We had been invited to stay in a B&B in Keswick with friends, as part of the 70th birthday celebrations of one of the ladies. Her choice of B&B, Appletrees, was taken on the unusual selection criteria of being where a particular author and blogger stays, see Wendy Mitchell’s blog at Which Me Am I Today?
I was looking forward to the days away for multiple reasons – I have never been to the Lakes, I could go walking, and this would be the longest journey in my electric car, so I would need to charge somewhere (excitement).
We set off with a fully charged battery. On the way to Keswick, we were all meeting up at The Midland Hotel in Morecambe for an early afternoon tea. This could be done with 1% remaining in the vehicle, but there was a BP Polar rapid charging station just off the motorway at Morecambe with several chargers. I could also get free electricity (donated by Polestar as a thank-you for being an early adopter of their car). Still 1%, and R’s range anxiety would kick in big time. So, we did a quick loo break and a small charge at Knutsford Services. Imagine our surprise to see Bill, and then Viv there.
We left and proceeded on for our lunch/tea at Morecambe. We were going to be early, so did our long charge before heading to the hotel. This was a bit fraught, most of the Polar chargers did not recognise my RFID card. The one that did recognise the card, gave up charging after a few minutes. But, eventually we were back up to 86% and headed off for our tea.
We parked at the hotel, and were soon ushered into tea, where we ate with Valerie, Norman, Bill and Viv. The hotel was built in 1933 in the Art Deco style with some interior decorations by Eric Gill. After falling into disrepair and closing in 1998, the hotel was restored to open its doors again in 2008.
After the excellent tea, Rosemary and I had a walk on to Stone Jetty, and then along the front to admire the Eric Morecambe statue with a slight detour by R to buy a couple of books in a charity shop. Back on the road again we headed to Keswick, following the scenic route along Lake Windermere. We arrived and parked behind the guest house, unloaded and made ourselves at home.
That evening we ate at the Thyme Bistro, I was going for the Lamb Shank, but their specials listed Pork Belly. So, Pork Belly it was. I must say it was excellent.
Norman, Bill, Viv and I drove in the Polestar to park at the foot of Catbells to walk to the summit and back down. The weather was very windy, the path was wet and slippery. A far more demanding walk than the hike on Kilimanjaro.
After our walk, we met with the others to sample some beers in the Dog and Gun, which soon became our regular watering hole. A Greene King pub, but thankfully having a large range of guest beers. Then some culture at the Pencil Museum. An excellent trail through pencil history along with a question sheet which made you look hard for clues. (Now we know the reason for Q’s name in the James Bond books & films.) Our answers were marked at the end, and a reward was given to us for a completely correct set of answers.
Tea at the Wild Strawberry before heading back to the B&B. The Wild Strawberry provided an excellent tea, so some of us went back to it on another day for lunch. For supper we headed out to the Dog and Gun for a pre-prandial and then to the Old Keswickian Fish & Chips Restaurant for some traditional English fare. Outside the restaurant it was Christmas, shops decorated for Christmas, and a Christmas tree in the square. Very festive, but surely it should be Easter? There was a film production in progress, a sequel to “The A Word”, but no actors were to be seen.
Today the weather looked stormy, patches of sun breaking through the clouds, heavy intermittent showers, and a strong wind. We all went on a boat trip around Derwentwater, slightly delayed while the boat owners checked the lake was suitable for a cruise. Good to be on the water, and luckily in a cabin as the rain came down.
After this trip, we walked back to Appletrees, where Bill, Viv and I prepared ourselves for a walk, rushing out to catch the bus to Borrowdale, to walk back. These OAP bus passes are useful. We did indeed walk back to Appletrees, stopping for a beer at the Grange Café in Grange. The walk was14.5 km and took us 4 hours 9 minutes, of which 40 minutes was relaxing with a beer each. We were lucky with the weather. All the rain fell while we were on the bus on the way to the start. Nothing significant fell while we walked.
Back to Appletrees, and then out to the Dog and Gun for a libation. Tonight, we ate at an Italian, Casa Bella. R suggested a bottle of prosecco which was duly ordered. When the bottle arrived, none of us had seen a prosecco bottle like it before with its an old-fashioned ginger beer type cap.
Bill and I headed out on the bus to Buttermere. The bus took us on the west side of Derwentwater, through Borrowdale, Seatoller, Honister Slate mine and down the Honister Pass which has a gradient in some parts of 25%. All the roads were narrow. There is a bus which does the reverse route, ours had enough problems getting up some of the roads. The driver even stopped at one stage to let the engine cool down. At Buttermere we dismounted and started our walk up to Red Pike. This starts with an unrelenting path straight up the hill, levels, and then climbs again until it reaches a small lake, Bleaberry Tarn. We then headed on up towards Red Pike. We gave up when the weather came down. Cloud made visibility poor, the snow was like hail and blown hard into our faces, it was uncomfortable. We made it to 681m, which was short by 74m of the peak at 755m of Red Pike. We headed down on a slippery path, in the cold and snow, then rain as we descended. Both of us at one stage unceremoniously fell on our arses.
At the bottom, there was just time for a coffee before the bus arrived, on-time of course, to take us to Keswick. Back at Appletrees, I dried off, recovered and rested before we went out for dinner at the Merienda. The Merienda is a small restaurant. Our waiter, or the waiter for the upstairs, was from the Czech Republic and very amusing. His English was extremely good. He would correct himself and debate different words he should be using. I ate Devilled Whitebait, followed by a Classic Falafel. All particularly good.
After breakfast (we ate a cooked breakfast every day, a good choice pre-ordered the day before), we said our goodbyes and left for home. We stopped just outside of Keswick at the Castlerigg Stone Circle. Here I took some photographs of the circle and the snow dusted hills in the background on a bright sunny morning.
On the way home we stopped at the famous Tebay Services where we bought lunch. Lo and behold we bumped into Valerie and Norman. Next stop was at Morecambe to charge the car again. This journey should only require one charge, we could have delayed it for many more miles. Additionally, we were going to stop in Manchester to say hello to one of Rosemarys friends. The opportunity of a free charge at the Polar charger at Morecambe was too much to ignore. We charged up to 80 plus and headed off to Manchester. Disaster, there was an accident on the M61, Google rerouted us, and this added many miles to the trip. We made it to our appointment for a light lunch. Chatted for over two hours and headed off. Good for Rosemary & Judy to meet up.
I must admit the traffic on the M6 was not bad, our trip North and South had no delays, other than the M61 accident which closed the motorway. Google in the car, coming to the rescue and rerouting us before we were anywhere near to the chaos. Heading into Birmingham, we took the toll road and elected to do a quick charge at the services station there. The charge was quick, we needed only a few percent to see us home, but the wait was interminable. We need more chargers. We were there an hour, most of the time waiting to get connected. Presently everyone is polite. When it’s your turn, but you are not at the correct charger, everyone moves around to allow you your turn.