Our recent trip to the Lake District, was a result of heading up to Derby to meet Direct4x4. There will be an article soon about that visit, but we wanted to once again make the most of the bank holiday Monday. We therefor booked off the Friday and used that as our business trip day, but wondered what we would do for the following 3 days. Not too far away you have the beautiful Peak District, and while a lovely place. It wasn’t too long ago we were there. So where else to go? On the cards, were Wales or the Dales in Yorkshire, but me being me I made an executive decision. Lets say I am an easy influence, and so we headed to the Lake District. The only short straw I drew, was to take on the driving; which for me is not really a problem.
Another big reason we wanted to head for the lakes, was to use the new additions to MTB Van Life. Those being the two kayaks we have taken receipt of. Having been to the lakes last year, we were made jealous by one individual who had a kayak and was so easily able to head out onto the water. For me this was one of the reasons I wanted to get a kayak, and I am sure Sam would agree. We have travelled around the lakes a fair bit, with and without MTBVanLife. We know there are some amazing lakes to explore, and what better place to really enjoy ourselves.
Heading to Scafell Pike
Our first evening was spent at Wast Water which is situated at the base of Scafell Pike. We headed over the Hard Knott Pass to get there, which is one of the steepest roads in England with a 30% gradient. For most this is a very challenging drive, and you have to watch out for those vehicles coming down as you are trying to get up….in 1st gear! Sam was tricked into driving this last year, and only found out after he had completed it by the lovely owner of the camp site in Boot. This time with me driving, I was lucky enough to have noting come down, and no one follow us up. We had the entire mountain pass to ourselves!
Wast Water lake is situated at the base of some stunning mountains, and close to the start of the Scafell Pike climb. This climb we wanted to attempt the following morning (Weather permitting). We woke to clear’ish skies and made some breakfast, packed up and headed to the car park near to the base. Be sure if you want to attempt this you get to the car park early. We got there just as the place was filling up, but luckily found a spot, others not so lucky as when we returned we found a jam packed car park with people spilling out up the road onto the verges.
We had successfully climbed Snowdon a month or so earlier, so thought whilst we were in the area, Scafell had to be done. We climbed to the summit in about 2 hours 45 mins with a relaxed walk. As we got near to the top, the weather was starting to turn, and the cloud came in. We took our photos and then took a jog down which only took 1 hour 15 mins. We hit traffic on the way down and had to be careful on some of the real rocky parts towards the top. But if you are sure footed and have good balance, its not too much of a problem to get a jog on.
Finding suitable kayaking spots
Once we had been to the Scafell area, we wanted to relax for the rest of the weekend. This involved driving around to the lakes and finding some spots to launch the Kayaks. One area we stayed the year before was just south of Keswick on Derwent Water. We knew of a spot to launch the kayaks as we saw that person who had influenced us previously. However as we drove to this location, it was clear that it was going to be impossible for us to launch there, but also not get the peaceful surroundings. The car park was completely full and kayakers everywhere. Think they may have got the same idea as us!
We decided to head for lake Buttermere. On arrival the weather had changed, however there was not a single person Kayaking on the lake. After some debating on where we should park, we managed to squeeze through a gap in some rocks, and park up in this location right on the lake side. Agreed perhaps the rocks were there to stop people doing what we did. It would appear someone had moved a rock previously. Providing we never removed any barrier, left no mess or trace and was respectful, we can see no issues with appreciating the lovely place. I certainly wasn’t going to let the weather stop me from getting out. So I kitted up, whipped the kayak off and headed out, even if there was some chop. Sam stayed inside and prepped dinner, what a lad!
The following day from Lake Buttermere, we headed to Thirlmere reservoir. This again is another quiet spot, but I think was helped by the narrow lane round the back of the lake being closed. Road closed signs at both end had deterred drivers, but I knew that rather than a closed road, it would be a no thru road. We managed to get all the way round the back to a spot perfect for launching the kayaks. Other than 3 other kayakers out on the reservoir, we were the only ones there. We headed out and paddled over to the few islands that have now been created by the water level. Again the water was a bit choppy with the wind, but we were rewarded with un-spoilt beauty on the islands.
The perfect final stop
The final spot we found to finish the trip, was by the side of Lake Ullswater in the North Eastern Lake District. There are places to stop scattered along the side of the lake, some marked and some not. We used the Park4Night app to get a rough idea, but the place we decided on was not listed. We have since added the spot, but whilst close to the road, traffic really does die down in the evening. We still found it very quiet to sleep. One fantastic thing about this place, was the ability to park up with amazing views, but then also walk down the stone steps to a private beach area. Someone had been so kind to leave us wit ha ready made stone fire pit that we made great use of. We had a lovely evening, with dinner by the lake side, and then a campfire while we did a little bit of photography.
If you want to know of any places we stayed or have any questions, let us know and we would be happy to answer them if we can!