One of the most popular outdoor locations in the UK is the Lake District. It’s a national park in the northwest of England covering a total area of 2,362 km² and it’s breathtaking!
I have been wanting to go camping in the Lake District for some time, but due to its popularity, I was struggling to secure a pitch.
I ideally wanted to be located in one of the main areas, such as near lake Windermere or Ullswater, but the campsites I contacted just didn’t have the availability.
This led me to book a week in the unknown area of Ravenglass, on the far west side.
In the run-up to my adventure, I felt tired and unmotivated. In all honesty, I would have been more excited if I could have just slept for a week! And to rub a bit of salt into my wounds, the weather forecast was predicting heavy rain all week.
But here I am, writing this post, so obviously I stopped being melodramatic, got myself together, and went anyway.
…and here’s what happened.
Monday came, and thankfully, there was no rain! (Never trust the weatherman!)
After a 3.5hour drive, we arrived and pitched our temporary home from home at the Camping and Caravanning Club site.
It was a decent-sized campsite and we were located at the back on the top of a hill surrounded by other tent dwellers.
Even though I had numerous people pitched all around me, and I could hear every word from approximately 5 other tents at any one given moment (along with the background noise of a lot of sheep), I never felt ‘penned in’ or disturbed in any way. Maybe, just maybe, I’m becoming more people-friendly!!
Side Note: I need to mention that my pitch had superb ground!! This sounds very trivial, but trust me, ground matters, especially when you’re banging numerous tent pegs into it. I bent approximately 10 tent pegs on my last camping trip!
Did you know that the Lake District has a beach?
No? Neither did I!
When you think of the Lake District you think of mountains, and, well, lakes. You do not think of the beach. But after we had pitched our tent, Winston (my dog) and I walked out of the campsite, and within no more than 5-minutes, we were on a beach!
…and since nobody goes to the Lake District to go to the beach, it was blissfully quiet.
We eyed up the signs for the coastal walk, done a spot of rock-pooling, and found some unlucky washed-up jellyfish.
I have to admit that this made Ravenglass a little gem of a location. Turn right out of the campsite and you’re heading up a mountain, turn left out of the campsite and you’re strolling along a beach.
I even Googled house prices in the area because I was so blown away by the location. It really does have the best of both worlds.
Oh, I should also mention that there is a steam railway in Ravenglass, affectionately known as ‘The Ratty’, which allows you to chug along through 7-miles of scenery in an open viewing carriage!
Although dogs are allowed, I don’t think it’s an experience that Winston would enjoy, so we didn’t go for a ride.
…but he still took some selfies with the train!
You can find out more about the train and the service it offers here – https://ravenglass-railway.co.uk/
Tuesday morning hike
Around the campsite, I kept hearing an ‘S-Trail’ mentioned. I Googled it but couldn’t find a local trail going by that name so I went to the campsite reception to see if they could tell me where it went.
Turns out, it’s called the ‘Esk Trail’ and it’s a 9-mile route originally designed for cyclists, but you can walk it. The kind gentleman gave me a map and this was to be our Tuesday morning hike.
About a third of the way through the trail I was BORED! Even my dog was lacking in his usual off-the-chart level of enthusiasm.
The route was uninteresting.
It’s well-signposted, which probably added to my boredom. A hike isn’t exciting unless you run the risk of getting lost or wandering off-track a few times.
And then to make things better, this happened to me…
(My hiking route was blocked by foresty work when I was Camping in Rhandirmwyn, Wales.)
On this occasion, I could re-route, but I would have to re-traipse my steps for about 1-hour and then take another track which ran almost parallel to the one that was blocked, and then walk another hour to get back to roughly where I was.
That’s about a 4-6mile detour!
No thank you!
I’m going back to the campsite.
I turned around and started to hike back home in a strop.
After about 30-minutes of walking, I decided to make one last-ditch effort to get something out of the hike. I knew that I wasn’t going to continue all the way to the end, but I did notice Muncaster Fell located on my map which was almost on the way home – just a slight detour.
