The Lake District: Sample Itinerary
Such as wish to unbend the mind from anxious cares, or fatiguing studies, will meet with agreeable relaxation in making the tour of the lakes.
--Thomas West, A Guide to the Lakes, 1780
WHAT TO BRING: Walking/hiking boots or shoes (or your most comfortable and sturdy shoes if you don't have walking gear. RAIN GEAR--just in case. Take some warm sweaters or jackets --we will be further north AND in the mountains. Bring sunscreen.
The Ambleside Youth Hostel (at Waterhead, 1 mile south of Ambleside. Phone: 015394 32304) is 4 miles from the train station. It may be the case that a shuttle bus from the youth hostel will be there to pick you up and take you to the hostel. I won't know until closer to April 14. If it is not available to pick you up, then either take a taxi (it is cheaper than the bus if you can fit 4 people in) or take the bus. Taxis usually are available at the train station to meet trains. If there are none there, call Ambleside Lake Taxis at 0800 7317612. There are two Stagecoach Cumberland buses that stop at the train station and have a stop near the youth hostel (ask for the Waterhead stop-tell the driver you are going to the Ambleside Youth Hostel): the 555 and the 599. They run every 20 minutes.
If you want to do some serious walking, buy some detailed maps of the Lake District--the Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure series (#4,5,6,7 for the Lake District area) is best. These maps are detailed enough to show footpaths. Share these maps (and the expense of purchasing them) with friends. Maps are essential if you plan to hike. DO NOT WALK ALONE. Make sure that you plan walking trips with several people. And if you do plan a walk, leave your itinerary with the youth hostel or with me. This is essential, as the weather is extremely changeable (even more so than in the rest of England), and if you get lost or caught in bad weather, a search party will need to know your general whereabouts. Check the weather forecast before you set out. The youth hostel will have some information (also see phone number below). Set out prepared! You might also consider purchasing a compass.
For the youth hostel: BRING YOUR OWN TOWEL (bed linens are provided).
What is covered: accommodation at the youth hostel, coach ride, museums and other places that we visit as a group (Bront ë Parsonage Museum, Dove Cottage/Wordsworth Museum, steam yacht gondola on Coniston water, Chatsworth.)
What is not covered: places that you visit on your own.
PLACES TO EAT NEAR OR IN AMBLESIDE:
Sheila's Cottage (down a passage off Lake Road, opposite Gate's Travel) Coffee and cakes
The Old Smithy (The Slack, off Market Place, at the Queen's Hotel). Good fish and chips.
Zeffirellis (Compston Road) wholefood pizza
Ambles Bistro (Lake Road)
The Golden Rule Pub (on Smithy Brow, by Stock Ghyll)
PLACES TO VISIT/THINGS TO DO
We have a few scheduled trips while in the Lake District, but mostly you are on your own. If you want to have use of the coach, then plan ahead and organize a trip to the head of a trail, to a lake, to a museum, etc. Then just arrange with the driver to take you there. There are various steamboats available for tours of Lake Windermere (11 miles long). Inquire at the tourist office in Ambleside for prices and times. Some leave from Waterhead (where the youth hostel is located).
7:45 a.m.--Coach arrives at Queen's Building car park. We will leave at 8:00 a.m. Make sure that you arrive on time. If you have a tendency to sleep through clock and other alarms, make sure that someone wakes you and escorts you to the coach.
The usual number of rest stops along the way, no doubt.
Around 3:00p.m. We will arrive in Haworth, West Yorkshire. Walk around a bit. We are scheduled to take a group tour of the Bront ë Parsonage Museum at 3:30.
We will have a bit of time to tour around the West Yorkshire moors before arriving in Ambleside in the evening for a fashionably late dinner. You may want to pack some food (and water) for the coach trip.
9:30 a.m.-- Meet at youth hostel coach park for bus ride up to Castlerigg Stone Circle (even better than Stonehenge), up Sciddaw, along Ullswater, Aira Force, and Kirkstone Pass. This will take 3-4 hours (but will give you a sense of the Lake District geography and how to orient yourself). Then you will be dropped off in Grasmere, where you can visit Dove Cottage/Wordsworth Museum (open daily 9:30 -5:00), explore Grasmere, walk to Rydal Mount (Wordsworth's later home, open daily 9:30-5:00). See Walking Tour #7 (5 ½ miles--about 3 hours). This includes a walk to Loughrigg Terrace, one of Dorothy Wordsworth's favorite walks. Rydal is 1 ½ miles north of Ambleside. Grasmere is 3 miles north. There are buses that you can take back from Grasmere.
You are on your own.
Professors Carson and Laycock will probably try walk #10 (7 miles) up in Borrowdale. You are welcome to join us. If we all wanted to go on this walk we could take the coach to the head of the trail, take the walk (about 3 ½ hours), then take a coach tour to visit Buttermere.
9:30 a.m.--Meet at youth hostel coach park for ride to Wast Water and various mountain passes (about 2 hours) and then to Coniston, where we will take a ride on the National Trust-operated Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water. This hour-long trip stops at Brantwood, home of John Ruskin (open daily 11-5:30).
This might be a good afternoon to visit various Beatrix Potter shrines in the Coniston area (for those of you who want to revisit your youth): in Hawkshead (Beatrix Potter Gallery on Main Street); in Near Sawry (Hill Top, the home of Beatrix Potter, open daily (except Thursday and Friday) 11-4:30. Always crowded. In Bowness (south of Windermere, but actually part of Windermere): The World of Beatrix Potter (10:00-6:30 daily). To get to Bowness, you can take the ferry across Lake Windermere. You could arrange for the coach driver to take you around to these various places (following car tour #7).
OR you could take a walk with me and Jim to the Langdale pikes (Walk #17--8 miles, about 4 hours). We can have the coach driver drop us off at the head of the trail (in Dungeon Ghyll) or we can catch a bus from Coniston to Ambleside to Dungeon Ghyll.
OR you could find something else to do.
Return to Exeter via the Peak District. Coach leaves at 9:00 a.m. from youth hostel.
We will stop at Chatsworth House and have a walk through the house and gardens.
We will arrive back in Exeter early evening.