Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coniston and its Old Man

On Sunday it was my birthday and what better way to celebrate than by hiking the Old Man of Coniston ?
But first we decided to explore the Coniston Water pier and the nearby Brantwood manor, the home of John Ruskin (i'm ashamed to admit I'd never heard of John Ruskin before, but he was a man of many talents).

:: at the Coniston pier
:: view from the gardens of Brantwood
:: Brantwood manor
:: a very lovely quilt
We then returned home for a quick lunch and someone had to take a nap ...
Around 2 PM we finally decided to start our hike up to the Old Man of Coniston. The are several routes up to the summit, but the one we took was this one.

Hike: old Man of Coniston
Distance: 12.4 km
Ascent: 985 m
Time: 5.5 hours

I think it took us about 3.5 hours to go up and 2 hours to come down. We got lost for a while after reaching Dow Crag and missed the path to the right that would take us to the summit, but it was not difficult to get back on track. We were lucky that the weather was nice and the visibility was good, but when we reached the summit it was already getting a little foggy.
:: Goats Water
:: peanut butter sandwich break
:: view of Goats Water climbing up towards Dow Crag
:: yay, we reached the summit !
:: the most amazing views of Coniston and the surrounding lakes
:: the old copper mines

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


:: view from our bedroom window in the morning
:: the cottage from the outside
This day was a total disaster. We were on our way to the west part of the lakes (towards Devoke Water and Muncaster) when we had a flat tire about 10 km from Coniston (on the road to Broughton in Furness), literally in the middle of nowhere but a few sheep to keep us company.
The rental car agency (Sixt) took a long time to solve the issue, and only 4 hours later did we manage to have our car towed into Workington (which was about an hour and a half from where we were)
I was almost 5 PM when we finally got everything fixed, and in order to make something out of such a dreadful day we decided to visit Keswick on our way down to Coniston.
Keswick is a lovely little town, it can be a bit crowded during the day but at the end of the afternoon it was just peaceful enough for us to enjoy it.
:: filled with delicious little team rooms and coffee shops (but beware, most close at 5 PM)
:: we were still able to grab a pot of tea, some cake and toast here...

And on our drive down we had some of the most amazing views from the road ...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Coniston, Ambleside, Grasmere

When looking for a place to stay in the Lake District I was really confused about which would be the best place to stay. Everyone seemed to agree that Windermere, Bowness and Ambleside (the main villages in the central lakes) were usually too crowded and much too touristy. I saw recommendations for Keswick, but it seemed a bit far north from where we wanted to be. In the end, I chose a cottage in the village of Coniston, which most people suggested was not too busy, but had the necessary amenities (meaning a good pub and a reasonable supermarket) . I used this agency, and was very happy with their service. The cottage - Three Springs - was as cosy as pictured on their website, and provided all we needed for our stay with a 2-year toddler.
We particularly enjoyed the welcome tray, the rustic cottage kitchen, and the nice views from the living room and upstairs main bedroom (from where we could see rabbits in the garden every morning)

Speaking of rabbits, our first stop was the Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness. We were waiting for a friend to join us, and thought S. would probably enjoy this while we waited.  We particularly found this notice amusing ...
:: Sara mesmerized by Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle
:: having lunch at Lucy's (Ambleside). Very nice food, highly recommended.

:: Sarah Nelson's famous gingerbread
:: in the Wordsworth garden behind the church at Grasmere

:: Grasmere
:: at Baldry's tearoom (Grasmere). The bottom plaque is particularly true
:: tea and orange drizzle cake
  :: views from Grasmere

:: dinner at the Black Bull Inn in Coniston. Good food, reasonably priced and fantastic beer (according to A.)