The Lakes in 48

A guide to 48 hours in the Lake District; where to eat, sleep and run.

Not being from the Lake District I wanted to make sure that I made the most of my time there. My to- do list was simple: 1) Get amongst the landscape. 2) Eat the best food around. 3) Run.

If this sounds like your sort of thing then you are reading the perfect guide to the Keswick area.

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SLEEP

Let’s start with SLEEP. Not my usual choice of a starting point but as a pretty key factor in booking a trip away it seems a sensible move.

Two guest houses come highly recommended, neither can I say a bad word about. Tip 1 for booking this trip for yourself stay in either; both if you can!

Let’s start with Seven Oaks; run by the ‘team extreme’ of getting active in the Lake District, husband and wife duo Iain and Sue are a priceless font of knowledge whatever style of outdoor pursuit you are looking for. Based in a traditional Victorian style building just moments’ walk from the centre this property couldn’t get more accessible for days of walking and evenings of socialising. The rooms here are stunning, spacious and modern, Wi-Fi, teas and coffees, bottled water, biscuits you name it, it has it! They even own their own holiday cottage ‘Millside Cottage’ so if you prefer your own family space check it out.
You can see why Seven Oaks has won Trip Advisor awards, nothing is too much trouble and no detail has been spared. The breakfasts alone are worth an award in my book; pancakes, full English (that really should be full Cumbrian as both the bacon and sausages are sourced locally), fresh fruit, homemade muesli EVEN a daily smoothie!! What a better way to start your day!

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Now let me introduce to you Sandburne Vegetarian Guest House. The former house of the founder of not only the Vegan society but also the word ‘Vegan’ itself. This whole property is stunning, apologies for this sounding like a Rightmove advert and if they do decide to sell you will have to get in line! But this is a property in a huge plot, set back from the road that opens out to the stunning back drop of the mountains. From inside, windows frame the view in to works of art. Warm cosy sitting rooms with wood burning stoves and an almost library of local books, walks and sights welcome you after a day in the hills.
As a true foodie breakfast is an easy way to my heart and just like Seven Oaks these are not to be missed. Not being vegetarian nor vegan myself I understandably am used to meat taking the main stage, but here you’ll forget there isn’t any on the plate. Piles of pancakes, granola, fruit, the best balsamic mushrooms you will have ever tasted and vegetarian haggis! All awesome!

RUNfile-3

So you’ve eaten your body weight in breakfast which means you have lots of energy to fuel your runs and I have two stunners to keep your training topped up whilst you are away from home.

Being from the Peak District I am used to the fells, the ankle rolling footpaths, climbing over stiles and the multi-tasking of simultaneous map reading and running. If this doesn’t sound like your normal day to day run then please do make sure you are fully prepared before setting off. So vital is this I’ve made it my all important Tip 2: Set yourself a ‘taster section’ a small first file1-3.jpegpart that lets you decide if you are feeling strong and therefore can carry on or perhaps it would be sensible to head back. Plan this stop before setting off and make it at a road junction so you can have an easier trip back in rather than getting stuck in a potentially dangerous situation. Running in glorious mountains such as the lakes is an opportunity not to be missed and are some of the most memorable I have done to date, but this terrain needs to be respected, it will not help you out, it will rain and it will get so foggy you cannot see even in mid-August. Be prepared and if in doubt head back.

Recky run – After a long drive up north I used this run as a bit of a leg stretcher as well as the chance to check out where I would be staying and to get my bearings for the next day. I find running around a neRecky.jpgw area something really unique and exciting. It can obviously only be done once but it is the only time that everything about it is new, you forget how much your legs hurt or how hard you are breathing as you are engrossed in looking around. You can’t be ‘not looking forward to that hill at the end’ as you didn’t know it was coming. When I go to a new place ill always do a rekey run to get ideas for the next days of training.

