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February article

Jueves, 1 de Febrero de 2018

The Lake District: an unmissable place to visit in the UK

From its mystical mountain tops, glistening lakes and grandest views, the Lake District has some of Britain’s finest scenery, greenest countryside and jaw-dropping beauty. I visited last summer with my siblings and mum as part of her quest to climb the “three peaks” of the UK before the end of 2017. The Lake District is the largest national park in England and home to Scafell Pike, England's tallest mountain and the one we were driving up from Oxford mid-August to conquer!

We were warned about the notoriously unpredictable weather, but showers and racing clouds only emphasised the grandeur of the magnificent scenery and my mum in particular was in her element. We stayed in a small, very basic cottage at the foot of Scafell and not only was there no wifi, we had no signal for phone calls, texts or mobile internet! After the initial shock that we’d be totally off the radar for a few days and realising nowhere you stood in the cottage would change this, we had the most enjoyable, albeit different, summer trip.

The day before the big climb we decided to go for a walk and explore the surrounding area around Scafell before tackling its 978 metres of altitude and the all day hike ahead of us. I personally had been drinking far too many Estrellas and using the Spanish heat of summer as an excuse for not training much prior to August, so even a last minute day’s walking was better than nothing! Everywhere you turn in the Lake District is pure, natural beauty and it is simply stunning - little bridges, waterfalls, streams, paths, wildlife plus the lakes themselves. If you are looking for unspoilt England this is the place to visit. The air is so clean you feel it cleansing both your pores and mind and there is a peace and serenity to being so far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The evening before our big day was spent “carb loading” or in our amateur cases stuffing our faces with all the bread and pasta on the advice that we’d need all the energy we could get to reach the summit. An early night and breakfast later we were all layered up in walking clothes, boots and of course waterproofs. It’s a miracle if there isn’t some sort of rain in this part of the country so we weren’t too disappointed with the intermittent light showers - plus it just added to the adventure we were about to embark on.

It was quite a way up Scafell when I realised quite how far we’d walked -  everywhere you turn is just so beautiful that it really does distract you from the trek itself. Plus if you do feel you need to take a minute or two to catch your breath you can sit for a moment and inhale the magnificent views that surround you. As we got closer to the summit it became quite misty which reduced our visibility but almost felt as if we were walking in the clouds - quite a magical feeling and definitely worth the 6am alarm!

Reaching the summit was really special and you could see this sense of achievement on everyone else’s faces at making it to the top. Plus in true British style this also meant one thing - a picnic! My dear mum had prepared (and carried 978 metres!) a spread of sandwiches which believe me, after walking that far tasted like the best sandwiches you’d ever had! After lunch and a few selfies later we started the descent where we got to enjoy all the stunning views all over again. Very tactically positioned at the bottom of the mountain there is an old English inn where it seemed everyone we’d met that day walking had the same idea of enjoying a hard earnt pint of local ale and hot bowl of cheesy chips.

If you don’t mind leaving the scorching summer sun of Spain or fancy something more active this summer, I’d highly recommend visiting the Lake District. I’m sure it’ll be somewhere you won’t just visit the once either.