So on Tuesday May 15th I found myself in a full 12 passenger van with a driver named Tony heading to the western part of the Lake District National Park in the North West of England. I had originally booked it for Sunday but it was canceled due to a bike event in the park which cut off several major roads - luckily I was able to rebook it for Tuesday as the tour doesn't run every day. I would have been devastated to have missed this beauty of a tour!
First stop was Elterwater, a pretty little village in the Great Langdale Valley. It was such a sweet little place and I would love to revisit at my leisure. I was the last one to be picked up so we had only been in the van less than an hour. However my bladder is always happy to visit a loo. We only had time to tend to that and take some quick pictures of the village before heading out again. Elterwater can be reached by infrequent public transport but I have decided that I will make an effort to visit the next time I am in the Lake District. and do some walking around the area and visit the interesting looking pub. More and more these days I am into slow travel and moseying around a place for a few hours suits me just fine.
Definitely have to come back for lunch in that pub!
A few minutes later we drove over the Hardnott Pass and stopped at the top for photos.
Google Hardnott Pass on You Tube and you will see what it's like. One of the bad things about being last on the van was getting the last seat which meant no window seat to be able to get good videos.
After the downhill twists and turns we drove into the village of Boot where we went into the pub for lunch.
Then it was time to get the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway. It was a tiny train - more like a children's train. A few of us decided to stretch our legs and walk down the road to the train station at Dalegarth.
We had the option of eating at the railway station and I think most of us had the same reaction..."ewwww" but the food that I saw looked lovely and I would eat there next time. Because yes, there will be a next time.
This was taken at the railway station looking back towards Boot - the white building is the pub we had lunch at so it wasn't a long walk at all.
It is funny as I could not recall taking the train on my last time here nor actually visiting the gardens of Muncaster Castle so pulled out my photo album and yes I did. Scary. I will blame the forgetfulness on just having done so much my brain is overloaded - yeah, that sounds good. Just keep telling yourself that Laurie.
Choo! Choo! It was fun. Unfortunately, our group got there last and others had snagged all the open seats - boo! Oh well I was in an open seat last time judging from my photos - even though I can't remember it!
We got off at Irton Road where our van and driver were waiting for us. Off we headed to Wastwater which at 258 feet is the deepest of all the lakes. It is surrounded by mountains including Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain. This remote lake was once selected as Britain's most beautiful view. It is gorgeous and being as it's just that much harder to get to than the rest of the lakes is pretty quiet as well.
The Birds of Prey show was really good - not as good as the one at Dunrobin Castle but I still really enjoyed it.
One sad thing I did learn was that the hooded vulture pictured just above is critically endangered. Okay, they may not be the prettiest creatures on the planet but they serve a function as the garbage collectors of the natural world. When the predators are done they swoop in and eat what is left. We have all seen the movies where vultures are circling above a fresh kill. This is what is putting them on the endangered list. Once the despicable poachers have killed a elephant, or rhino of course the vultures start circling. This alerts conservation officers there is a fresh kill and they head in that direction immediately if they know there are vulnerable animals in the vicinity. So now the poachers lace the insides of the corpse with poison not only killing off the vultures but any other animal that eats the carcass.
Before too long I was being dropped off at the bus stop in Ambleside (a handy block from my Bed and Breakfast) - I was last picked up and first dropped off.
What a beautiful day!!!