Sunday, 24 February 2013

Whitbarrow Holiday Village - Penrith 16th February - 23 February 2013

16th February 2013.

This is not one of our Campervan outings.

We are staying at Whitbarrow Holiday Village, near Penrith, Cumbria, for a week, courtesy of Gary and Susana.

First impressions are very favourable, there is no reason why we should expect otherwise, we have previously stayed at a similar place, with Gary, Susana and Gabriel, near Bude, Devon, and it was equally impressive.

This time there is just the two of us, and we have a studio apartment in the main building, which also houses the Reception area, Swimming Pool, Sauna, Gym, Restaurant and Bar.

Our apartment consists of a living area, with

- seating area
- TV
- Radio
- DVD player

We are on the first floor, so, we have a French Doors, leading onto a small balcony with seats and a table.

The weather is fine and sunning, so, I think there will be some wine drinking on the Balcony in the course of the next week!

Our view looks out over the front of the main building.

Enough of the fun, back to the practicalities, we also have a  kitchen area with fridge, freezer, dish washer, hob, microwave and sink, plus a dining area, sleeping area and of course a bathroom.

Sunday, 17th February 2013

Looks like it is going to be a nice day.

Being Sunday, that means Church for Kathleen. We drive into Penrith so Kathleen can go to the Catholic Church there.

Meanwhile, I explore the town, check out the likely eating places, and look for any other "interesting" things.

To be honest, there is not a lot to Penrith, but, it is a fairly pleasant little town, one of those places you pass frequently, but seldom stop at.

I did learn one interesting little thing about Penrith. It is one of the few settlements in the UK, which was not founded by a water source. In the 14th century, local monks diverted a small nearby river to provide an adequate supply of water to the the growing town. This was particularly necessary since the local industries, including leather tanning, used a lot of water, and created significant polution. Amazing what you learn, just by wandering about isn't it?

After a good Sunday lunch, it was back to Whitbarrow, to exercise off some of the pounds, by walking in the grounds on such a nice day.

Monday, 18th February 2013

Another fine and sunny day, although a little cold. We are being lucky with the weather so far.

We drive to Glenridding on Ullswater, and take the steamer to Howtown.

A bit exhorbitant in my opinion, £3 to park, and, £6.80 each, one way, to Howtown, no concessions for Pensioners, how dare they?

But, I suppose, I should not complain, with views like this, not bad for £16 and a bit of effort is it really?

The walk back from Howtown to Glenridding is approximately 6.5 undulating miles, and is beautifully scenic, indeed the walk book describes it as "one of the Lake Districts finest walks".

Despite the fact that a number of other walkers got off the ferry with us at Howtown, the walk was not crowded. As each pair set off at their own pace, they were all soon dispersed over the length of the walk.

You do not pass any potential eating places, you need to be prepared and bring your lunch with you!

This is not a "hard" walk, the walk book describes it as "moderate", but, we are a bit out of condition, so, a dip in the pool, a Sauna and a spell in the Jacuzzi eases our aching muscles on our return.

Tuesday, 19th February 2013

Another crisp, dry and bright day, we head back to Glenridding.

Today, having "broken ourselves in" gently with a lakeside walk yesterday, we decide on a slightly more strenuous walk.

To be fair, this walk is only 3.5 miles, and is described in the book as "easy". Hmm, this leaves only three possibilities:

a) we are totally unfit.
b) We did the wrong walk.
c) The book is wrong.

We park at the steamer quay in Genridding and walk up an eastern valley of Helvellyn toward Red Tarn.

Yes, that figure in the distance is Kathleen, striding on ahead.

It is a magnificent sunny winters day, crisp, cold, and dry, this is quite strenuous, but, on a day like today, the views are stunning.
You would hardly know it now, but once Greenside had one of the most profitable Lead Mines in the North of England. It was in production from the mid 18th century to the mid 20th century.

Some of the former mine buildings have been converted to Hostel style accomodation for visitors.

yes, that is Kathleen again, always in the lead, even although I have the map and instructions!

Wednesday, 20th February 2013

After yesterdays rather strenuous efforts, we settle for the easier but no less beautiful Wordsworth Walk around Grasmere and Rydal Water.

Described as "moderate" and 4.5 miles by the walk book, I would say that is a fair assessment. In our case, we probably did at least an extra mile because of parking problems, even in February.

We have done this walk many times before, but, it is no less enjoyable for that.

For all it is a walk around two lakes, it does have some quite steep climbs, just to get your blood circulating!

Part of the route is a supposed "coffin route", ie, a route used to carry the dead for burial in the nearest church. Personally, I think it would have been easier to build another (nearer) church, than to lug a coffin along this path!

Thursday, 21st February 2013

Dodd Wood and Bassenthwaite.

A walk from a different book, which does not give ratings such as "easy", "moderate" etc. This walk is relatively short at 1.5 miles. It involves a steep climb at the very start, followed by a gradual descent, a short rapid descent, followed by a walk through meadows.

The walk starts at Mirehouse carpark, and climbs steeply into the woods, before running along a ledge parallel to the road below with views over Bassenthwaite where the trees thin enough to allow this.

The walk is meant for a lazy summers day, and in fairness, the book does say that. Today is bright and sunny, but with a bitterly cold east wind.

Walking through the woods is sheltered from the wind, but, is also in the shadow, so the ground is still frozen hard.

Soon we are in meadows by the lake shore, and we come to a church, stuck absolutely in the middle of nowhere!

This is St Braga's Church, dating back to the 12th century. It is the village church for Basenthwaite Village, which is some 3 miles away! They must have been envisaging a very large church yard when they built this, is all I can say!

Easy (but cold!) walking along the lake shore to Mire House, which, if you like that kind of thing, you can visit, for an extra charge of course.

We settle for admiring the snow drops.

Friday, 22nd February 2013

We have had a very good run of weather, but, today, our luck has run out, very cold with snow flurries and an overcast sky.

It is decided we will go to Carlisle, the nearest town of any size.

What is the fascination with women and shopping?

At least it was indoors, dry and moderately warm, Kathleen bought something, (a pair of shorts, in preparation for our next campervan trip) so  everyone (?) was happy.

I will settle for pointing out that, we took the "obvious" route there, ie out onto the M6 and north to Carlisle. On the return, mainly because we were parked to the south west of the town centre and we wanted to avoid the town centre traffic, we followed a much smaller road courtesy of the Sat-Nav, much shorter, and almost traffic free, before we know it, we are back at Greystoke, and then Whitbarrow.

Saturday, 23rd February 2013.

Home again, heavy snow falling as we pass Newcastle on the Western By-pass, when will winter end?

But, we have had a wonderful week, thank you Gary, Susana and Gabriel.


  1. Just trying out a comment, since some people have had difficulty posting comments

  2. Now another one, hopefully, with a name

  3. ken.reay@talktalk.net13 March 2013 at 11:10

    Above, comment was with my Google Account, try another now, with Name/URL