An Escape to the Lakes – it can be done!

Group high up in the Lake District

The Isle of Wight Ramblers up on Catbells.

Here at GTO magazine, we are always interested to hear what our readers are up to – especially at the moment, when group travel is so difficult. Jackie and Tim Hough of Isle of Wight Ramblers have recently been in touch about how their trips have been affected.

Firstly, in April, two walking groups, one from Prestatyn and the other from Bury St Edmunds, whose walking holidays on the Isle of Wight had been planned in association with the Isle of Wight Ramblers, had to cancel their holidays. Then the Isle of Wight Ramblers lost their main group holiday to Canada and Alaska when it was cancelled in May.

However, the group had a walking holiday in the Lake District planned for August, and decided to go ahead with their escape to the Lakes. It was a great success, as Jackie describes below:-

“The Isle of Wight Ramblers ventured across the Solent to the mainland for their first holiday since lockdown, albeit with a reduced group of 30, the maximum for a coach holiday. With walking boots, rucksacks and walking poles, we headed for Kendal in the Lake District with Daish’s Holidays. This trip had been planned for well over a year, but now we were all feeling a bit nervous. No need, we were very comfortable on the coach with single seating separated from any couples and plenty of comfort stops as the loo is not allowed to be used.

A relaxing arrival

The County Hotel was ready to welcome us and you could see that the staff had been busy making it exceptionally clean. We soon got used to the new procedures and the one way system. The food was very good and served in the restaurant that had been spaced to accommodate our group on tables of four and six.  It didn’t take us long to relax and enjoy the friendly family atmosphere that Daish’s always offer.

We had two coach excursions, to Keswick and Windermere, which we had tailor made to suit the walkers in our group. Yes, of course we had one day of heavy rain but it didn’t deter 22 walking the 6 miles alongside the River Kent to Staveley. The river was wild and broke its banks in many places which forced us to alter our route a few times and climb a 10 foot wall!

Up to Catbells

Thankfully, the following day was much better with light winds and the sun shining. Although there were no boat trips operating on Windermere or Derwent Water, a launch was running to take walkers to Hawes End for the ascent of “Catbells”.  A long slow climb and then a scramble up to the top for 19 of us was well worth it with superb views over the lakes and across to the high peaks. The remainder of the group walked the two miles back into Keswick where Nigel our driver was waiting to take them onto Grasmere before returning to the Hotel.  The exhausted walkers returned by service bus but due to a traffic accident and road closure, we eventually arrived back at the Hotel at 8.00pm. The staff had stayed on to serve us our starter and dessert, for which we were all extremely grateful. It was then an early night for us “weary wight walkers”.

Spectacular waterfalls

The next day we were all up and ready to go on our final walk of the holiday, this time from Ambleside where 20 walkers enjoyed a figure of eight waterfall walk. A pleasant gentle ascent took us up to Sweden Bridge, an old picturesque 17th century packhorse bridge above a series of waterfalls with views across to the Langdale Pikes. Heading back down to Ambleside, we had time for lunch before going up to Stockghyll Force, a 70 foot waterfall which, after the heavy rain earlier in the week, was spectacular. Six of the stronger walkers had a trek over the fells from Patterdale to Rydal Water.

Our journey home continued to Portsmouth and we were lucky enough to drive straight onto the ferry and then home on time.

The group thoroughly enjoyed being back together for our short break in Cumbria and came away feeling so much more confident with the current situation.

It was just what we needed and thanks to Daish’s we had the perfect holiday.”

You may also like to read:-

Re-opened Borde Hill visit is a treat

or visit our blog Great Group Trips for more group travel ideas for the future