Skiddaw – Think of the Lake District, think of Skiddaw. Or at least I do, I did my DofE gold practice in the Lakes as a 17 year old and being little versions of who we are now we made it our aim to Skidaw.jpghit as many peaks as we could. I knew for this trip I needed to hit some trig points again.
For this route I took a walk to Derwent water and then on to Braithwaite as a decent warm up. It was a tough run but paid off being warm from the start, last thing I wanted was tight calves on the uphill.

EAT

After all those miles you are going to need some fuel inside of you, I am a huge fan of all food and often can be found munching as a walk along as well as always have snacks to hand.

My final tip Tip3: YOU MUST TRY ALL 4 OF THESE PLACES!

  1. Mrs F’s Fine Food Emporium: Does exactly what it says on the tin but also a brilliant little find as these guys will fill your water bottles for you if you are running low. How lovely!
  2. Laura in the Lakes: As it says on their menu ‘the biggest scones you have ever seen’ pop in here for a little afternoon pick me up, slather on the clotted cream and jam and enjoy.
  3. Java Coffee Shop: This place is a real gem, you can’t miss it, just look for the massive chocolate fountain in the window. Head in and you’ll find there is so much to choose from, the cakes here are superb but if you are feeling you want something lighter go for one of their veg smoothies. All made in front of you to order, choose from their menu or freestyle and DIY.
  4. Jasper’s: Lastly but not at all least my new favourite place. Named after two lovely little dogs, (who were also visiting when I was!) This dog friendly café has hit the nail on the head. In the time we were in Keswick we couldn’t help but eat there twice. These guys do the biggest sausage rolls ever and they are delicious, a real hunk of sausage meat in fluffy homemade pastry. Not to be missed.

 

So that’s that, the lakes in 48. I hope you have as much fun exploring these places and trying all that’s on offer as I did.

Happy running…and of course cake re-fuelling.

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7 ways to FREE fun!

#GetOutside with your family for FREE or just the car parking fee!

 

We all know how important being active and outdoors is, it’s in the media often enough! Equally we all know how hard it can be to think of new and exciting ideas to get the kids active without breaking the bank! Weekends and school holidays can begin to seem harder than work with young ones in toe and as a parent it is a constant juggle of all the throws of life and being a first class entertainment unit.

It is so important to instil from a very young age all the positive habits of being outdoors, being active and having more to life than just work, home, bed, repeat. As the saying goes ‘Old habits die hard’, make your and your children’s old habits positive ones.

To start you on your way I have complied 8 ways to #GetOutside for free or just the car parking fee. Make a flying start and take on one this weekend:

 

  1. #Selfie Treasure Hunt

All kids love phones, right!? And who had even heard of a ‘selfie’ 10 years ago. This is a great activity I actually even love to do myself, take as many photos as you want of your house, garden, local park, village, where ever you fancy going. Make sure however your photos are close-up and cryptic. The challenge is for those taking part to hunt around for where the photo was taken and then take a selfie in front of that place. I usually give extra points for creative photos; think handstands, human pyramids. This works brilliantly as a fun free and unusual birthday party for all ages and can be as long or short as you want. You could go the whole hog and even have score boards and prizes! Give yourself half an hour to take some pics and you’re ready to rock.
Don’t fancy printing all the pictures off?! Then don’t! Base yourself in a central position and when one selfie is brought back Whats-app the player the next clue, this way as well you see the players after every clue to check they are still ok – perfect for litt’luns.

 

  1. Pooh Sticks

Poohsticks ˈpuːstɪks/ noun

A game in which each player throws a stick over the upstream side of a bridge into a stream or river, the winner being the person whose stick emerges first from under the bridge.

Legendary game, enough said!

 

  1. Go on a walk (cycle/scoot for the kids)

Admittedly this doesn’t always sound that fun and I appreciate some may not even flirt with the idea because of all the paraphernalia associated; where do we go, how do I even plan a route, what do I wear/take/eat..ARGHHHH! Let’s not go!