We struggled and sweated our way to the top, but boy, those views were worth it!!
360-degrees of Great British Countryside…with a beach in the distance thrown in for good measure.
The day was saved.
Early morning kayak
I remember the first time I drove by Wast Water lake. I almost could not believe my eyes and I just had to stop my car, get out, take it all in, and snap a few photos.
Since getting my kayak, I knew that I wanted to go for a paddle on that lake at some point.
Well, this was going to be that day!!
Wast Water was only a 20-minute drive from the Ravenglass campsite so I made sure to pack my kayak in the roof box of my mini-adventure van.
I knew parking around the lake can be difficult, so the plan was to get there early. After a 6am alarm and a quick breakfast, we were driving out of the campsite and on our way.
We were one of the first at the lake and managed to bag a premium car parking spot with good entry into the water and some space around the van so I could inflate in the kayak.
After pumping up my ‘1-man and dog’ banana boat and strapping on our personal floatation devices, we headed down to the water.
Kayaking on that lake was the highlight of my trip.
When paddling, I could look over the side of the kayak and see the bottom of the lake through the clear water, and then look up at the steep mountains that surrounded us.
The place is stunningly beautiful; Mother Nature at her best.
Time almost stood still.
Once I started to tire (and it doesn’t take long) we headed back to shore.
As we were getting out of the water, wild swimmers and paddleboarders were entering the water. It was a hot day and I was tempted to go for a swim myself but I didn’t have any suitable change of clothes – so it’s on the bucket list for next time.
…Winston got to go for a dip though!
The Euros semi-final
That evening, England was set to play Denmark in the semi-finals of The UEFA European Football Championship.
Personally, I’m not a football fan, but I still felt the need to watch.
After spending the afternoon laying around in the sun with my 4-legged friend…
…I got myself showered and wrapped up in my sleeping bag ready for the 8pm kick-off.
There was a group of lads in one of the nearby tents who were also streaming the match. However, their streaming service was a few seconds ahead of mine because I could hear them celebrating before we had even scored!
The good news is that England won the semi-finals 2-1.
The bad news is that England lost in the final against Italy during penalties, but the team went the whole way. It really was a superb effort!
On our final day of exploring, after going back to bed for long morning snoozes, I decided to go and hunt down a castle.
If you were a normal person, you could drive to said castle, park up, walk through the entrance gates, and boom, there’s your castle.
I, however, am not that boring!
My plan was to follow the coastal path into the castle grounds and keep my fingers crossed that I could get to the actual castle.
The day started as planned and luck was on our side; the tide was out meaning that the full coastal path was accessible.
I don’t think it’s a popular walking route since most of the time I felt as though we were in the middle of nowhere with not much of a track to follow. But after a few hops, skips, and jumps through and over various obstacles, we managed to continue in the right direction.
We successfully arrived into the castle grounds and kept our eye peeled for a castle; can’t be hard to miss!
Eventually, we got glimpses of it through the tops of some trees, which was around about the same time we saw little blue signs saying ‘Ticket Holders Only.’
I did not have a ticket.
Winston did not have a ticket.
But we wanted to see the castle.
….and those signs were really small and easy to miss….
…we sneaked up one of the paths, through the manicured gardens, and took a few snaps of the castle.
We got to an open iron gate, and through it, I could see ticket-holding tourists and a few security guards/castle staff.
That was our cue to inconspicuously slip back out the way we came.
Another one bites the dust!
…and just like that, another week was over and our adventure had come to an end.
In hindsight, I’m glad that I didn’t get the campsite location I wanted. Ravenglass is a hidden gem in the Lake District and I don’t think I could have had a better time, even if I was in one of the main areas.
I have no more camping adventures booked for the foreseeable future. I’ll be spending the rest of July and all of August at home working on a new passive income stream, but we may venture out again in September so watch this space!
In the meantime, let me know of any adventure plans that you have coming up in the comments below.
P.S. We will still be heading out on some smaller day adventures. After all, we can’t waste a whole month working!
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