Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Walk on the Mild Side ; Deanna DELAMOTTA and Family Put Their Walking Boots on and Step out for a Great Break in Grasmere

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Walk on the Mild Side ; Deanna DELAMOTTA and Family Put Their Walking Boots on and Step out for a Great Break in Grasmere

Article excerpt

WHEN we arrived at the Macdonald Swan Hotel in Grasmere we wasted little time before lacing up our boots and heading out.

This was to be four-year-old Jamie's first 'proper' walk in the Lakes and we couldn't wait. The rain had stopped, the sun was out and we were ready for the off, armed with plastic-covered route in hand, provided by the hotel (you never know when the heavens are going to open again).

What's great about this hotel is that it's perfectly positioned to enable you to walk from the door. No pesky parking meters to pour pound coins into, if indeed you can find a space, no arguments caused by fruitless attempts at trying to find the start of the walk because the hotel is the start of the walk.

Described as a "terrific walk with sweeping views of Grasmere valley" the threemiler lived up to its star billing. It did involve a steep climb to Alcock Tarn but nothing our middle-aged or young legs couldn't handle.

True, Jamie did query when we would be picking up the car and he did want to stop for several picnic breaks to take advantage of the generous packed lunch the hotel had provided us with. But there were plenty of benches en route to rest his little legs and he enjoyed it nearly as much as we did, particularly the wildlife.

We're talking frogs here. I thought he'd be as enchanted by the deer as I was. But frogs and frogspawn were far more interesting in his eyes.

Three hours later, after an exhilarating trek, we were back at base camp ready to prepare ourselves for a hearty meal.

Built in 1650 as a coaching inn, and mentioned in a Wordsworth poem "The Waggoner", the Swan Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in the Lake District. It's a cosy hotel with blazing log fires in winter to warm up after exploring the wonders of Lakeland.

We enjoyed a drink in the Walkers' Bar before taking a rest in our very plush room.

Nothing humble about this - it was modern and roomy while still retaining a cosy feel - and it was warm (a big plus for me).

The bathroom was spacious and modern too with an effective high powered shower to revive the muscles.

Afterwards, we relaxed with a hearty three-course meal in the child-friendly restaurant. We were seated in an alcove that enabled us to look out and see everything going on around while Jamie got to stretch out and lie down when it took his fancy without annoying fellow diners.

By 9.30pm we were ready to retire and all of us had a great night's sleep in exceedingly comfy beds.

The following morning the heavens opened - it threw it down. But undeterred (OK, if I'm honest, Jamie was more than a little deterred) after breakfast (the full English type) we embarked on a short circular walk taking in the town, called Grasmere Village Walk (again the hotel helps you with a plastic-covered route - which really came in handy this time!) This is a very easy walk around the outskirts of the village and along the riverside footpath but after a few hundred yards of splish, splash sploshing the entertainment value had waned dramatically for Jamie. …

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