Lake District

Lake District
Lake District


Showing posts with label photo diary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photo diary. Show all posts

A Wintry Walk || Mount Stewart, Co. Down

Um, so I have a bit of exciting news...(!!!) After years of desperately longing for one, this Sunday past I finally took the leap and got myself a digital SLR! I'm so beyond thrilled it's ridiculous, and despite my little Nikon Coolpix camera having served me so well this last year and a half on Alphabeth, I can't say I'm the least bit sad to see it go! *sassy wave*

For anyone who's interested, I got the Canon 700D after hearing some good reports and I'm genuinely so chuffed with it! Today was the first time I'd had the chance to use it- albeit with just my little kit lens- and it's just such a massive improvement from my Nikon, I could cry. 

Since I was off work today, on what happened to be the first clear day in weeks, my grandparents and I decided to and pay a visit to a National Trust property, Mount Stewart. We had a lovely afternoon strolling around the grounds, followed by a cup of tea and some sandwiches in the car. It was a really nice, relaxing mid-week break, even though I did keep forgetting my lens cap wasn't attached to my camera strap and kept hurling it onto the ground every time I took it off- that's a habit I'm going to have to get out of!

Hope you've all had a fantastic start to December! x

A Lake District Photo Diary || Rydal & Ambleside

Sunset at Rydal, Lake District, Cumbria.

Following on from my last Lake District Post 'A Lake District Photo Diary | Windermere & Grasmere' after finishing up in Grasmere, we hopped back on the 555 and headed to Rydal. We were planning on taking a walk around Rydal Water, one of my favourite areas in the Lake District, but before setting off we made a quick stop at a little pub called Badger Bar for a drink and a bit of a rest. It was getting to that time in the evening just before dusk, the 'golden hour' when the light is just beginning to fade and casts a beautiful golden glow over the landscape. 

A signpost at sunset at Rydal Water, Lake District, Cumbria
Rydal Water in the Lake District, Cumbria

Refreshed and refuelled, and not wanting to miss the last of the daylight, we quickly finished our drinks and headed down to the lake for a quick wander. We didn't manage to stay for too long as by this stage the sun was setting quite quickly and we had to make sure we were back at the bus stop on time.

Rydal Water in the Lake District, Cumbria
Sunset at Rydal Water in the Lake District, Cumbria

After about an hour by the water we actually had to make a proper dash for the bus which we only just caught by the skin of our teeth, and made our way back to Ambleisde where we were staying for the night. We had booked a guesthouse called Lakes Lodge, which I really can't recommend enough. It wasn't a luxury hotel by any means, but it was really clean and cosy, set amid Ambleside's tall grey slate townhouses.

One thing I really liked was that in reception they had a shelf full of about 50 DVDs and we were allowed to choose as many as we wanted to watch in the little TV in our room. 'About Time' was in there which is probably my favourite film ever so we picked that one up and ended up watching it the following morning.

Rydal in the Lake District, Cumbria
Breakfast in Bed at Lakes Lodge, Ambleside, Lake District

Once we'd left our bags and got settled in our room we set off in search of something to eat. We were both kind of feeling Italian food and we had seen that an Italian restaurant called Dodds had gotten really good reviews so that was our first port of call. You can't book a table in advance there and it was really busy so we had to wait about half an hour before we were seated. However, all-in-all it was definitely worth the wait. The food was incredible, so incredible I didn't even think to take a picture before tucking into my carbonara... But trust me, it looked as good as it tasted!

Another thing I thoroughly appreciated about Lakes Lodge was the fact that we had a huge choice of breakfast which was included in the price of the room and then for an extra £5 you could have it brought up to your room which we decided to do, and it was genuinely amazing.

