From the Sublime to the Ridiculous
Windermere Travel Blog› entry 9 of 9 › view all entries
Full of porridge and with my pack feeling considerably lighter than when I had started, I descended towards Windermere, following little paths, crossing stiles and passing through fields filled with sheep and cows. I was back at the train station before 10.30am, in fact it was still closed and opened a few minutes later enabling me to get a bit of a wash and clean-up.
My train was not leaving until after 6pm so I had a bit of time to kill. I stopped off at The Lighthouse in the town, a contemporary coffee house and bistro that becomes a restaurant at night. It has a great location where the two main streets converge on one corner and is always very popular. I ordered a latte and some toasted muffins and marmalade, because they sounded too good to pass up. The waitresses are mainly foreign and all very pretty, it is quite a pleasant place to spend an hour or so.
I then headed into Bowness, where it was teeming with humanity, a day trippers paradise, the weather was good and they were out in force. The town is built for tourists with an abundance of restaurants, cafes, pubs, souvenir shops and fashionable boutiques. There were couples, families, groups of teenagers and quite a few biker groups too. It also seems to have become a major attraction for Indian families and Chinese tourists as they are everywhere. The station at Windermere always seems to have at least a dozen or so Chinese travellers waiting for a train or bus. They give the place a real cosmopolitan feel, and it all adds to the impression of the Bowness and Windermere becoming the tourist capital of Lakeland. The place has a hustling, bustling 'vibe' about it and certainly adds to the economy of the towns.
There is almost a party atmosphere around Bowness, everybody is there to enjoy themselves, taking a ride on the road train or feeding the flocks of swans, geese and ducks. This is a thriving industry in itself as hundreds of bags of seeds are purchased almost every day, and these must be the best fed ‘wildfowl’ anywhere in the world!
There was a brief shower and I took the opportunity to try the roast dinner at the John Peel pub. I opted for the roast lamb, it tasted quite good, but was not the best value I have ever had. They use the old trick of using small plates to make the meal look bigger, but it did not disguise the fact that there was not that much there.
I wandered around a little more, but was rapidly tiring in the presence of so many people, such a contrast to the majority of the time I had spent in the Lakes. I purchased my last Lakeland ice cream for awhile, apple crumble and cinder toffee flavours and leisurely strolled back up to Windermere. I found a ladies watch on my way, my week for finding things this week and as the police station was closed just dropped it through the letter box.
I still had a little time to spend before my train departed so I returned to The Lighthouse for a double espresso. This was a little weak because they had added too much water. I have not really eaten enough at this place to give it any justice in a full review, but it does seem very popular and the staff are pleasant. My muffins were great and apart from the espresso all seemed good
Before too long it was time to go and catch my train. I spent the journey thinking a little about my trip, I felt it had been a success. We do not have any real ‘giants’ over here, as far as I am aware nobody who is in good health requires supplemental oxygen to reach any of the summits. Our mountains are dwarfed by the real giants of the greater ranges the Himalaya, Karakoram, Alps, Andes and Rockies, but they are no less special, and can be provide equally jaw dropping scenery and excitement. The mountains of Lakeland in common with all British mountains can become serious. They are not too far from the coast and the weather can change in an instant from bright sunshine to a major storm and too many people do not take this into consideration before venturing onto the hills, many are ill prepeared and poorly equipped, it could become a a dangerous underestimation.
There is not really a Lakeland Haute route either, but I feel that although my route is not exactly unique it probably has not been done in such a way too many times before. I am not claiming that it is the perfect route either, but maybe with a little fine tuning we really could have our own high level route. The weather was on the whole quite benign and I could return back to Salford, happy and satisfied. All is good in Salford then!P.S. My map of choice or maybe necessity was the British Mountaineering Council 1;40,000 of the Lake District and deserves a special mention. Due to the scale it covers the majority of the National Park but retains enough detail to be perfectly adequate for most peoples needs. It is treated so that it is waterproof and proved extremely durable. I have use it constantly for over twenty days in some pretty nasty conditions, and yet despite the weather, abuse it recieved; constant folding and refolding and being stuffed into pockets it never let me down. It is understandably a bit worn in places now, but on the whole has survived the ordeal relatively unscathed, a very good purchase.