I've been keeping this trip a secret for a while now, but I can't quite believe that I've been living in the UK for the past five years and I had not yet been to the Lake District. How did this happen? Especially with my passion for photography, I'd been dying for a trip like this for years now, but never really pushed forward and attempted to make it happen. I know...shame on me, right? I kept browsing through the Internet, constantly looking at all the beautiful and breathtaking landscapes around the Lake District, but never took it any further. I guess, with having bought a house this year, money has been a bit of an obstacle. But when there's a will, there's a way! From a photography perspective, the Lake District is the ultimate and perfect location to get lost and document the beautiful sights. Some even say it has the nicest views in the whole of the UK. Big statement? I was hoping to find the assurance I needed with this trip.
So, now that the introduction is out there, it's time to get started. So, do yourself a favour and grab a cup of coffee, tea, juice, or whatever you fancy, because this trip is worth reading about!
I felt like it was time to fix things, when it comes to the Lake District! I've always had this vision of camping or even glamping in the most secluded, calm and peaceful areas of the UK, mostly surrounded by nature and as far away from civilization as possible. I envisioned staying somewhere where you could hear the birds sing before dawn; where you could wake up to see the sun rise from the top of a mountain; where you'd then heat up a cup of coffee and enjoy a breakfast with a view, right before hiking the most beautiful trails and taking insane landscape photography pieces...
A while back, I started looking into glamping spots in the Lake District in the hope of redeeming myself for never having visited the Lakes. I used to be a girl scout when I was younger, so I've had my fair share of camping when I was a child. But nothing quite compares to camping or glamping as an adult. The freedom you feel is incredible, and being surrounded by nature can recharge your batteries from the stress of your daily life in a way that nothing else can. At least, that's how I feel.
Going to the Lake district meant the world to me. And it was now becoming a reality!
I went on this trip with Bruno, of course. Our list of things to see included stops in places such as Workington, Eskdale, Holmrook, Hardknott Passage, Wastwater, Ambleside, Ullswater, Pooley Bridge, Keswick, Derwent Water, Buttermere, Whitehaven and Sellafield. A long list, I know, but I was hoping we'd have time to do it all.
I came across Eskdale Campsite's web page before finding out that a friend I work with had been there before. She strongly recommended the place, so I wasted no time and booked it. If you're interested in staying in Eskdale Campsite, this is their website.
We stayed at the Campsite from Sunday to Tuesday (24th-26th June). We left Newcastle at about 10:30 am on Sunday, and we arrived at the Campsite shortly after 1pm. My boyfriend and I split the driving, and I handled the first leg of the trip, since the second half was nothing but very unstable, tiny, tight and bumpy country roads, not to mention some diversions. And...no, I'm not that confident on my driving skills...
Once we arrived in Eskdale, I immediately noticed a huge change of scenery. We were surrounded by huge trees, grass, sheep, fenced fields and mountains in the horizon. The Campsite owners were absolutely incredible! As soon as we arrived, they gave us so many recommendations of places to go, which routes to take, which places had the best views... We explained our passion for photography, and made notes of all the recommendations.
The lady we met at reception was incredibly helpful during the three days and two nights that we spent in Eskdale. Her name was Sarah, and she even let us borrow a screwdriver (beginner's mistake), once we realised that was the only way of assembling our newly bought barbecue grill.
The campsite was huge, and with beautiful surroundings of mountains and trees. The reception area had a tiny shop with all the groceries and camping equipment you might need. I mean, everything! From sleeping bags to flashlights, frozen food, fishing equipment, fire starters, barbecue tools, biscuits, and even a postcard section. I was sure that whatever problems we might come across during the trip, the mini-store would provide us with a solution. It even included a souvenir section that sold children's fluffy toys and other miscellaneous items.
After the initial introductions and recommendations, we were finally given the keys to our own little pod, in the middle of the woods, and we were beyond excited! We were given pod number 9. With the keys in our hands, Sarah showed us around all the facilities before taking us to our glamping pod. The site had incredibly clean toilets, beautifully decorated with fresh flowers. The showers were also really clean. Sarah then showed us where the best place for us to park our car was. Straight away, I was very impressed with all the facilities!
With the keys in my hand, it was now time to see our pod! I was so happy, anticipating the fun of having a few days of exploring in the Lake District. Almost like a child on Christmas Eve, I had the biggest smile on my face as I breathed in the clean, unpolluted air that filled my lungs with joy.
The pods were adorable! Just what I was hoping for. Empty inside, but so beautiful nonetheless. It got me thinking how a simple lifestyle is often so much better, because you appreciate the little things in life.
