Because of Mum's care arrangements, we weren't sure we'd get away until the last moment. A massive 'thank you' to Community Care at East Lothian Council for making sure Mum was safe so we could get a break and to my sister for coming down so we could get everything ready to go.
I was so excited about the trip. My twitter friend @runninglady2 is a fan of the Lakes and introduced me to Chris @NTGrasmereinfo so the week before they really helped build up the excitement and anticipation of the week to come.
We rented a cottage from Lake Lovers and what a cracker it was. Cosy, clean, quiet, well equipped, a real home from home. I sent Chris and Denise a tweet to say we'd arrived and then promptly lost reception! One more tweet might have saved us from the one let down of the week - dinner at The Lamb Inn at the Red Lion, Grasmere. A sticky table and a very dry and disappointing cumberland sausage. A shame as the pub was cosy and the staff really friendly, but it was the only duff meal we had.
The next morning we awoke refreshed - worry-free sleep is a luxury I will never take for granted. After porridge we set off. A beautiful, sunny and warm morning. Our first walk was a circuit round Elterwater to break in my walking legs. It's been quite a while since I went walking like this and it was very strange to walk and not run.
Since I've started running, my walking pace has speeded up. My legs are impatient and it takes me a while to get used to the slower pace. But it's also mental. I realised that now I think about speed and distance diferently. My head cannot understand why a 6 mile walk takes hours! Running is so efficient, you can get from A to B so much quicker and still see everything you need to see. What is the point of walking, it's sooo s-l-o-w.....
It was very lovely walk, despite my inner walker and my inner runner having a bit of a punch up! They were however reconciled at the Eltmere Inn where we and other walkers, cyclists and assorted dogs enjoyed the fruit scones of our labours. A quick pint at the delightful Badger Bar at Rydal on the way back completed a good first day.
Sunday was misty and damp, but the clouds were due to lift later, so we stocked up on the papers before heading off for brunch at Greens in Grasmere (no website but see them on tripadvisor). A real treat there - a very yummy and very large bowl of homemade veg soup with homemade bread - a great start for a walk up to Easedale Tarn.
As we climbed the slopes, my walking legs began to switch on, and as my quads began to work, my mental turmoil eased. It's not that I don't like walking, it's just that I really love to work those quads, and going up hill was doing that. I stopped thinking about running and walking and just enjoyed the feel of my legs working. A lovely walk back down through woodland, accompanied by the adorable Herdswick sheep and off for a swim at the Wordsworth Hotel before tea.
Monday was a gorgeous day, clear, bright, warm. We did a great walk from our cottage in Grasmere to Ambleside via Loughrigg Fell and back via Rydal along the magical 'coffin road'; and through Rydal Hall with its gorgeous gardens and waterfall and past Rydal Cave an old quarry working. The usual quad stretching scramble up and the knee jerking descent, but some fantastic views and we stopped for lunch at Dodds in Ambleside for fabulous home made bacon and lentil soup and fresh ciabatta. (The food and service were so good we went back for dinner the next night. The pizza did not disappoint.)
Pudding was an ice cream from Joseph's ice cream van near the WhiteMoss car park which fuelled us up the hill and back into Grasmere via Dove Cottage. Today's post walk swim reduced to a dook in the jacuzzi due to the large number of small and noisy people in the pool.
Tuesday was an early rise to make the most of the good weather and we had a long steep climb up to Alcock Tarn that towered over our cottage with fanstastic views across the lakes. We couldn't resist shopping for new walking and running gear - an ideal fill in until we went to see the Ambleside Players perform 'The Weekend' by Michael Palin. There's nothing quite like amateur productions is there.
Too soon it was our last day. We packed, tidied the cottage and headed off. We popped in for a final batch of Grasmere gingerbread. It is unbelievably delicious, even to me who considers gingernuts as unfit for human consumption. And then to meet the lovely Chris at the Grasmere NT Office across the road. We got even more ideas of things to do in and around Grasmere next time we're down. Maybe even to do the Grasmere Gallop next June.
Down for lunch, a final visit to Booths to stock up on their amazing range of quality local food and drink and then back north.
It was a truly wonderful holiday, and we made every moment count. The weather was great, and we spent a lot of time walking in shirt sleeves in late October (spot the Scots! Most walkers were a bit more clad than us!). It was very different to walking in Scotland - not just the weather, the walks were much shorter so we had time to potter about so days felt long and luxurious. Even though it can be busy, we found many places and times when we were totally alone, it was like we had the walk to ourselves. So many great walks and magical places, and even more to look forward to next time.
I hope you feel you've had a bit of a holiday reading it. Once I got used to walking again, I really enjoyed it. It is good to have time to look around and there's no way I could have run up those hills anyway. I'll leave that to @pyllon; @runner786 and @dingdongrun!
Back to work tomorrow, the holiday is nearly over. Looking forward to my next trip to the Lakes already and really wondering if I've forgotten how to run.....