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21 Sep 2020
by Tracey Gannon
The Lake District recently ranked amongst the top most desired staycation destinations in the UK.
And it’s easy to understand why. It’s the place to be as summer draws to a close, with the last of the warmer weather attracting people to our lake shores, water and mountains for swimming, sailing, walking, picnics and ice creams. Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire is running a full summer service until November and warmly welcomes you on board.
At a time when we’re all encouraged to meet outdoors and to keep windows open, Stagecoach Cumbria go one better by using open top buses on some of their routes in the Lakes. The 599 runs up to every 20 minutes between Bowness, Windermere, Brockhole, Ambleside and Grasmere and the 78 serves Borrowdale from Keswick up to every half an hour. A range of flexible tickets are available and can be pre-paid via the Stagecoach app or Contactless on boarding the bus.
Relax on the 599 for breathtaking views of England’s largest lake - do you agree with Stagecoach’s claim that the view from Low Wood Bay across Windermere towards Langdale is the best view from a bus?
If you already feel relaxed, jump on and off the 599 whenever you get the urge to explore, rejoining the bus further on.
There are a range of deservedly popular low, high, short and long footpaths between Rydal and Grasmere: among them, the Coffin Route on the hillside above Rydal Water, the lakeshore path on the north side of the lake and the Loughrigg Terrace path above the southern side of Rydal Water and Grasmere. Bring swimwear if you fancy a spot of wild swimming, in Grasmere or Rydal Water, or head for the delightful café Faeryland for delicious scones and finest quality loose leaf teas just yards from the shore at Grasmere. Enjoy the swans from a safe distance or perhaps a paddle boat, to get out on the water.
You may instead take one of many Stagecoach buses to Ambleside and head off through the cooling woods surrounding Stock Ghyll Beck and its waterfalls, then out onto the hillside of Wansfell for spectacular views of the fells and Windermere. As you’ve chosen the bus there’s no need to head back to the car park. Instead, walk down to Troutbeck for the stunning pub garden at The Mortal Man, or indulge in a cream tea outside The Old Post Office.
Feeling adventurous or needing to walk off that lunch? Then head out past the little and lovely Jesus Church at Troutbeck en route to Holehird Gardens – home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society. Jesus Church boasts a spectacular stained glass window designed in 1873 by William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox and Holehird’s Walled Garden is a must-see in the summer months when the flaming reds and golds of crocosmia and rudbeckia reach peak heat. From Holehird, proceed to Orrest Head and an opportunity to pay homage to the view that famously triggered 23 year old Alfred Wainwright’s 61 year old love affair with the fells of the Lake District, inspiring him to write the iconic Pictorial Guides that have brought millions to the region.
On the 78 from Keswick, you can jump off the bus for a stroll up to Ashness Bridge, an ancient packhorse bridge over turbulent waters with fantastic views of Skiddaw, viewed from the bridge. Walk up through woods to the aptly if unimaginatively named “Surprise View” high above Derwent Water. Admire the whole of Derwent Water stretched out below and stunning views of the surrounding fells with Skiddaw and Catbells among them. Could it be anything but surprising?
Head back for the bus, jumping on and off en route to Seatoller for any number of hotels, cafes and pubs – some in the gentle and picturesque riverside villages of Grange and Rosthwaite in the famed ‘jaws’ of the Borrowdale valley.
Still have energy to spare? Then stride out from Rosthwaite for the tarn at Watendlath or stay on the bus to Seatoller, from where you can walk back to the ancient fort at Castle Crag, also accessible from Rosthwaite.
For the truly intrepid there’s also Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountain – accessible on foot from Seatoller. It’s up to you what and how much you do when you’re keeping your options as well as windows open.