Getting active in the Lake District
Waking up to a beam of light glistening through a cluster of pines outside my room was exactly the kind of peace that 16.4 million visitors a year flock to the Lake District to enjoy. A long journey from London to Cumbria the night before meant the lack of daylight left my surroundings a mystery. Throwing open the curtains I was thrilled to discover the new day had brought with it breathtaking views of the rustic countryside. But, this time I wasn’t here to put my feet up. As the haunting morning fog started to dissipate, it was time to hit the twisting roads and make my way to Lake Windermere.
Getting into deep water
The air was so fresh that simply inhaling makes you feel instantly healthier. The morning sun cascaded onto the lake, creating beautiful golden ripples while the heat hit the back of my neck. I was tasked with finding out what there is to do in the Lakes other than hiking, pubs and afternoon tea. First on the list was to attempt stand-up paddle boarding on the famous lake. Having tried surfing for the first time only a month before, which was quite the work out, I was a little dubious. To my surprise it was quite simple and much easier to master than its wave-loving big brother. Plus, the water is calm here with no rip curls to knock you off your feet. I was a little wobbly to start, but once on the open water I was feeling confident and my instructor and I headed out towards the mountains in the distance.
A Lake District work out
After just a few minutes balanced on the over-sized surfboard I really felt my core strengthening as I paddled from side to side. The urge is to lean forward using your arms to push you along but the technique is to keep bolt upright and use your core to keep you moving, stay on your feet and to avoid falling into the water. I loved it and could have kept going all morning but there were so many other things to try on the lake so after an hour I headed back to the hire shop to grab a kayak. Windermere Kayak offers kayak tours around Windermere on the water. With its open seascape and tumbling mountains framing the water on both sides, it was the best way to see the famous lake. What’s more, the hire shop is perfectly situated with direct access to the water meaning you can just turn up, grab your life jacket and set sail.
Reaching the peak
Back on dry land, I slipped out of my wetsuit, donned my cycling gear and adopted a very stylish mountain bike. Just a short ferry ride to the other side of the lake is a terrain sure to thrill any keen off-road biker but tame enough to make sure beginners can have a go. I pedalled furiously to the top of a hill, the river to my right and bellowing pines overlooking the path to my left. As I reached the top, my prize was a spectacular view of some of the highest pikes in the district, reflecting on the water – a wonderful moment, made complete with a celebratory cup of tea at Wray Castle. After an action filled day I’d earned a relaxing evening easing my tired muscles in the spa back at the Brimstone Hotel.
The next day started off a little more relaxed and I took a drive along the winding lanes that weave through the hills, marvelling at the peaceful towns, historic houses and buildings made from local slate and stone. I couldn’t leave the Lake District without at least one scramble! For those who have never tried it – a scramble is a method of ascending rocky faces and mountain ridges. Scrambling lies somewhere between hiking and rock climbing – think hillwalking but you have to occasionally use your hands to help you… Two vertical miles later I had reached the peak, and a spectacular view of Cumbria. On the way down for a pint in the local walker’s pub, I was met by grazing sheep and ducks floating on a small river.
The beautiful Lakeland countryside is the ideal place to relax but I was pleased to find out it can be explored by bike, boat or foot. There is something for everyone here and the surrounding beauty is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. However you choose to enjoy the lakes, the idyllic setting has a wealth of activities available making it the ideal place to spend a weekend.
It’s all in the details…
Bike and boat hire: Adult front Suspension bike full day £20, Tandem sit-on-top kayak three hours £25, full day £40: windermerecanoekayak.com
Flora stayed at Brimstone at The Langdale. Rooms start from £250 per night: brimstonehotel.co.uk
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