It doesn’t have to be all that hassle, I am someone who much prefers to go on a walk with a purpose, usually round something or up something. This in no way has to be some military fashion route march; it can actually be very lovely and sociable.
Start with your local reservoir; more often than not they have a very good website detailing everything to put your mind at ease and even have different coloured routes of varying length and difficulty. Choose one you fancy and off you go. They are often gravel paths, so perfect for the kids to take bikes and scooters and how about rewarding yourself with a coffee and cake in the café after you are done. What could be more perfect, fresh air, worn out kids, and CAKE!

 

  1. Printable scavenger hunts

These are an absolute must-remember-life-saver. Going on a long car journey, visiting the beach, a city or simply need to fill a few hours in the garden the options of these are endless. Just google and print! If you really have some time on your hands (firstly please let me know how) you could always make your own but there really are so many out there already done for you.
Why not find one suitable for your local park and have an afternoon of exploring.

 

  1. Frisbee/Football/Rugby Golf

This is my favourite on the list; if you or your kids are footy mad then this is the one you have been waiting for!

It is so simple:

  • Choose a starting point ideally in the corner or edge of a big field,
  • Throw something – a ball, hoop, dog toy, stick…
  • Where ever it lands that is the ‘hole’, players have the get their frisbee or football to it in as least kicks/throws as possible.
  • Once all players are at the ‘hole’ throw again.

Could anything be simpler! If your kids are old enough teach them this, get them to teach their mates and that is summer afternoons and evenings sorted for a long time. Just remember to keep score!

 

  1. Blackberry Picking

No only a free activity but FREE FOOD, awesome!

Autumn is this best time for this, anywhere you find brambles/thorn bushes during late September through to November you will find blackberries. Nearby are usually loads of nettles so looks out for these as a good place to get started. I would avoid any next to roads or where animals gather and the best are always found in the most hard to get to places, of course!
Set off with the beach buckets and spend an autumnal afternoon collecting. Blackberries are packed full of Vitamin C and are at their juiciest at the end of a sunny day when the sun has given the juice a boost.

Tip: Pick the young supple leaves of a blackberry bush in early summer to make blackberry leaf tea. Simply wash a handful and place in a tea pot with boiling water. Leave for a few minutes and serve with sugar to taste. This not only tastes delish but also sooths a sore throat, keep a handful in the freezer for that quick go to remedy.

 

  1. Wet wellie wander

This is a fantastic way to get the kids out of the house on a blustery day. Get togged up but most importantly wear wellies (remember the name)!
Set off with the aim to see who can find the deepest puddle but be careful the only rule is you are not allowed to get wet feet. For this one let the kids choose the route, where do they think is a good place to go? Where have they seen puddles in the past? Put them in charge, they will not only love the responsibility but surprise you.
Who can find a puddle that comes just up to the brim of their wellies without spilling over and in. Will you be the one to get soggy socks!

 

  1. River Dipping

Anything water based is a win with me and this is brilliant to try at all different times of the year, there is so much variety in water courses across the UK. Try this when you are at the beach, at a canal and in a small stream. If you have a little fishing net then fantastic, if not grab a bucket or failing that get ready to get your hands wet. See what wildlife you can find, extra points awarded if you can actually catch it!! Just remember to keep all wildlife submerged in water and place it gently back where you found it.

Tip: Check out idea number 4; scavenger hunt sheets are available online to give you ideas of things to hunt for depending on where you are wanting to look. If you are heading to a reservoir or canal look out for the information boards, councils often display brilliant infographic boards of what can be found in the water and banks surrounding. These are obviously specific to where you are so get your eyes peeled and get hunting. How many can you spot?!

 

Twitter is the best place for minute by minute action from me and all my GB Aquathlon training news not to mention plenty more active ideas! Be sure to pay @sjacksonhorner a visit to get the next part of the story….It’s going to be good J