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Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.

At first a boat trip on Lake Windermere did not thrill me. I was not looking forward to being squashed and pushed around on an overcrowded boat with other tourists. So I was feeling very grumpy about the whole idea of a boat tip from Ambleside to Bowness. When we arrived at the boat terminal, I relented as I was the only one of the family who would be left behind and I did not know what I would do for the next few hours. Sandy bought the tickets and then went back and obtained a separate one for me. My grandchildren found it so funny that I was being such a grumpy Grandfather especially as they were the ones who generally were told off for having a strop. We waited at the ferry terminal for the boat to arrive.

Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
The Ferry terminal at Lakehead, Ambleside.
Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
Entrance to the pier.
Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
Passengers on the boat.
Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
A view from the boat.

Whilst standing at the entrance, I met Doug who worked for the Windermere Lake cruises. We had a lively conversation and my mood started to lift. We boarded the Swan Cruise boat, found some great seats for photographs and off we went. The scenery was stunning and both little and large boats passed us by. The grandchildren loved it.

Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
Passing Low Wood Bay.
Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
Sandy with the fells behind her.
Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
Watching the boats go by.
Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
Chloe and Sian.

We disembarked at Bowness and were completely engulfed by crowds of people moving around the Lakeside. Luckily just before my mood started to return, Rob, my son in law, spotted a good place for a drink. The Lake View Bar happened to have excellent views of the lake and provided super photograph opportunities. Why had I been so grumpy about this trip?

Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
Arriving at Bowness Pier.
Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
Fun at the harbour.
Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
Watching the boats come in.
Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
Calling all boats, your time is up.

Soon it was time to return to Ambleside, so we queued up and as we were at the front we were able to get seats right at the front of the boat. We set off from Bowness passing an armada of small boats darting around the bay. Once again, we saw the beauty of the lake and the shoreline although the clouds were covering the sun. As we reached Ambleside pier, the sun showed itself and I took a quick picture of the scene with the sailing boats lined up on the far shore. The picture was featured by Look North West tonight which was a nice surprise.

Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
The return journey home to Ambleside
Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
My picture featured on Look North West Tonight.

We had pre-booked dinner at the Wateredge hotel, a place I would recommend for visiting. The rain had arrived but the hotel had allowed us to use their tipi that was set up next to the lake shore. The hotel is excellent with good food, pleasant staff and excellent service. After a tasty fish and chips accompanied by a local beer, I had forgotten about the reason why I was so grumpy earlier in the day. The photographic record was a bonus and yes I do recommend taking a boat tip on Lake Windermere 🙂

Boat tip on Lake Windermere. Ambleside to Bowness, The Lake District, August, 2023.
The public pier at Lakehead Ambleside.

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Links to the complete series of my blogs around our visit to Little Langdale in the Lake District in August 2023.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023

Our holiday base was at Lowfield House in Little Langdale. Arguably, this spot is the heart of the Lake District and is the starting point for several walks. Slater’s bridge and Cathedral Cave are both accessible in a short 45 minute walk from Lowfield House. Setting off from the house we walked past the Three Shires Pub, down a country lane and then over the fields. We quickly reached Slater’s bridge which crosses over the river Brathay. Here the river is more peaceful than Colwith Force further downstream. This bridge is made entirely of slate and dates back to the 17th Century. With the back drop of the valley and the fells on either side, this packhorse bridge was built by miners to transport materials from the nearby mines. Several pictures were taken around the bridge before we headed off to the mines.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Slater’s bridge showing the walker’s path up to Little Langdale.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Another view of this wonderful packhorse bridge.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
A picture apportunity on the bridge.

We approached the slate queries where Cathedral Cave is located and missed the accessible entrance. Instead we moved up to the higher ground finding the entrance to the top gallery that looks down on the large chamber. My daughters were not impressed with my photographer’s instinct to get the best view possible. I was not allowed near the edge which was a sheer drop down into the cave. However, I still managed some good pictures of the cave from the rock gallery.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Entering into the upper part of the cave.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Jim shines a light in the top gallery with the larger cave behind.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Rob and Natasha with the beautiful view behind them.

We explored outside looking for the entrance to the chamber. There appeared to be a precarious entrance along the rim of the quarry but after watching some walkers finding the descent difficult in the damp conditions we decided not to follow. I was a little despondent as I would have loved to have found the cave. As Sian and I walked back in front of the others, we found the entrance to the Cave. I should correct myself and say that Sian found the entrance. The group was excited as we entered into the chamber.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
People passing through the cave provide an estimation of scale.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
The central cylinder of slate with other rock deposits reflected in the water within the cave.

