The Lake District & Yorkshire – Dixie & Mike
In Our Customer’s Say Blog Series, you have the voice! Today we share the amazing trip Dixie and Mike had around Lake District and Yorkshire. Read all about it here!
Recap of Our Tour of Lake District and Yorkshire
We awoke Tuesday morning to Lakelands sunshine.
As we first peered out of the second floor window of our lovely room, we were surprised to see pheasants strutting out of the woods. However, they suddenly “beat feet” when the “Wild Game Smokehouse” delivery truck arrived. Too funny! This was followed by a cute open-back truck with racks of farm-fresh milk, cream, butter, eggs and potatoes.
The English breakfast that we enjoyed each morning reflected the farm-to-table deliveries that arrived daily at Lindeth Howe Country House. We also enjoyed dinner and lighter meals after our daily adventures. Very nicely prepared and delicious.
Our bike exploration around Lake Windermere and Beatrix Potter country was exciting.
We were very thankful for our guide, Anna Gray. She assisted us with navigation of narrow, winding roads/paths and shared her knowledge and stories about Beatrix and the Lakelands that she helped to preserve. The foxgloves were in full bloom and as tall as I and we were in awe of the moss covered stone walls which frame every road, path and fell.
Stone walls in Connecticut run through old growth forests and are falling down to say the least. Overall, we are losing our farms and open spaces so Mike and I volunteer many hours to the eradication of invasive plants and the preservation of new growth forest and wildlife habitat.
Needless to say, we took many photos and enjoyed lively discussions with Anna about farming and land management practices in the beautiful Lakelands.
Our second day began with a cruise from Bowness to Waterhead where we met Anna and began our hikes around Rydal Water and Grasmere.
I especially enjoyed the pastoral views as gates and grates allowed us to pass from farm to farm where sheep/cattle grazed. Our half day became a delightful full day as we were introduced to William Wordsworth country and enjoyed hiking through diverse habitat – stream, lake, bog, fell, and quarry.
At Dove Cottage, I chatted with a man who was repairing a chimney (1 of 4) on a little cottage and queried; “Why so many chimneys on such a little cottage?” He explained that one chimney is for a “range” (unusual cooking contraption), one for “washing machine” (heated tub), and two for fire places. Such modern conveniences! I loved the old cottages in Grasmere and along the path as we hiked to Rydal Mount where we enjoyed the gardens and afternoon tea.
Thursday, we were with Mountain Goat driver, Tess, who is also a mountaineering guide and quite the character. She used “crags, fells, meres, tarns” to describe the beautiful landscape while driving around lakes and over steep mountain passes, sometimes so tight that she had to pull over to allow other vehicles to pass.
She stopped often so we may have “sun on are faces” – lunch in Keswick and artisan fair, wooden boat ride on Derwent Water, working mountainside slate mine, and pagan stone circle where campers were celebrating summer solstice. We loved her stories!
Friday was definitely a “brolly” day so I decided to explore galleries and museums in Bowness and toured the Blackwell Arts & Crafts House. Mike geared up and tackled the geological Borrowdale hike with Anna. A very soggy trek! We both made our way back to Lindeth Howe by late afternoon to dry out and enjoy delicious cream tea by the fire. Mike’s boots took quite a while to dry out but he had a great day in spite of the rain!
Anna’s husband, Phil, joined us Saturday for our Cumbrian adventure. It was a long drive from Windermere so they drove to selected spots along Hadrian’s Wall where we could take photos, walk sections and see the different structures. This allowed for a quick bowl of soup and a good amount of time at the Vindolanda archaeological site and museum before we headed back to Windermere.
We loved this remote area near the Scotland border and wished we had stayed closer so we could have explored more. Our day ended back near Bowness at The Mason Arms where we enjoyed local beer, delicious pheasant, lamb and venison dishes, and tasted damson gin. The atmosphere of this rustic pub was a great place to say goodbye to Anna and Phil.
We really enjoyed our time with them and hope to stay in touch.
Sunday’s travel by train with three changes from West to East went smoothly except for the need to hurry between trains at Oxenholme and Manchester. We especially enjoyed sharing the cars with numerous young hikers who were traveling home with large backpacks after a weekend of hiking and rock climbing. We reflected on the adventures of our younger years.
I wasn’t sure about leaving the Lakelands but when we arrived at the walled city of York, I was amazed! We walked to our Victorian-style b&b, located just outside of the walled city. Marmaduke is beautiful, but not the most comfortable place to stay. The dining was very high style and expensive so we opted for pubs or restaurants in the city during our stay in York and walked the top of the wall in the early evening.
Monday, we entered the walled city through Petergate and spent a good part of the morning in the beautiful York Minster. So much history and unbelievable craftsmanship for this beautiful cathedral that survived, fires, wars and possible structural collapse.
We visited York’s Chocolate Story for shopping and hot chocolate, then walked through The Shambles and used our York passes to tour the Jorvik Viking Center. Our next stop was the National Railway Museum which we saved for last on this day. I did a murder mystery self-guided tour while Mike lost himself for many hours in this great free museum.
Tuesday, our driver/guide, Tim Barber, picked us up early and provided a full-day loop tour of Yorkshire dales and moors. Tim is a geologist so he provided lots of information about the rugged Yorkshire limestone countryside with its miles of dry stone walls and numerous field barns.
I can only imagine how beautiful it must be when the heather is in bloom.
We are “All Creatures Great and Small” fans so Tim added flexibility to his tour and we visited some James Harriot spots. We stopped often to walk the ruins of abbeys and castles, and drove through small stone villages and market squares.
We lunched and toasted our coming 70th birthdays at the quaint mountainside Green Dragon Inn, and walked to a waterfall, owned by the innkeeper. Tim and Mike laughed easily and often which was music to my ears.
It was raining on Wednesday when Tim drove us to Pickering. It continued all day so we were glad to have our rain gear. We used our York Pass for the steam train ride to the fishing village of Whitby. Mike took lots of movies out of a small sliding window which captured the sights and chuga, chuga sounds (even the whistle) of the steam train as it moved along the countryside. Great fun!
When we arrived at Whitby, we opted for museums, galleries, and a long lunch of fish and chips at Hadleys Fish Restaurant.
At the end of the day, we needed access to WiFi to confirm our plane reservations. The library was closed so we joined other rain-soaked customers at the Angel Hotel near the train station. Tables and chairs were covered with wet slickers, caps, and brollies.
Everyone was downing pints or cuppas and having a “brilliant” time. Then we lined up for the train as conductors barked updates about the train. We now know that Brits love their “peas mushy” and “queues straight”. Tim, picked us up in Pickering, drove us back to our b&b, and we said good bye to a knowledgeable guide and really nice guy.
Mike found out that he could get a “Breakfast Butty” for only £1.25 if he got a drink at the York train station.
Thanks to Finest Journeys and everyone who made our vacation “brilliant”
– Dixie and Mike Goodwin
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