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A walking week in the Lake District, well not all walking! Over Easter Andy Fleming took a holiday to the Lake district to rekindle family memories, have a relaxing break and enjoy a bit of local architecture too.

Traditional rowing boats on Lake Windermere

The Lake District is a beautiful place that has strong family ties with both my parents having grown up there. I last visited nearly 10 years ago and it was nice to return to places I fondly remember from childhood holidays. My parents first took me walking at a young age, along with my sister we climbed Coniston Old Man and other peaks. Looking back I realise how lucky we were to experience this and now with my own children it’s nice to do the same, even if they moan a little along the way as I’m sure I did at their age.

Heading up to the Southern Lakes we stopped at Grange-over-Sands to enjoy a glimpse of the promenade, grab a homemade pie in Higginsons award winning butchers and pass by my grandparents former house where we spent our holidays. Many happy memories there. Onwards to Cartmel Village and a pint of Hawkshead ale in the Kings Arms in the picturesque square. Cartmel is a beautiful historic village built around the 12th Century Church, famous for its (horse) races and now a Michelin Star restaurant.

My grandparents guest house in Grange-over-Sands in its full glory, 1947. Fond memories

Staying just North of Bowness-on-Windermere on the edge of Lake, we had a great base to explore the Southern Lakes, close to bustling Ambleside and Bowness with their great pubs and shops. I’ve fond memories of being around Windermere and the villages that surround it, having an ice-cream or fish and chips and taking a boat on the lake.

With the weather just about holding out we did two main walks, the first a short walk up ‘Gummers How’ with its great views along Windermere and the fells beyond. It’s a good walk for young children and a great spot to enjoy a picnic at the top. Later in the week and taking a slight gamble with the weather we headed over to Consiton and up ‘The Old Man of Consiton', this time unable to reach the top due to the poor conditions. Unperturbed we enjoyed the walk with its great views across the Lakes and a rewarding pint or two in the pub after.

The Swan on Lake Windermere, a boat my dad worked on during his college holidays

Part way up Gummers How, view across the southern end of Lake Windermere, Birkrigg beyond.

Climbing The Old Man of Coniston, resting just below Goat’s Water, children unamused! Dow Crag covered in mist in the background

My parents dog enjoying the water

Traditional Lake District architecture comprises of rugged local materials. Slate stone traditionally quarried nearby being widely used as a walling material. Diminishing coursing of slate, circular chimneys and crow-step gables are commonplace detailing and born out of local building traditions. Narrow roads and and tight enclosed lanes pass between buildings providing interesting glimpses of life or a mountain backdrop behind.

Enclosed passageways and lanes in Coniston and Ambleside

Lake District Slate

Traditional detailing with overhanging slate

I look forward to returning again soon to enjoy more of the same. If you've never visited the Lake District and get the chance, go for it. Fingers crossed the weather will hold out for you!

Hole in t’ Wall pub with its round chimney, Bowness-on-Windermere, enjoy a local pint

Family. Dog present as always!

Great walking and views of the lovely Lake District

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