I was so pleased to visit the Cathedral Cave. The impressive chamber is very atmospheric with the open window in the wall allowing light into the cave. There is a large slate cylinder that appears to be supporting the ceiling. The pool of water to the back of the cave provides many reflections allowing one to appreciate the grand space of the cavern. Needless to say, I, like many photographers who visit this place, just wanted to take lots of pictures. I hope you enjoy the journey through the series of photographs that I have taken.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Jim stands at the entrance to the cave.

On the way back we passed by a ford which would be fun to drive through if you had the right type of vehicle. We followed the path home but took a quick stop at the Three Shires Inn where I enjoyed a pint of my favourite beer named after the Old Man of Coniston. The pub is not of the same character as the Sun in Coniston and the only saving feature is the beer.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
The deep ford over the river Blathey

Postscript – We enjoyed the walk so much that we took the grandchildren along the same path. They so enjoyed the bridge and the visit to the cave. They will remember this visit for a long time in the future.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Walking towards Slater’s Bridge
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Group photograph on the bridge.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Performing in Cathedral Cave.

__________

Links to the complete series of my blogs around our visit to Little Langdale in the Lake District in August 2023.

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Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023

We always plan for countryside walks or mountain climbs for our family holidays. Whilst in Scotland, we climbed Ben Lomond and when in Hereford we travelled to the Welsh border to climb the Cats Back. In the Lakes there are many fells to choose. Initially we thought of Scarfell Pike, but then chose the Old Man of Coniston due to its close proximity to our holiday home (Lowfield House, Little Langdale). This lakeland fell is an old favourite of mine and there are well marked climbing paths to the top. I have done the easier route twice that passes by Goat’s water. We decided to take the direct route that leaves Walna Scar car park taking walkers through Coppermines valley and past Low Water to the north of the mountain.

Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
The early stages of the climb with Natasha and Rob. Lake Coniston is in the background.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
The weather was poor at the start but the sun is breaking through.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Dramatic views start to appear as you ascend the mountain.

We set off in driving rain and were getting seriously wet when luckily the weather broke as we reached the Copper Mines. The industrial remnants of the slate quarries and copper mines are now a conversation area. The place is fascinating and lends itself to several photographic opportunities. There are large copper cables to climb over or duck under. The slate miners must have been very hardy workers. I found an article on what life must have been like living and working around Coniston. Whilst on a good day the views are impressive, I would not want to be here during inclement weather. The mines provided a great backdrop for photographs with the mountains in the background.

Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Tram tracks at the mine provide leading lines to the view.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Remains of old industrial equipment.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
More industrial remnants.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Pulleys used to put the trams
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
A welcome rest for Jim, Sian and Rob.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Slates with a view

Our next stop was the picturesque tarn of Low Water where we saw the cloud line that we would be entering as we continued the climb. The final push to the top was gruelling with the rocks wet and slippery. The path became indistinct in places.

Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Jim poses at Low water tarn.

Despite the misty conditions, we reached the top and had a selfie picture by the slate tarn. I brought all my big camera equipment except for the remote release button. The wind was strong and kept knocking the camera and travel tripod over. Luckily a fellow walker was at hand to steady the camera and push the button. Visibility was poor and we decided the best course of action was to go down the way we came up. We quickly came out of the cloud and the views over Lake Coniston appeared before us.

Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
We reached the summit. Congratulations.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Return to the mines on the way down.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
One of the climbers we met on the route down.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
Mines and slates.

We did the Old Man in 3 hours 15 minutes which we considered a good time for our climb. We drove down into Coniston. The place to rest and catch up with food and drink is the well known Sun pub. The Sun “above” Coniston, as it is also known, is both warm and welcoming with excellent food and beer. The inside bar area has lots of character including a fireplace were we were able to dry out in front of the fire. Then we settled down to talk about the climb, look at the pictures and enjoy a hearty meal. A visit to the Lakes is not complete without climbing one of the fells and reminiscing on your adventures in the pub.

Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
The Sun above Coniston.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
The cosy interior of the Sun.
Climbing the Old Man of Coniston, Lake District, August 2023
A ploughman’s lunch washed down with the local beer.

Many thanks for the company of my fellow family climbers Natasha, Sian, Rob and Jim.

________

Links to the complete series of my blogs around our visit to Little Langdale in the Lake District in August 2023.

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