Lake Windermere – Lake District National Park
“Are we there yet?” pleads my three-year-old son from the rear of the car. I’ve returned to the Lake District for the first time since my school trip to Patterdale, back in the early eighties. I’m curious as to what I can recall of the place after all these years, however, the sands of time and copious quantities of alcohol play havoc with the old grey matter. I’ve already decided our next appointment with the lakes will be headquartered at Windermere, hub of the region. As a base it’s ideally positioned for excursions to all of Lake District National Park, as well as a noble locale to explore itself. We’re stationed at the Flookburgh caravan park in the southern region of the Lake District, and though pleasant, the daily half-hour drive to Windermere grows slightly tedious.
We park almost a mile short of the main town to explore the enchanting Bowness-on-Windermere. Boats for hire are aplenty, and though tempting, my stomach is demanding lunch. Central to life here, the local bar-restaurant protrudes beyond the riverbank and affords magnificent views from the upper landing while we consume lunch. The upper seating area is built directly above lakeside and gives the sensation of being as one with the water. The panorama retains you seated long after lunch is finished as the lake extends through the mist and towards the mountains spanning the horizon.
Meriting a visit is Ambleside, an attractive, petite village off the north shore of Lake Windermere. Choice route is by boat, a wonderfully scenic journey of about thirty minutes from the shores of Bowness-on-Windermere. Snow-capped mountains span the horizon and towering trees stand as sentinels, flanking either side of the lake, forging an atmosphere far removed from nearby town life. Whilst birds swoop overhead, seeking food scraps from passengers, fish twist and turn through relatively pollution free currents. Small pockets of people scatter themselves along the riverbanks, consuming lunch and absorbing the relaxed ambience as the day idles by. Life is lived at a different pace here, something I envy greatly, having grown up in a large city. Even the wildlife seems more laid back, enjoying a more tranquil alliance beside humanity, away from the hustle and bustle of loud, frantic cities.