a week in the Lakes: part one

I turned eighteen on the 5th April. Days before I considered a blog post on the occasion, but I now feel it is unnecessary. Instead, let me share with you the week following my birthday: G swept me away for five days in my favourite place in the country, the Lake District.


Despite the six am start we aren’t fully underway until a little after eight, the car piled high with suitcases, walking gear and supplies for the journey. Radio One accompanies us almost the whole way, along with ‘Sheila’ the sat-nav. We joke-punch each other when yellow cars come past and scoff tangfastics like it’s our last day on Earth. We have few problems, aside from a little roundabout negotiating, and stop at Scotch Corner just ahead of my favourite part of the journey across the Pennines and into Lakeland.

Grant has never been to the Lakes, and although this is his present to me I hope that I am able to give something back in having suggested the destination a few months ago, before this trip even seemed a possibility. It is clear from his ecstatic expression at the incredible roads that I already have – even more so when I suggest he drives around a little to get used to them. We take the steep route up to our cottage for the week so we know where to go, and all of a sudden I find myself on the beautifully familiar road from Seatoller to Keswick, along the edge of my favourite lake, Derwentwater. I give G a whistlestop tour of Keswick, including the famous sweet shop, and we grab a bite to eat on a bench overlooking the lake. I point out the fells I know, including Catbells, at the foot of which stands our cottage, but the mountain Skiddaw is shrouded in cloud. Eventually it reaches four-pm and we are allowed to enter the cottage, so we drive back, turning right over the bridge I have always glanced at but never crossed, and up through the Grange and to Manesty, where we are staying.

Warmly greeted by the owners we were showed up to our beautiful cottage and left to settle in. Neither of us can believe the weather – blue sky, daffodils, the sound of bleating lambs and water wherever we were – and no rain. We are not sure how we have managed it but ‘lucky’ doesn’t cover how we feel.


the view from the kitchen

Having claimed our respective armchairs and sides of the bed, as well as deciding that I would have the entire wardrobe section of the bedroom whilst G would make do with the set of shelves (isn’t he good), G settles down on the window seat to make a shopping list whilst I briefly Skype the parents to show them around, before heading back to Keswick and eventually finding the Co-Op. Originally we had planned to just grab chips on the first night as we thought we’d be too tired after the journey, but G is already inspired and begins compiling ingredients and wine to match.


Once back, G sets about preparing our meal and I begin to take in our surroundings. We are staying in Cocklety How Byre at Manesty Holiday Cottages in Borrowdale. The most striking thing about the cottage is the natural light, as we find we have no need for the electric lights until dusk thanks an abundance of skylights and windows. The doors lead us straight into a large living room which leads directly into the kitchen to the left; to the right are the La-Z-Boy armchairs and the television, and the doorway to the beautiful bedroom complete with ensuite. Beautiful beams sit above us, and with G cooking in the kitchen and the discovery of the excellent sound-system, it already feels like somewhere we can, albeit temporarily, call ‘home’.




  1. 06/05/2014 / 11:02 pm

    You were so lucky with the weather. I toured that place extensively during the 1970’s, and it was always marked by torrential rain. The locals would always say, ‘that’s why we have the lakes’.
    The house looks lovely too. You made a good choice, and enjoyed a memorable 18th into the bargain.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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