The pods were equipped with an electric heater, two USB sockets and one main socket. Bruno and I packed an extension lead just in case we needed to charge camera batteries, mobile phones, etc.
Surrounded by tall trees, and with several tables and picnic areas for families in front of the pods, this secluded area of pure beauty was just what I needed to unwind. If this wasn't even the actual Lake District's iconic views and it was already this beautiful, I couldn't wait to see what else the Lakes had to offer.
We unpacked the car, got our sleeping bags out of their covers and we got everything ready for our day of exploring the Lake District! Our first stop? Holmrook.
The weather was glorious! Sunny and warm, I couldn't believe it was warm enough to build up a tan. I mean...developing a tan...in the UK? Say whaaaaat?
Bruno and I spent a few hours exploring this beautiful and scenic landscape, before moving on to the next stop. At this particular spot, there were so many people canooing down the lake, enjoying the sunny weather.
I was so happy! Feeling the wind blowing my hair, hearing the sound of the waves, looking up to majestic mountains, it couldn't get better than this!
Once we were finished with exploring Holmrook, we headed back and stopped at Iceland to pick up groceries for dinner. We wanted to go to bed early and have a very, very early morning the next day so we could photograph the sunrise! The sun rises at 4:30 am, so the plan was to wake up at around 3:30 am and drive to the top of a mountain to get a few sunrise shots. In order to do this, we needed to find a supermarket to buy food for the next couple of days, and we agreed to do a barbecue and have an early dinner. I am definitely a morning person, so this plan was right up my street. At the supermarket, I picked up the vegan no bull burgers and some sweet corn, while Bruno opted for a spicy chicken mix. Once we got back to the Campsite, we lit our barbecue and we were ready to go! It was dinner time!
The food was delicious, my burger in particular! I had tried these before, and they are the yummiest thing ever! It's so suspicious, though, because even though they are 100% vegan, they almost taste just like meat...which makes you wonder where it comes from. But these beauties are made purely from soya, red beetroot extract, paprika, herbs and spices. If you haven't tried them yet, you are missing out! They're so yummy!
Bruno was the grill master, and as he cooked our dinner, I got the cutlery, plates and travel mugs ready. We both had a couple glasses of diet coke with the meal.
After dinner, we went to bed. Bruno was exhausted from his 14 hour night shifts, two days in a row prior to our drive. His last shift ended on Saturday at 5 am, and we drove to the Campsite at 10 am that same morning. So, at around 7 pm we were in bed and I wanted him to rest as much as possible. It was me who struggled to fall asleep...
The alarm rang at 3:30 am. I took my kettle and left the pod in the direction of the fresh water tap. I filled the kettle with water so I could make myself a nice cup of Portuguese coffee (the best coffee ever! Maybe I'm biased, though...).
I also made a sandwich and packed all the snacks for our trip. We used the leftover burgers and chicken to make sandwiches to take with us. I actually did prepare quite well for this trip. I selected a few random items that most people would forget to take, such as table cloths, kitchen roll, detergent to wash up our crockery, knives, forks, spoons, plastic bowls, and everything I thought I would need... (and that's how you save money, kids!) Even though the campsite sold all of these things, they were very expensive!
After breakfast, I woke Bruno up and we prepared to leave the campsite.
One of the most important advice that we've received from the Campsite staff was to NOT turn left right down the road from the facilities, en route to Wastwater. This would lead us through a very tough terrain, literally up the mountains with rocks, sheep, and a very unpleasant incline for a car. With a Vauxhall Insignia, it was not a very clever option. So, we turned...LEFT! I'm still not sure if this was intentional of unintentional....
Bruno described the drive as one of the most challenging ones of his life...I describe it as THE most scary drive of my life! However, for the views, it was all worth it! The sun soon started to rise behid the mountains, and the colours of the sky were incredible!
After driving through the toughest terrain, the hills slowly fell behind us, and we were closing in to the places we'd planned to visit that day. On the photo above you can see a morning chill reflected in the lake; it was one of the most breathtaking photos we took during this trip. With the sun rising, the reflections started to become more evident, and the colours of both the sky and light reflecting in the water were stunning.
The next stop was Wastwater; a lake located in Wasdale, a valley in the western part of the Lake District National Park. The lake is almost 3 miles (4.8 km) long and more than one-third mile (540 m) wide. It is a glacial lake, formed in what is a fine example of a glacially 'over-deepened' valley. It is the deepest lake in England at 258 feet (79 m).
I loved the mirror images, emphasized by the quiet lake when there's no wind. For a moment, it felt like I was dreaming and what my eyes were witnessing wasn't real...