Bridge House, Ambleside, Lake District, Cumbria
Ambleside in the Lake District, Cumbria
Reading on the bus home

Since we'd had quite a busy day the day before, we decided to take it easy and spend the day around Ambleside. We basically just pottered around the shops and stopped at a cafe for quite a large lunch. I ate soooo much the whole week I was in England, I'd missed British food so much! We also had a quick peek into Ambleside's Bridge House- if you've ever been there you'll know that a quick peek is all it really takes! Bridge House has become kind of an iconic symbol of Ambleside. It's a tiny house built over a bridge made up of just one very small room upstairs and another one downstairs. It's owned and maintained by the National Trust, and is one of their smallest properties. While we were there the National Trust guide was telling us all about its many uses over the years, and it once actually housed a family of eight, which is absolutely crazy!!

Just before we caught the bus back home we called into another bookshop to pick up some "provisions" for the journey home. Carlo bought himself a copy of 'Moby Dick' and I bought 'Cider with Rosie' by Laurie Lee. I'v nearly finished it and I've adored every second, it's definitely going onto my ever-growing list of my all time favourite books! I was really sad to have to leave the Lake District, I can't wait until I'm finally back in the area again!

A Lake District Photo Diary | Windermere & Grasmere

Apparently I've taken a bit of another unintentional blogging break- whoooops. It only just occurred to me today that it's now the middle of October and I still haven't posted anything this month; not ideal! However, I'm back now with lots of (hopefully consistent) updates to share over the coming weeks. I might even try that thing they call "scheduling posts", that would be a first.

I've been getting the year abroad blues pretty badly recently. It may be something I'll go into more detail about at a later stage but at the moment it just sucks being so far away from everything I know. I never would have called myself a homebird before, but these last few months in Spain have been a very real challenge for me for all sorts of reasons. I miss absolutely everything about the UK: the people, of course, but also the food, the landscape, and just its general familiarity. 

A couple of weeks ago the yearning for home got a bit too much for me and I ended up booking some cheap flights and jetting back to Lancaster for a bit of a refuel. It was a brief visit, but a completely blissful one. It's crazy how much you appreciate the banalities of your normal everyday after you've been away from it for a while.

While I was in Bilbao I had been dreaming of a weekend in the Lake District, so Carlo and I planned a little trip there during my visit. We turned out to have great weather, even at the end of September/beginning of October, and it really was just exactly what I needed.

We set off for the Lakes early, though not quite early enough since we missed the bus we were supposed to get; but as is life. We just ended up getting the train instead and arrived in Windermere around midday. We hadn't really planned our trip too much apart from having booked a guesthouse in Ambleside for the night, so we decided to stay in Windermere for a little while and have some lunch. According to Trip Advisor one of the best places to eat was a place called Brambles Tea Rooms so we gave it a go and I definitely think it deserves a mention here because the staff were really lovely and the food was delicious! I'll surely be back again next time I'm in the area.

After our quick pit stop in Windermere we caught the 555 bus to Grasmere. The 555 service runs from Lancaster all the way to Keswick and stops at Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside, Rydal and Grasmere. You can get a day pass for around £10 or just over which allows you to hop on and off anywhere on that route. It's a really scenic journey and a really good deal if you don't have a car to get around the Lakes with.

Grasmere is my absolute favourite Lake District village out of the ones I know well enough. It's so beautiful and quaint and is full of lots of lovely shops and cafes as well as quite a few places of historical interest. The poet, William Wordsworth lived in the town for fourteen years and is buried there in the churchyard of St. Oswald's church. Grasmere is also home to the famous Grasmere Gingerbread Shop which sells gingerbread baked according to a special recipe invented by Sarah Nelson who began selling the gingerbread from her cottage home in 1854, where the shop is still located today.

Outside the Gingerbread Shop there's a spoon garden. It's a bit random, but definitely not in a bad way, in fact it really brightens up the shop's front. Visitors are invited to send the shop a wooden spoon they have decorated to be put in the garden, and each month a winner is chosen out of the newly planted spoons to receive a gingerbread mini hamper! It's a quirky idea but one I very much appreciate.

The Wordsworth graves, those of William himself, his wife, their children, and his sister are right beside the Gingerbread Shop and I always visit when I'm in Grasmere, out of fascination as much as the fact that they're set in such a peaceful location.

