Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Make More of the Lakes; Escape ... to the Lake District

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Make More of the Lakes; Escape ... to the Lake District

Article excerpt

Byline: By DARREN KELSO

I'VE enjoyed many a trip to the Lake District, every time being happily reminded of its beautiful combination of majestic mountains and wonderful waters, with picturebook villages offering warm welcomes.

But almost all of my visits have been day trips, with well-worn routes through Keswick, Windermere and Kendal and points in between . . . including the obligatory stop at Grasmere, if just for the traditional gingerbread.

So when the chance came to spend a weekend in a quaint cottage in Coniston, I jumped at it. Not only would I be visiting the village for the first time, but it would open up other areas of the Lakes to me.

After a pleasurable trip in bright autumn sunshine up Kirkstone Pass and through delightful Ambleside, we arrived in Coniston in time to enjoy an early evening walk through the village.

This busy Saturday evening saw plenty of people wandering the streets or supping Lakeland ales in the beer gardens of the pretty pubs. But it was the view above and beyond the village which caught our eye.

Coniston is nestled at the foot of the Old Man, one of the most popular Lakeland peaks and a big draw for walkers. It provides a dramatic backdrop, especially when shrouded in low cloud as it was that first night.

After all the driving and an early start to pack the mountain of equipment every eight-month-old needs for a weekend away, we opted for a low-key takeaway and a bottle of wine inside our cosy cottage, just a short walk from the centre of the village.

We could have cooked a meal in the well-equipped kitchen, as the modern interior of the cottage proved a sharp yet welcome contrast to the rustic appearance of the outside.

Part of a row of four 100-year-old cottages, varying in size, our home from home - the smallest of the four - boasted two double bedrooms, (one with a four-poster bed), a colour TV and DVD, and a log fire.

The next morning provided a sharp but unwelcome contrast to the previous day's blue skies. Undeterred, we walked down the hill to a choppy Coniston Water.

The changeable weather saw the mountains at once dappled in sunlight and wreathed in low cloud, but evidence of the night's rain was clear in the waterfalls cascading down the slopes, causing the river to rush through the village down to Coniston Water. …

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