Afternoon tea at Ryebeck 

A last minute decision to go to this lovely hotel on the edge of Bowness on Windermere for afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea is a tea-related ritual, introduced in Britain in the early 1840s. It evolved as a mini meal to stem the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal at 8pm.Continue reading “Afternoon tea at Ryebeck “

A new star is born- Forestside

When the hotel opened it doors earlier this year I was interested to see what Andrew and his team had done to breath life into this neglected building.  Forest Side is an imposing slate-built mansion, built for a wealthy industrialist in 1853, on the outskirts of Grasmere. Across the road, Helm Crag looking down majestically on it.  In recent years had been left with no improvement and resembled a hammer house of horrors than a lakeland retreat.Continue reading “A new star is born- Forestside”

Duke of Portland house 

I was very lucky to stay here back in October 2015. I had always been intrigued to what the most photographed boathouse in the lakes looked like inside. I was completely blown away by its beautiful interior and of course that view.

Continue reading “Duke of Portland house “

Row row row your boat

When we were out with Chris the previous weekend at Allan Bank, she said you must get a rowing boat out on Grasmere. So we did.   If you head out of the village on the Red Bank road you will come across the Faeryland.
A little car park and a very lovely secluded  bay and even an odd Faeryland fairy.  

The one thing that struck me as soon as you enter the car park was the negativity. Big signs stating the following

Do not park here

Do not take pictures unless you’ve purchased something.

Then it continued in the boat!

But despite this, it was lovely seeing the hills from the water. At just one mile long and half a mile wide, Grasmere is one of the smaller lakes of the Lake District.  The lake is heavily associated with the poet William Wordsworth and lies just south of the village of Grasmere.

The boat is £15 per hour and you leave a £20 deposit. So good value overall. Even better when you get rowed around the lake.


Fell time fun

With terrible weather (yes I’m a fair weather walker judge away) and being a social butterfly I had not been fell walking since May.  So with a favourable forecast I text my friend Ria to see what Wainwrights she still had to do. Fellbarrow in the western fells was her penultimate one so that was the plan, plus it’s not far to one of my favourite pubs The Kirkstile Inn. 

I messaged Stu, Ray and Gary to see if they fancied a bimble, quick response was a resounding yes! Think the thought of brownies helped influence their decision hehe. 

So we decided to meet in Thackthwaite, free parking is very limited but we got parked. The weather was stunning. So with the obligatory selfie off we went. 

We decided we would do Low Fell too as was next to it, plus made more of a walk. It was so good to be back out in the fells. Though despite running, I could feel I wasn’t fell fit. It’s a nice gentle walk up. 

We took a small divert off the path to summit Watching Crag which gave you amazing views before the summit of Low Fell. 

The summit of Low Fell is only 423m but has one of the best views down to Crummock water. Perfect place to have a bait stop and brownies. 

Such a gorgeous day, it was a short walk to the summit of Fellbarrow. 213 for Ria. I decided I would try and climb the trig point. We were in ripples of laughter at me trying to do this. But with a leg up from Stu I was the “Angel of the Lakes”. 

Removed from the trig point, we followed the path back down to the car. 

Then the best bit, walkers reward in the Kirkstile Inn. 

It was a great day in the fells, good craic and good company.  One of my favourite walks. So just Hallin fell to do until Ria will be in the 214 club! 

Running challenges

Apart from cross country at school I had not really run.  Back in 1997, my husband at the time had put me off cycling for life.  I needed a new exercise to do so I didn’t end up a tubby.  A friend suggested running, so sports bra and new trainers purchased and off I trotted.  I Managed 2 miles without stopping, not too bad I thought and my love of running was born.

I did my first proper event back in 1998, my brother had been diagnosed with Leukaemia, so I ran the Great North Run for Leukaemia research and The Anthony Nolan trust.  He needed a life saving bone marrow transplant, I wasn’t a match, so decided to fundraise instead.  A half marathon is a huge challenge.  I have learnt a lot from my training mistakes over the years.

I did my first marathon when I was 30, I think naivety is a good training tool. As you don’t fully understand the enormity of the task ahead.  The key is balance, whilst training for an event can feel all consuming, you need to still have a life.  If you miss a session it’s ok, don’t try to overtrain to make it up.  Rest is an important part of training, finally listening after my physio friend Graham constantly telling me this.  I have now run 6 half and 4 marathon races. 

Having a race to train for is perfect motivation for getting out. When I was training for London this year, most of the time it was biblical rain and into head winds. But it can’t matter, you just have to put your trainers on and go, skin is waterproof right? 

So with motivation in mind I have set myself quite a task for the months ahead. I had followed with interest people completing this year’s Lakeland 50. The Lakeland 50 is a 50 mile trail race to be completed within 24 hours.  Quite a challenge and as I was poised to enter I thought what the hell am I doing?  Having a slight panic excited feeling as I pressed the enter button.  That’s it I’m in!  The event is very popular and sold out in 6 minutes!  The event is not until July 2016 so I have plenty of time to train.  Allowing time to train is essential to make the arduous task ahead easier.   I am very lucky that I have a friend Kat who is doing the event too and we can train together.  I am really looking forward to running on the trails and Kat is like minded as training runs will involve cake!

After doing the London marathon this year I lost my running mojo, it’s quite nice to not be on the treadmill of a training plan.  But then with an over active knife and fork, I love my food.  Not doing exercise meant piling on the pounds, so running shoes on.  I decided to enter the Lancaster half marathon as a goal to get fit this started me thinking about challenges ahead.

With the long term training goal of next July I am going to run 5 events. Starting with Lancaster half marathon in November, Grizedale trail marathon in February, London marathon in April, the new Brathay half marathon in May and culminating in the Lakeland 50 in July.  I raised money for Brathay. Trust this year and am continuing that again. 

Brathay trust is a local charity to me.  They are based in Brathay just outside Ambleside.  I was lucky to be invited up for lunch after the marathon to see the work they do first hand and see where the money I raised was being used.  They do such diverse work.  On the day I went, there was a group from John Lewis partnership doing a team building week, a group of teenagers from the Prince’s trust and a family from a deprived area.  The boy in the family was about 5 years old, the look of sheer joy on his face as he experienced splashing in the lake in his wetsuit bought a tear to my eye.  A stark reminder that there are children not as lucky as my 2 stepsons.  The money I hope to raise will help purchase a new minibus, kayaks and canoes and support Brathay’s work with sexually exploited girls, young people leaving care, and vulnerable children and young adults in the Furness area.

I am incredibly honoured to be running the new Brathay Half marathon as number 1! Though I won’t be finishing first.  I ran the full Brathay marathon in 2014, a tough but beautiful course running around the longest lake in The Lake District, Lake Windermere.  No better finishing line in my opinion, running up the drive to Brathay Hall and seeing the lake in front of you.  It’s very special indeed.  2016 is a big year for Brathay, it’s their 70th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the Brathay marathon.  So this year, they have decided to include a half marathon.  It will follow the marathon course down to Esthwaite water and then back to Brathay, on the way back you will have one of my favourite views of the Langdale pikes to keep you company.  To enter, follow this link.

The event is May 22nd 2016, so if you fancy a challenge, you have ages to train.  Not a runner? Try the coach potato to 5k and build from there

There are lots of training plans out there, I like the Bupa training plans.

So what’s stopping you?? Get your trainers on and let’s run!