Coach trip to Lake District: Welcome to Hotel California

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Back on the coach after a 45 minute stop off.

On the coach, the unenthused voice of the driver overrode the drone of the bus. But we eventually reached Windermere, a town of funeral directors, rest homes, doctors and cemeteries.

I made my way to my room of the Windermere Hotel – a dark single room. Nothing special, but it did the trick.

Dinner time at the hotel – I have never eaten solo before, but it turns out I’m okay company.

The waiters are super nice to you if you’re eating alone, I’ve noticed.


Room with a view… Of a grassy bank

In the dining area, I was surrounded by the coach passengers gumming at their food and having nothing of interest to talk about to their partner. Straight off the coach and into the bar - got a gin tonic Most of them didn’t acknowledge anyone else was even at their table.

So I ate by myself in a silent, yet packed dining room… Like dining with ghosts…

I thought I would be taken under the wing of a cute nanny figure, but it seemed I was the equivalent of an unwelcome parent at a college party. I had gatecrashed their spring break getaway.

Going Hopping Mad
Having declined the daily excursion the next day to a garden centre, I went on a hike of my own. I made it to the next village over, Bowness.

2016-04-19 08.46.29I detoured via the lake shore, which was beautiful so early in the morning.

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The Beatrix Potter Attraction was a load of shite. I dodged Japanese tourists taking selfies at every Peter Rabbit statue, and made it to the end – of what I had hoped to have been a museum – within 10 minutes.

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It was literally a windy indoor trail of plastic Potter statues.

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Me and Mr McGregor

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Good ol’ Beatrix!

But I did take note of one highlight… The Tale of Peter Rabbit was ‘rejected by several publishers’! There is hope yet for my children’s stories!

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After this brief detour, I found the tourist hub of the town and asked the information centre about the real Beatrix Potter museum – her home at Hill Top.

I was told I could take the £10.80 boat and bus combo that got you across the lake and then up to her farm and back. Or, the .50p ferry ride over, and the 3 mile walk to her farm.

There was no question (especially since there’s an £11 entry fee at her house as well). I’m young and fit – or at least that’s how I felt after being in a morgue-like hotel. ‘I have already walked four miles to this bloody village, I can easily walk the extra half mile to the ferry, and the three miles up to Hill Top…’

Bo Peep of Hill Top
I realised my mistake once I got on the ferry and noticed everyone had hiking boots, hiking sticks and heavy backpacks. I was wearing Chucks, jeans, with a handbag.

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But I had come too far to give up now! So I began my hike through treacherous terrain.

Up and up and up.

I hate to highlight my ignorance, but it was at that point that “Hill Top” became self-explanatory. I clambered up the windy hillside, dripping in sweat and trying to find the funny side of the situation I had got myself into.

The first historic stop were the ruins of Claife Station, a residence popular as a tourist spot in the 1800s, with a beautiful view of the lake.

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The plaque said there was a serious concern for tourist safety back in the 1800s. That they would be so overwhelmed by the beauty of the Lake District’s landscape that they would faint. So it was recommended that visitors marvel at the landscape via the reflection in a mirror.

I continued my three mile journey, but the midday heat on that clear day became unbearable, and the ‘half mile to Hill Top’ sign pointing vaguely over farmland was one sign too many, and I turned back.

I dithered and dathered and babbled to myself as I paced up and down country roads trying to find the shortest route back to the ferry.

Cutting across and around farm land, trying to figure out which sign to follow, until some vocal sheep started to follow me around. To my embarrassment, they drew the attention of three farmers who found my indecisive route and inappropriate footwear rather amusing.

Sheepishly (ha ha), I nodded and waved as they covered their sniggering and pretended to look elsewhere. One of them pointed me in the right direction, and another one laughed at my shoes, and off I continued.

With my tail between my legs, (and making a total tit of myself) I clocked up approximately 13 miles or so in $10 shoes from The Warehouse. (That are still going strong! Good on the Whare House… And slave labour…)

Reaching the hotel, I asked if the shower in my room could be fixed as it merely drips cold water. They replied that the fixing man had been and gone, and that I should have brought it to their attention earlier.

Which, for the record, I would have if the secretary that day was a bit more cheerful. But I didn’t want to make his day even worse than it clearly already was.

However, to my surprise, I was moved from a dark room with a view of a grassy bank, to a top floor twin room with views of the lake!

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So, I relaxed and tried to forget about my dreadfully embarrassing adventure. I bought a bottle of wine, dined with my good self, and watched junk on TV.

Yay, go me!


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My name on Beatrix Potter stickers!