Sunday, 20 September 2015

From the Dales to the Lakes

Well, it was a mighty intense morning, but I officially moved out of my Manchester home an into the spare bedroom of my friend's family home. Now, when I say it was intense, I mean, waiting over half an hour just to have an elevator pass with enough space to fit my suitcase in so I could run down the 9 flights of stairs to meet it at the bottom. To describe it as chaotic would simply be an understatement. But, I have survived it, and spent the remainder of the day and weekend having a camp-out with a could of ladies!

It started out that a bunch of us were supposed to go to Ireland to visit our friend for the weekend, but when plans fell through, we regrouped an determined there were two key areas of England that I had not yet seen: the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. Checking the weather (ha!) we opted to camp in the Dales, and then spend the following day in The Lakes. On the map they look pretty far away, but in reality it was only about a 45 minute drive. We selected a little place called Dent to camp for the night, and then spent our time in The Lakes in Windermere.

A slightly doctored screen shot from Google Maps.
Windermere and Dent are highlighted using a purple dot and text.
You may be surprised to know this, but in all the kerfuffle of moving, I actually forgot my cameras at my friend's house. Some of you might recall the last time I did this was when I was heading to Ghana. Luckily I had my phone with me, so I was able to snap a few shots, but not as good as had I brought my real cameras...or even one of I had planned. This, however, did not spoil* the weekend by any means.

Anyway, on out way to Dent, we picked up our third participant who suggested we have lunch in a little spot called Kirkby Lonsdale. We went for a little walk before ending up at a food truck that sold Bacon Butties and ice cream - both of which we had to taste! Then we made the scenic drive to Dent.

Views from the look-off in Kirkby Lonsdale 
The trail to bacon butties!

Found it!
(Photo credit: Megan Lees-McCowan)
It didn't take us long to check into our campsite and set up. We then went for "a quick walk" that consisted of a family steep climb up a hill before going to a very picturesque view of The Dales. Afterwards, we went to one of the two local pubs for a drink and eventually dinner.

The Wishing Tree in Dent.
Got my wish - we didn't die and I had a great dinner that night. Success.
Views from the top!

Dent is by far the smallest village I've been in. Ever. Walking into that pub was the epitome of outsiders in a small town. Everyone stopped, looked away from the television (they were all watching X-Factor...), gave us an odd glance, and then went right back to what they were doing. We had an epic meal, some weird but good chats, and of course a few laughs. Afterwards we stumbled back to our campsite, had the coldest pee of my life, and called it a night. ...Until the bikers strolled in and started to party**.

In the morning, we slowly came out of hibernation only to be greeted by the most beautiful sunshine and stunning view. We had a good breakfast, packed up our things and then made our way to Windermere.

I unzipped the tent and this is what I was greeted with. Not a bad way to start the day!
The morning view from our campsite.
Now, going form the tranquility of Dent to tourist heavy Windermere was like night and day, and slightly overwhelming. People were fighting over parking spaces***, and it was pretty warm - especially since it was calling for cloudy skies! But, we found a boat tour that took us to Ambleside and back. This made for a nice afternoon!

Windermere from our 'cruise' ship

(Photo credit: Megan Lees-McCowan)
A few shots from the lake.

When we returned to Windermere, we walked around town for a little while, had some chips, and then made our way back to Manchester. Laura and I were pretty pooped by the time we arrived back at her place. But, that didn't stop us from enjoying a delicious home-cooked meal courtesy of her Ma. That was followed by one of the most magic sleeps I've had in a very long time. And that, my friends, was my final weekend in England!

-the Orange Canadian

*My flatmates throwing out my homemade ginger beer 15 minutes after telling them not to, did it. Well, it didn't actually ruin it, it just...put a slight damper on my evening. It really would have warmed us up! Thanks to my friend, DeAnna for the greatly appreciated effort to make it for me!
**And they had some weird conversations!
***Okay, so we may have almost taken someone's parking space, but when we realized, we tried to make things right, only to be told off, which made for a colourful introduction to the Lake District! 

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