Landscape after landscape, I couldn't help but take a million photos of the beauty that was surrounding us. I kept thinking how beautiful it must be to actually live in the Lake District, voted the most beautiful place in the whole of the UK.
I couldn't stop smiling! As the morning progressed, the weather became warmer, and it soon became a really nice summer day.
The next stop on our trip was Pooley Bridge. I don't need to say much about this place, because the photos really do speak for themselves. I photographed the best mirror effect ever in my life, and I honestly think this is one of my favourite photos ever that I've taken, as well as one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to.
It was a funny story, the one of how this picture came about. We were actually really struggling to find the exact place. The lake is huge, and even though we asked a few locals and showed them similar pictures of this place, no one seemed to know where it was. I, particularly, was starting to feel so disappointed, especially because the only reason I knew about this place was due to browsing the Lake District on Instagram. But Bruno made it a mission to find this place, with or without the local's knowledge and help. And, soon enough, there we were! Maybe that's why I love these photos so much...
This little house was just in the middle of a busy road in Pooley Bridge, where cars, vans and buses drive by every second. Because its location is on a curve, and all you can see from the road is the back of the house, it's easy to miss out on this beauty and not think much of it. But we didn't! We knew what lied after the curvy shape in the road.
After taking a million photos, we drove to Keswick and stopped at a place called Filling Station Cafe, which was about 16 miles from Pooley Bridge. We were tired and hungry, and I was craving a vegan english breakfast.
Funny enough, we both were incredibly disappointed with the food. I was served cold mushrooms and cold beans, with no toast. I also had burnt and cold tomatoes. Bruno ordered a breakfast bun and he felt like the bun was at least a good three days old (I'm being nice, here!) It was a shame, because the cafe was pretty cool, with rock and roll songs playing on the radio in the background, a very characteristic decoration on the walls, with quotes and framed photos, and even a 'traffic lights clock' with the different times in different places in the world. We documented everything with our EE action cam, thankfully in Portuguese, and it was the funniest thing ever to watch back. Bruno kept saying that the buns were 3 days old because the drivers couldn't make their way through the tight roads, hence why they couldn't deliver the bread. We laughed way too much!
Right before we left the cafe, Bruno and I looked outside the window and he rushed outside with the camera! The reason? This...
Where else would you be able to find this if not in England? This couple was the cutest! Bruno chatted with them and asked if he could take a photo. Turns out, the couple needed some directions, so Bruno helped them with that. Win-win situation!
It was now our very last full day at Eskdale Campsite. But we didn't let that discourage us. We took advantage of every single minute. We drove to Derwent Water, where we met a very helpful tourist guide named Chris. He was so knowledgeable of the Lake District that we found ourselves chatting for over half an hour. He showed us all the unmissable trails and views, and we ended up becoming members of the National Trust. How did that happen??
I was very curious to see the iconic centenary stones in Derwent Water, especially after they were reinforced as a must-see by Chris. Once again, the weather help up, and it was actually a really hot day. In 26 degrees, we walked through the trail on our way to the so called centenary stones. Carved out of a boulder of volcanic rock from the Borrowdale Valley, the unusual design represents ten segments across ten rings, a century.
Most photos of this place have the stones submerged in water, at least half-way, so I was happy to see a low tide and to end up with a different result to everyone else's.
Our trip was really coming to an end. While Bruno rested in the pod for the rest of the evening, I played with two little girls, daughters of the couple in the pod next to us. The youngest, Emily, was crazy about a big swing available on the campsite, so I spent a god hour pushing her in the swing as she enthusiastically yelled 'higher, higher!' at me. We also played hide and seek.
The very next morning, it was time to say goodbye! We had to check out at 11 am, so we woke up early, and I tried to fit in a few more photographs. Walking through the campsite very early in the morning was the best feeling ever.
I had breakfast and took a shower, and we said goodbye to the nice family with the two little girls. The dad thanked me for the babysitting services, and I gladly explained it was my pleasure! We also met a few other really nice families that we didn't get the chance to say goodbye to, as they were already gone when we got back from our last full day at the Lake District.
This little getaway was an amazing experience. The Lake District is truly beautiful, and even though I had no where near enough time to see everything, I have made a promise to myself to go back, next time for a longer period, so I can enjoy and also rest.
I'm sorry about the very long post, but this is what happens when I get too excited about a trip! Lots of photos and information.
I bought a couple of postcards of the Lake District before I headed back to Newcastle, and all I can say is that I can't wait for my next trip. I hope you've all had a great weekend, and an awesome start to the week. Let me know in the comments below what the highlight of your weekend was. See you soon.