Lake District

There are no guarantees when travelling in the UK. Even in May the weather can be all over the place, beautiful, bright and sunny one minute, drab, grey and miserable the next.

There are no guarantees when travelling with a five month old baby. They can be bright and cheery and laughing one minute and crying and screaming the next.

Boats on Windermere

Both of these things made my trip to the Lake District rather different to most of the travel I’ve ever done. Except when I travel with a tour group, I normally have a pretty relaxed schedule. That was more-or-less mandated this time!

But despite my worries, including less than ideal weather, things worked out well. Junior travelled like a champ, sleeping through the boring bits, thoroughly enjoying himself or just not noticing any of the changes.


It’s fair to say that we saw less than we would have done if travelling alone, but we still managed to cram quite a lot of sight-seeing in.

We stayed half way between Windermere and Bowness, a short walk to either town. Or a long walk if it was raining. So on the first day we checked out both towns and went down to the lake front.


That first time by the water it was so windy that we almost got blown off our feet. I took a few pictures and gave up, heading back into Bowness. Here the wind quickly died down but just as quickly turned into rain. I ducked into a cafe. Too late for the cream scone it turns out, but just in time to avoid the rain and drink a quick latte.

The next day I drove by the side of the lake north to Ambleside and then back down the west side of the lake a little for a walk to a waterfall.

Tiremarks into a field

At least that was the idea.

We ended up doing a very pleasant walk by the side of a river up to a small town, but not a waterfall. That will teach us to rely on Google Maps and some vague directions. (We later found that we’d not been patient enough. A couple of miles further down the road would have got us to the right path.)

En route from Cockermouth to Grasmere

The forecast for the next day was worse, so we decided to spend more of it in the car and head up to Cockermouth, to the north west of the Lakes.

Sure is was grey and miserable outside, but the scenery was still undeniably beautiful. It’s crazy to think that it was my first time in the area.

En route from Cockermouth to Grasmere

Once in Cockermouth we walked around in circles, as we tend to do when visiting new places. We started without a real plan. Then, since we were with a baby, thought that maybe we should visit the toy museum. We found the brewery that was, according to the map, just past it but not the museum itself. Later we found that some of the signs were blacked out; presumably it closed at some point.

River, Elterwater

We had better luck with lunch. On our aimless walking earlier we had passed a number of pubs that looked worthy of further attention. Based more on the name than anything more scientific we ended up in The Bitter End, which turned out to be a good choice. You can’t go wrong with a pint and a pie…

Walk near Ambleside

On the way back to Windermere we stopped in a few places, included Grassmere for some gingerbread and some services for a loo (though they had been closed for some time, with the windows boarded up).

But this was to be our last full day in the Lakes.

Path near Windermere

We took our time heading back home. We stopped in Kendle for some mint-cake. And I found a new word that sounds like it’s swearing but isn’t: finkle. (If you don’t think it sounds rude, you can finkle off.) And we stopped in Settle for some lunch at “Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe” for some Yorkshire pudding and Cumberland Sausages. May seemed like the wrong time of year for such stodge but a quick look out the window confirmed that it was very suitable.

Blustry on Windermere

So even with the baby and the weather, we still managed to see quite a lot in only a few days. I find it difficult to believe that this was the first time I’ve visited. But I’m sure it won’t be the last time.