After my peaceful (if early) start to the day I made my plans and headed off in the car. First destination was Windermere to then walk to Orrest Head, a lookout above the village. I managed to find my way there successfully and the driving was relatively easy.
From the car park my sources indicated it would be a couple of hours walking to and from the lookout so I was prepared for a hike. And although it was quite a hike up the side of the hill, it only took about 30min each way. The view was breathtaking. You could see all of (lake) Windermere which is so long I couldn't fit it into one shot.
And the views away from the lake were just as beautiful.
It was a popular spot, though I realised later that many were in a group together.
After Orrest Head, I had decided to visit Ullswater. I would have a couple of choices of activity including boat cruise and walking. I plugged in Glenridding, the town at the bottom of Ullswater, into the sat nav and blindly followed the directions. Soon I realised it was taking me on exactly the kind of narrow, bendy roads I had desperately wanted to avoid.
But there was no turning back so I decided to go for it. Luckily there wasn't much traffic which certainly reduced the stress. The road was narrow, often walled on both sides and frequently twisting and turning. Furthermore, it was climbing. I later discovered it was taking me though Kirkstone Pass which is the highest pass open to traffic in the Lake District. Not only was the road treacherous, but in the highest parts there were goats and sheep wandering across and along the road at times. It required massive amounts of concentration. It also epitomised what was hugely frustrating about driving today. I knew I was driving through breathtaking scenery, I could sense the views all around me, but I dare not take my eyes off the road for a second.
Luckily on this occassion, there was a parking stop at the top of the pass which allowed me to get some shots. The road I had driven on is the winding one in the distant middle of the picture.
After pausing to take photos I continued on and made it to Glenridding. By this time it was coming up to 1:00pm. The weather was sunny and very warm. I decided against walking and settled on a cruise on the lake instead. The next cruise was at 2:20pm so I wandered and had some lunch while I waited.
The cruise was very nice, with great scenery, but I must admit it wasn't that dissimilar to the Windermere cruise I did last year. I got a little bored towards the end.
There was a smattering of sailing going on.
Our boat was in the same style as this other one we passed.
At Howtown there were lots of children engaged in various activities. I assume it was some kind of scouting site or similar.
Near the end of the cruise we passed this guy. He was a fair way into the middle of the lake paddling along. He handled the wake from our boat expertly.
The cruise ended about 4:45pm. I decided it was time to get back to the hotel. When I punched Grasmere into the sat nav it was going to take me back through the Kirkstone Pass. There was no way I was going that. So I did some research of my own. By asking the sat nav to go via Troutbeck it picked a different route that appeared to be better, if a little longer. Of course, I wouldn't know until I started.
Turns out it was a much better route and for the most part very easy. It still required massive concentration and I was still teased by epic scenery in my peripheral vision. I'm going to plan to see some of it properly tomorrow.
As I wandered on my early morning walk I reflected on how I was feeling. Obviously, I'd love to stay in the UK longer, but I think by next week I will feel ready to return home. It feels like I have been away for much longer than 4 weeks.