I don't think I've done anything adventurous in England before, so I was really looking forward to J's annual family holiday in the Lake District. And when I say holiday, I mean the most relaxing holiday I've had for as long as I can remember( but New Zealand doesn't count). No pressures. No dramas. Simply stress-free.
J and I drove from Newcastle to Langdale where we stayed for five days. The drive was easy and picturesque - kind of like New Zealand really, only on a smaller scale.
On our first day, we went on a hike to Helm Crag. We ascended from Grasmere and although the mountain didn't look that high, it was very prominent that you could see it from the village. The majority of the climb was easy to moderate in my opinion. It only got challenging towards the summit.
The views from start to finish were astonishing. So much greenery. I honestly didn't expect this.
After confidently climbing up three quarters of the mountain, I suddenly panicked when I realised that the only way to the summit was through a rather steep, rocky ridge. I had no choice as going back down on the same path looked more dangerous than actually climbing up. So I carried on, crawling. Literally.
My confidence drifted away as I held on each rock as firmly as I could hoping not to slip. Suddenly, J was behind me reassuring me that I was going to be fine.
I was very relieved indeed when I finally reach " The Lion and the Lamb" because I thought it was the summit.
It turned out that we still had a few metres to climb before we could reach "the old woman playing organ". There were a few brave young souls climbing up to the top. As much as I admired them, I almost died when J attempted to climb up and slipped (slightly). I pulled him and begged him to go down.
Lunch was served (fresh from our backpacks) afterwards with this amazing view:
On our way down, we walked through the valley. The consistently beautiful views were very rewarding. It probably took us at least 2 and a half hours to go up and down the mountain, with some photography lessons in between. Personally, I think that this Helm Crag climbing experience is ideal for a Lake District first-timer like me.
The following day, it rained so we stayed in. Apparently, a holiday in the Lake District is not complete without rain so it was good to have experienced it. In the evening, we had a very nice family dinner at the Stove Restaurant and Bar located within the Langdale Hotel and Spa. It was indeed a very chilled-out day.
The day after, we drove to a a cafe in Ambleside. J's niece calls it "the cake shop". It's a beautiful cafe by the river with an equally beautiful little shop attached to it. Their coffee was good and so was their rocky road brownie.
The rest of the family drove back to the lodge after coffee while J and I decided to walk. The weather wasn't particularly great as it was raining and quite windy, but I must tell you that the walk was just as pleasant. Apart from the serene walk in the woods, I enjoyed crossing the overflowed river. Luckily I was wearing my ever reliable Wellington boots. That and a very good waterproof jacket are a must in the Lakes.
Our last day at the Lakes was very well spent indeed. We went for another climb, but this time on a smaller mountain (next to Silver How) as J's niece was with us. So much respect for the 5-year old because she climbed all the way up and down without being carried. I have great admiration for very young adventurers, and much respect to their parents too. And if I were to have a child, I would definitely introduce them to such adventures.
So from Langdale, we walked through an elevated path to Grasmere. The trail was not very easy, but I suppose easy enough for little people considering our little companion managed to climb without any help. However, some parts were rocky and slippery so again, a good footwear (ideally walking boots) is highly essential.
After the climb, we treated our little adventurer with an ice cream bigger than her face. It was literary huge so she had to share it with us. Bless.
Then we drove to Brantwood, a historical house overlooking Coniston lake. We also explored their beautiful hilly garden and was rewarded with amazing water views.
I honestly think that this holiday was just what I needed after a challenging return to London. I never thought that it's still possible to go on a holiday, do things and still feel genuinely relaxed afterwards. Normally, I feel like I need extra few days off to rest after a holiday.
I am definitely looking forward to more holidays like this in the future.