Friday 14 August 2009

Road Trip: The Lake District

Perhaps it was the drizzly weather. Perhaps it was all the hype. Perhaps it was the fact that we’d previously visited Konigssee in Bavaria. Whatever the reason, The Lake District was a bit of a disappointment. Quite a big bit actually.

We drove up from Blackpool, over the hills to Windermere which, at first glance seemed quite promising. The lake, meandering around the feet of the tree-covered slopes, looked quite lovely despite the overcast skies. However, heading down to the waterfront it became rather disappointing. Bowness was swamped with coach parties and the sort of attractions designed to please them, the shore-line almost obscured by queues of people and sprawling car parks. The weather darkened with our mood, so we struck out north.

To be fair, Ambleside was picturesque, and there were occasional glimpses of beauty as we skirted the lakes, but when we reached Keswick it was impossible not to feel that the whole thing was a bit of a let-down. I’d seen so many pictures of this area, but as we came to each place and I saw it for real, I began to understand that it was skilful photography as much as the landscape that had impressed me.

As we trudged through the winding, souvenir-shop streets of Keswick, we agreed that the whole place felt like a bad copy of somewhere great – as though a businessman from the north-west had been to Austria and thought, “I could do something like that back home.”

The odd thing is, there’s already a place where mighty hills plunge down into long expanses of water, with dramatic scenery and rugged beauty, and it’s right here in the UK. Loch Lomond here we come.

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