The one where I spent a fabulous Easter in the Lake District – Part 4

Easter was quite a while ago now, but I’ve had a couple of back to back deadlines and this is my first opportunity to write the final post about our family holiday in the Lake District. Splitting the post across four has made me really appreciate how much we managed to pack in during that fortnight.

We’re onto the second week now where we didn’t get out and about quite as much because the weather turned and there were several wet days, and also because I had second edits back on my July release, The Start of Something Wonderful, so I needed to do some work.

On Easter Monday we drove to Ullswater – north-east in the Lake District National Park. We started at Pooley Bridge and had a little wander but it was raining on and off so we didn’t stay for long. We moved onto Aira Force – a waterfall I haven’t visited before. It was lovely but some erosion meant one of the best paths for getting to the biggest drop was closed off, which was a shame.

We then travelled to the southern tip of the lake to Glenridding (which sounds to be like it should be in Scotland) which is a small but pretty village. It’s in a really lovely position on the lake with the river Ulls Water running through it, and surrounded by fells, but the photo really doesn’t do it justice on an overcast day.

As hadn’t been as long as expected in any of the places we visited but the cleaner was coming to the holiday cottage late that afternoon (a freshen up and change of bedding/towels with us staying for a fortnight) so we didn’t really want to go back and look like we were watching her work, bless her. We headed back to Keswick but continued south to Grasmere. We’d made it as far as walking into the village when the heavens absolutely opened. Hubby and I hid beneath the trees in the graveyard while the daughter went to get some Grasmere gingerbread. We decided to brave the open, figuring we could move between gift shops, but they were all closing. I don’t know if it was early closing because of the bank holiday or because of the appalling weather so that fettled that and we turned back to the car and went home, very soggy!

The following day, the daughter and I had something very special booked – an alpaca experience at The Lingholm Estate. I’ll talk a lot more about this estate when The Start of Something Wonderful comes out as it has been hugely inspirational for me creating my new setting in that book but, for now, I’ll share a few pics of our walk.

The alpacas are managed by a social enterprise called Alpacaly Ever After which you can find here. We’d paid to go on a private walk round the estate rather than a group walk. I was given Ralph and the daughter had Jebediah and they were both absolutely gorgeous. Ralph was so excited to be out and he made the cutest chirping sound.

If you are in the area, I’d highly recommend taking an alpaca for a walk. They do it elsewhere in the Lakes too, and you can go on more adventurous treks with them such as up Cat Bells. For us, a leisurely walk through the grounds of the estate and by the lake was just perfect.

The guide was incredibly knowledgeable so we learned loads about alpacas and she also took some fabulous photos of us which were then sent to my daughter’s phone by some technical wizardry and I’ve realised she still has them all so must get those from her at some point!

The following day was another experience and, this time, it was hubby’s turn to join me while the daughter stayed in the holiday cottage with our dog, Ella, and revised for her GCSEs.

We woke up to snow! It had come down during the night and looked beautiful on the fells. We’d have loved to stop to take some photos but would have needed to get up earlier to do that. By the time we came back, much of it had melted away.

We’d swapped alpacas for sheep, specifically Herdwick sheep, a hardy breed which thrives on the Lakeland fells. This is run at Yew Tree Farm near Coniston which is another of the farms Beatrix Potter bought and gifted to the National Trust in her will. If you’ve seen Miss Potter, Yew Tree Farm is used inside and out for filming, acting as Hill Top. I hadn’t realised this so I’m going to need to watch Miss Potter yet again (any excuse!) now that I’ve visited it.

We were joined by an older couple and a family of four on this experience which started with a talk about the breed in a barn before moving out to one of the fields on the farm to feed and cuddle them. There were five roaming who we had a stop-off with first.

In the destination field were Herdwicks specially chosen for being friendly and loving being around people. They were so gorgeous. We were asked to sit on the ground (mind the sheep poo!) and they’d come to us and, sure enough, they did!

Aren’t they the most beautiful creatures? Their faces are so beautiful and they look like they’re smiling. The white one with me was called Madge and she got very close! She also had a little munch on the toggles on the zips on my jacket. Apparently she has a fondness for toggles and zips. Thankfully I came away with them all still intact!

I could have spent hours with them but our time was up and the weather was coming in too – more rain! Getting up was a bit of a challenge – little, round authors aren’t designed for getting down on the ground and back up again without help!

You can find out more about Yew Tree Farm here and discover more about/book yourself on a Herdwick Experience here. I’d love to do it again on another visit.

We had one more day in the cottage working then packing, before heading back home. What a lovely fortnight away. We had four seasons in one week, as is often the case in the Lake District, and did lots of things we’ve never done before … but now want to do again!

Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all the photos across the blog posts.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

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