in self catering accommodation in Keswick when the kids were teenagers. Out walking for the whole of the daylight hours on Christmas Day, including a pub stop, more than likely in Rosthwaite, then back to make a start on the Christmas dinner which ended up being eaten about 7pm and always going down well with such an appetite built up. 

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I once spent a February Monday to a Friday in Keswick doing, of all things, an ILM Leadership course. One day was dedicated to counselling skills which we got intensively taught in the morning. They then took us to Buttermere in the afternoon for a walk along the lake and back. We were paired off to practise counselling skills on one another whilst walking. I suppose you could argue you could do that just as well whilst walking as being stuck indoors.

It was a good course though, and it was refreshing to do that in pleasant surroundings rather than the usual anonymous training centre or hotel. 

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A favourite of my late wife and I also. I chose to go to Keswick, then over Honister Pass and walk round Buttermere with my memories for my 70th Birthday.

Long gone my ability to hack Striding Edge to scale Helvellyn or Sharp edge and Blencathra. 

Personally I have always found that route to Blencathra more rewarding than the more famous Striding Edge.

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6 hours ago, Smoggy said:

Does Keswick still have a shop called "the sick and the wrong "

I don’t recall that at all. 


25 minutes ago, ChrisB said:

Personally I have always found that route to Blencathra more rewarding than the more famous Striding Edge.

You’re right, Sharp Edge on Blencathra;far more of a challenge than Striding or Swirral Edges on Helvellyn. 

I am trying to think of my favourite route. I have so many memories of different excursions when walking the Wainwrights, and the Cumbria Way, some on beautiful days, some in wild conditions, some a doddle, some very challenging with full wild camping packs on our backs. 
Bur the northern half of the Lake District certainly is more fun. With the bonus of a wet afternoon in Keswick planned into the itinerary!

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9 hours ago, Smoggy said:

Does Keswick still have a shop called "the sick and the wrong "? As I recall it was skater stuff near the laundrette. 

It was a long time ago  I think 2006 when we were there.

Don't recall ever seeing that but the variety of shops etc. is constantly changing. Latest arrivals are a Premier Inn and a Screwfix! Pencil museum is a must see.

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Gotta love the Lakes, we try to get there at least once a year.

We did go on the shuttle boat on Keswick this time and they certainly don't hang around. Actually, those traditional wooden hulls don't have spray rails and so when they start to push the speed towards the limit of the hull you end up with a lot of spray coming up over the occupants.

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First full day we usually do the “railway walk” as a starter. Up through the town to the old to the old station and it goes for about 3 or 4 miles to Threlkeld. The bridges are interesting in that some appear “upside down”, but all were designed by the same guy who designed the Tay bridge, which fell down. However, most of these in the Lakes were solid until storm Desmond washed away a couple of them and some of the trackbed too.

Anyway, that's a digression because we didn't do that this time. Having retired we have said we need to keep ourselves fitter so this time we went straight in with a walk around Derwentwater. Ten miles according to Strava. We prefer to use time as our guide for exercise; stick to the flat and keep going in bursts of about an hour. Water level was low this time but sometimes you have to take to the road in places to keep out of the water.

It's hard to find a bad view in the Lake District:




This is the view from the other end of the lake from the campsite, the same direction as the first pic on this thread, only a bit further away!

Not a cloud in the sky for most of the week.


Not sure what Mum is saying here but I think the second word was "off".

Day 3 was a slight disappointment. We are members of Historic Houses and this has it's let downs at times. The houses are all independent so there's no set standard. We visited Lowther Castle near Penrith and while it's a lovely looking building, like a fairy tale castle, the gardens were a let down. Plenty of colour if you like green. “Re-wilding” is my favourite modern excuse for “can't be bothered”. Ceramic daffodils (I think) on sale for a charity, jumping on the bandwagon of the ceramic poppies of a few years ago, looked like a three year old had made them. If your three year old had made them you would hide them until the three year old came round to visit! Then keep, to embarrass them as teenagers...

The castle itself has an interesting history and was only finished quite recently by historic houses standards, about 1814. It was only taken apart for tax reasons. Rebuilt, it would make a great exclusive hotel/comference centre etc. I would have been more disappointed if I had paid to get in; I won't be rushing back.

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Day 4 – Windermere.

We were in our 40s when we discovered this campsite and as we walked into town past the bus station we used to say, “Look at all the pensioners waiting to use their bus passes”. Well what goes around as they say...

I got my bus pass in January but Mrs Raser had to wait until mid June, after we had come home. Note: we usually book early in the year and have a good choice of dates but the legacy of Covid lingers on and suitable dates were harder to come by.

Free for me but only £2 each way for Mrs Raser. I've driven the A591 from Keswick to Ambleside many times but never as a passenger, and what a difference! I could really get used to this non driving lark. I thought the bus wouldn't stop once we left Keswick, until we got to Grasmere but how wrong was I? It stopped at all the best places from which to start a walk, including the expensive National Trust car parks. Noted for next time.

I always thought Grasmere was just a tiny village where someone wandered lonely as a cloud and built a house with a blue plaque, and a gingerbread shop. Wrong again; the bus went right into the village centre where quite a few shops and eating places have sprung up over the years. And a gingerbread shop.

At Ambleside we bought a “Walker's Ticket” for the Lake Cruisers which gave us: a launch trip to Wray Castle, a 4 mile walk along the shore to the Ferry Terminal, an old wooden launch accross to Bowness where we boarded the new, hybrid powered “steamer” (???) back to Ambleside.



Day 5 we took the bus back to Grasmere to smell the gingerbread being cooked. Had lunch in a converted chapel and saved £1.20 on toilets while we were there, as they were 60p a go otherwise!


Inside St Oswald's church. I've never seen an old church with white rendering before. Some of it dates from around ad900 I believe, but not the scafolding. St Oswald is having his organ refurbished. Form an orderly queue here: :default_norty:

In conclusion: one of the best holidays we've had up there but these free bus passes are proving to be quite expensive, although it's nice not to have to drive home after eating and drinking out. :default_trophy:

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Just a thought: here in Leicestershire the buses have a C shaped card reader - you put your card into the C and a readout on the top syays, "Reading card" then "card accepted" and off you go to find a seat. You don't have to speak to the driver although we think it's only polite to do so, often most of them are miserable and don't respond. They don't need to know a destination and there's no ticket issued.

In the Lakes you put your card on top of a reader and the driver wants to know your destination. He/she then issues an ticket with destination on it and the fee paid. Most of the drivers were cheerful types. I wondered if different areas have other ways of working?

Didn't see Blakey once! :default_pirate:

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