Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

Too good to deny it! Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent!

Saturday February 21 2009

So after a ‘tolerable’ night’s sleep we got up nice an early, had some of the complimentary toast the nice (as well as surprisingly clean) hostel provided and set off to make the most of our day in Cumbria.  The best thing about the morning though was the view.  We had been gifted a nice sunny day (the maximum temperature was even in double figures), and as we walked back to the car we just got to start seeing glimpses of the beauty that is Cumbria.  A beauty that had been somewhat hidden by darkness the night before.

We decided to start off by retracing our steps (or tracks to be accurate) and repeat some of the driving we had done the night before…this time with the ability to see. WOW!  The first thing we saw was Lake Windermere which we couldn’t believe was the same place we stood the night before.

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We also drove the struggle again…only to realise there had been massive cliffs on either side of us at points (if not at least on one side of us) when we were driving these same roads the night before.  It was such beautiful countryside though that we would periodically pull over to the side so that we could take some photos.  The fact the day was so perfect meant that the views never ended and also gave the contrast of the clouds intersecting the mountains.  It is the kind of landscape where you would love to just retire too!

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After seeing Ullswater (The biggest lake and the one below) and Grasmere we took the drive to Penrith.

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Penrith is one of the larger cities in Cumbria and is slightly more built up/industrial.  It held a lot of memories for Johnno as he had lived/schooled here for a while before moving back to Australia. Thus besides our sightseeing we also drove past a few of his old haunts. In Penrith, we saw the destroyed castle of King Richard II (although he only stayed there before he was King and I must say it was tiny!), the city Centre and the George Hotel.  Of course, once we saw the George Hotel we knew it was time for some tea and cake (I had the best slice of carot cake ever!)

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Our Group then drove off into the more rural areas of Cumbria that were equally as beautiful.  Jonathan was able to give us a bit of an insight into how it all worked with all the Manor/Houses and estates.  We even dropped in on his godparents for a few minutes who have an estate with a 3 mile long driveway and over 300 acres.  It was really interesting to see a side of England that is just so far removed from the big cities.  Victor, Jonathan’s godfather, was wearing a Cravat and all 😉

We even had a bit of spare time to explore the area a little bit closer so Jonathan went into his old house, while we had turns driving Gerald, looking at the Church that was on Lord Inglewood’s estate and being stalked by a loud, but fun, pack of sheep 😛

Carlise is the capital of Cumbria and after snaking our way along a series of definitel NON-main roads, we arrived.  It was strange to see a city that resembled Manchester/Liverpool in Cumbria, which is sucha  uniquely brilliant place.  We walked around the city centre, laughed at the Chavs, ate KFC (being served by Kath and Kim haha) and saw the outside of the Cathedral and Castle…but we knew there was a lot better places to explore in Cumbria and the day was only so long.

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As Carlise is up the North of the County and thus the very North of England we couldn’t resist driving the 15 or so miles and stepping in to Scotland for the first, albeit brief time.  Nothing really to see here…although there was much laughter had at how ‘stupidly awesome’ this idea had been 😛

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After our 5 mins in Scotland, we then set about the overly long drive in search of Hadrian’s wall.  Light was fading, we had NO maps and we were pretty sure the wall itself would be not that impressive in the area we were in, but we knew we knew we had to at least ‘tick it off the list’. Which we did.  We were able to see the wall, the remains of one of the turrets and then started the quite long drive south towards Keswick (the w is silent ;)) which was our home for the night.

Once again we checked into our hostel with ease (even easier as there were no keys this time) and we knew our 18 seater room would have just us 4 in it. We all had a shower and then drove into town to grab a feed.  We settled on pub food at one of the numerous “Traditional English Pubs”, with myself taking it a little further and ordering Bangers and Mash (My first experience with Cumberland Sausage was a good one :)). Dinner went quickly but it was a while before we got up.  Whether it was discussing if our waitress was german or just slow (the consensus being eventually both!) or our own personal histories, there was always plenty to discuss and it was only the idea of another late night driving trip that lead to us getting up.

Our first stop was to drive up a little laneway to “the boatshed” as we wanted to at least see Derwant Water (yes this is the area they make the pencils) before we headed to bed. Unfortunately the bad lighting, poorly maintained road and our own fears got the better of us and we ended this adventure without seeing/hearing the water and only ending up frieghtened. The lake would have to wait until morning.

We then drove off to see the coast at Whitehaven, as this would mean we truely have criscrossed the county and also it could be claimed that seeing the Irish sea was seeing Ireland 😉  It turns out Whitehaven must have a very poor nightlife as the streets were full of Chavs, people too old to be out clubbin in THOSE outfits and generally the type of peopl that made us ensure Gerald’s doors were locked.  However, we did make it up past the Beacon to the look out point. To our surprise not only could we hear/smell/feel the ocean…we could also see it. However, we made a resolution that we would once again retrace our steps the next morning so as to get a proper view!

Then it was home (after we saw a guy walk into a sign at full speed LOL) with only a short tour to Cockermouth.  Just another one of those towns that was so close that we wanted to see if we could fit in just a little more in to our day.

Then it was off to bed,  still scared due to the Boatshed, horror stories about people getting attacked when driving late at night and Josh/Brent being no calming influence.  I am glad to say…at least Johnno was more scared 😛

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February 24, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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