The graves look onto Grasmere's Daffodil Garden which sits over the river Rothay and was planted in ode to the poet. It's meant to be a visual representation of his poem 'Daffodils' ('I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud') and in springtime hundreds of daffodils bloom here. Unfortunately it was the wrong time of year for us this time!

While the garden was being constructed visitors were able to buy a paving slab with their name and home town or region inscribed on it to be placed in the garden. Carlo and I spent a while looking through them to see if we recognised any of the places. I found quite a few from Northern Ireland!

At the garden's edge there's a stone slab bearing the poem's final verse:

"For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."

We spent the rest of our time in Grasmere wandering around the shops, including a bookshop where I went a bit overboard on purchases. In fairness, it was the first English bookshop I'd been in for a long time!

After Grasmere we headed on to Rydal, though this post has gotten a bit on the long side so I think I'm going to have to post a second instalment later this week.

Have you ever been to the Lake District? What's your favourite place there?

North Coast Road Trip | Ireland

I'm currently writing this from my room in Spain and thus bring you another throwback post to around two weeks ago when my housemate, Carlo from uni came to visit me at home. At the time, with my departure to Spain looming and any excuse to explore some of the fairer corners of my tiny homeland being good enough for me, we decided to spend some time on the Irish coast.

I believe I've mentioned this before but my aunt and uncle own a holiday home on the Causeway Coast, an area which makes up the majority of Ireland's northern coastline, stretching some 130 miles. It's considered by many to be amongst the most scenic areas in Northern Ireland and thanks to the National Trust, many of its landmarks and beaches are kept in pristine condition. It's along here that you'll find the Giants Causeway, the area's namesake, as well as a vast number of Game of Thrones filming locations which Carlo was quite keen to see. So, with my aunt and uncle very kindly allowing us to use their house as a base, we decided to spend a few days exploring.

As it turned out, all of these photos were taken on our very last day, in a frantic attempt to squeeze in everything we still needed to see! Thankfully we did manage to fit in quite a lot in just a few hours.

Our first stop was Dunluce Castle, a striking 16th century fortress that sits atop a basalt outcropping, giving the appearance of it rising out of the sea. It had been a long time since I'd been inside the ruins so we decided to go in for a closer look.

There are plenty of nooks, turrets and secret hideaways to explore around the castle, not to mention some dramatic views over the castle walls of the cliffs and sea surrounding it, all of this, as well as some of the features that remain across the castle's sweeping expanse, such as window frames and alcoves are a reminder of its former glory. 

I actually found a really interesting article by the Belfast Telegraph containing '50 things you probably never knew about Dunluce Castle', if you'd like to hear more about the castle's fascinating history. There were plenty of things on there that I'd never heard before!

Our next destination was supposed to be Balintoy Harbour- better known perhaps as the Iron Islands and Pyke, home of House Greyjoy, to Game of Thrones fans- but decided to make an impromptu pit stop at White Park Bay, one of my favourite north coast beaches.

I was adamant that there were caves somewhere along this beach because I'd remembered exploring them when I was younger, so the first thing we did was to set off across the rocks to find them. To no avail, though, as it turned out. The tide was starting to come in at this point so the top end of the beach where I thought the caves were had been made inaccessible. All was not lost though, since the beach is still beautiful, even in its absence of caves.

For some reason I can't find any photos of Ballintoy though I did take some, so unfortunately we'll just have to move swiftly on to the last leg of our journey, a stop at the Dark Hedges in Armoy, a long pathway lined on either side with intertwining beech trees, which once featured as the Kingsroad in Game of Thrones.

Apparently it's the most photographed natural phenomenon in Northern Ireland which is surprising since surely the Giant's Causeway would be the most photographed natural phenomenon? In any case, it really is a sight to behold and photos really don't do it justice. We made it there in the last hour or so of daylight so the light was absolutely stunning. It's one of my favourite places on the north coast for sure.
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