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Retrospect Travel Log: Lake Ullswater

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All photos in this post were taken by myself or my partner

So, last week we had a family trip to the Lake District. Particularly, Ullswater lake, the second largest lake in the UK. If you've been following for a while, you'll know that this is our third annual family summer trip. Two years ago we went to Sweden and Norway, and last summer we travelled to Thailand. This year, because we knew we'd have a puppy in our household, we booked a room in a hotel called "Another Place", right on the shore of Ullswater lake. We spent the week there, doing some water activities (SUP and canoe) and some hiking.

The grounds of Another Place

The first few days were a bit blah for me. We started with a SUP lesson and paddling on the lake, which was lovely, but then we did nothing pretty much the rest of the day. On the second day, we climbed to a place called Arthur's Pike. Stunning views, lots of sheep. The sheep turned out to be a critical factor, as our dog decided they'd be excellent playmates and proceeded to herding them (or scattering them, really) all the way down the hill we just climbed on. It was a bit of a disaster.

This one got away

The next day we hiked to Aira Force Falls. I wanted to go up to Cowbarrow fell, but the kids resisted, claiming they were "tired" and "only kids". I was grumpy about it until the evening. Then, that evening, my partner reminded me of the purpose of this trip. We talked about how different these trips are from the hiking trips we used to do. Once, when we were young, we hiked in Italy's mountains without knowing where we're going or how we'll get back. We ended up hijacking some German tourists to drive us back up to the hotel because it was Sunday. We didn't actually hijack them, just behaved in a very Israeli manner. But that's another story altogether. The point is, you can't do that kind of thing with kids. And I knew that. I just needed to be reminded.

Truly magnificent

So, the next few days were much more fun for me. We went canoeing on the lake, and we made good use of the hotel's pool. Because of the virus, they limit the time in the pool to one 45 minutes session per family you have to book a day in advance, which kind of crimped our spontaneous style. But there is a pandemic out there, so, you know. Our last hike was to Silverpoint, leaving from Patterdale. This hike was successful: the right length and the right height. It took us about three hours total, so we had lunch in Glenridding's Helvellyn Country Kitchen (brilliant jacket potatoes). The views of the lake were breathtaking, and the streams that crossed the path sporadically, providing refreshing water (no drinking, except for the dog), made the climb comfortable.

Just look at it. I mean, really.

The drive there and back was probably the only thing that I was worried about, and it went reasonably smoothly. On the way there we stopped at Cannock Lake for a warmup hike (just to break the drive, really). On the way back, we only took a service stop, with lunch and a quick comfort break for everyone. The worst part was standing in traffic for 25 minutes trying to cross Battersea Bridge on a Friday afternoon (after spending the last 5 hours in the car).

Shepherding is hot work!

In summary, I highly recommend taking children and dogs up to the Lake District. If nothing else, they get good and tired and allow mommy and daddy to have an evening drink.


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