After 2 hours of driving we arrived in glorious sunshine at Coniston Park Coppice Caravan Club site, 2 minutes after the designated arrival time, spot on for us and there wasn’t anyone in front so we booked in quite quickly.
The arrival of Pod resulted in smiling faces pushed up against the office windows and cars stopping on their way out to take pictures, even to the extent one lady had her husband moving back and forward till she obtained the desired shot. Did wonder where that picture would end up, might see it one day floating round the Internet, who knows.
We were given a layout of the site and set off to find the perfect pitch for Pod, winding our way down through the trees we got to see how huge the site was. It was very well laid out with small terraces on different levels containing varied amounts of pitches and all in different directions. Most of the trees were still bare, the odd ones in bud gave a small insight in to what it would look like in the summer. It already lent itself to a revisit in a few months time.
With 262 pitches and 3 toilet block we were spoilt for choice but eventually picked one down on the lower levels and nearer to Coniston Water. Didn’t take us long and we soon had Pod set up, kettle on and lunch on the table. We couldn’t believe how fortunate we were with the weather and the forecast looked promising so we planned to climb Scafell Pike in the morning.
We had all afternoon in front of us so we decided to go for a walk and look for a local pub selling local beer, it appeared to be coming a ritual on arrival and a bit of a challenge, with camera in hand we headed down to the waterfront and into Coniston.
The path took us towards the lake and through a campsite that belonged to Coniston Hall, there were a few tents and motorhomes on site, but not too busy. As we walked through the fields full of cattle and sheep we could see the hall, with its impressive chimneys the house stood out on the lake side.
Through the farm gates and onto the well made path we eventually found ourselves walking past the petrol station and into the village, there were three pubs in view and after checking them out from the outside we headed inside The Black Bull Hotel.
As you walk in the walls are covered in Bluebird, Coniston Water and Donald Campbell memorabilia, continue to the bar and you are met with a grand array of locally brewed beers and ales, we say locally and in this case it couldn’t get any nearer as its brewed on site. Perfect. The walls also displayed all the brewery awards and the strengths ranged from 4% to 8% and we decided upon a pint of Old Man and Bluebird XB, both around the 4% mark.
The sun hadn’t disappeared as yet so we sat out the front of the pub and watched the world go by. Our seats soon disappeared into shade so we seat hopped along doing our best to remain in the sun as it slowly dipped behind the building line.
Th first two pints went down very well, so much so we decided to delay dinner and stay for another, it was LadyB’s birthday the following day and we saw no harm in starting the celebrations a day early.
Decision made we changed our pints to Oatmeal Stout and Barley Wine, the plan being to share as the Barley Wine was of the higher strength. Both were going down a dream whilst we chatted to one of the bar staff discussing the varieties on offer and the effects of too much of one particular type could have on the body, think you know what we mean. He disappeared to return moments later with two small glasses the contents of which were a mix of the stout and wine, we tentatively sipped on the contents to be pleasantly surprised, it mellowed out the stout and sweetened the barley wine.
Due to us being in a mellow and content state of mind we decided dinner cooked and cleaned up by someone else sounded even better, so we moved into the pub to see what food was on offer.
The selection was small but looked extremely good, always pleases us to see smaller menus as it usually means it’s al freshly prepared. The food was delicious, Cumberland sausage cooked to perfection and the ale battered cod was amazing, we say amazing because LB has tried a variety of battered fish dishes and this was the thinnest, crispiest batter she had ever eaten.
We left The Black Bull feeling extremely chilled out and satisfied, we would definitely give it a return visit and if it was our local we would be regulars there, no doubting that at all.
As the sun set our walk took us back through the farm to Pod and after our hot showers we climbed into Pod and soon fell asleep under the duvet.
After the obligatory birthday cake picture with LB the maps were checked, lunches packed and off we went, the drive wasn’t too far to our starting point but the drive up Hardknott Pass was an experience in itself, extremely steep and some very tight bends which we took not knowing what was on the other side.
Once on the other side of the Pass we found Jubilee Bridge and a small carpark on the side of the road, there were a few cars parked and the odd one arriving as we kitted up, Poddington included.
We walked over the bridge and took a right at the telephone box, this took us through a farm to a small river and over a little wooden bridge to another farm Taw House. Once through the gates we began a very slow climb to the foot of Brock Crag, once here we bore left up and over towards Silverybield Crag, the walk then took us downwards to the river Esk.
The weather was glorious, not a cloud in the sky. It was so quiet, not another soul to be seen and with no wind, not even a breeze to disturb the surrounding stillness we walked into the valley below and past the Central Pillar.
Once we decided at which point we were going to climb up we took the opportunity to have a bite to eat and recharge our batteries a little, we found a spot in the shade as the sun was beginning to burn, we were prepared for every eventuality except sunburn.. typical !
Refreshed and slightly cooler we began the climb up Chambers Crag, the path wasn’t that clear so to start we followed the river up, after about two thirds of the way up the path was found and the scramble up continued.
The large boulders turned to shingle and at some points two steps forward became one step back. Pockets of snow appeared in crevices hidden from the sun and we couldn’t resist leaving our hand prints behind.
Eventually we reached the ridge and Scafell Pike was to our left, with one last push we scrambled over a few more rocks to reach the summit in fabulous sunshine.
Stood on the top we took in the sites surrounding us when without any warning a Hawk trainer fighter jet flew straight at us and directly over us. Felt like we could have reached out and touched it it was so low, the noise was deafening and shook us to the bone.
At this point MB said he had arranged it for LB’s birthday, if he had it couldn’t have gone better.
Pictures taken and then the map was out again to decide on a route down, we opted for the path down Mickledore, it was a steep decent but no different than Chambers Crag.
As we passed the Mountain Rescue stretcher hut we looked up to Scafell, it loomed over us on the way down and the sun was still beating down so the shadow cast by it was very welcoming.
Once back at the car and de-kitted we sat on the open tailgate of the car and took in the river below whilst munching away on apples we had kept from our picnic, LB then checked the walking app we use to log our walks and it revealed we had just done over 18 kilometres and the pattern was that of a balloon. Perfect image for a birthday walk up to the top of England’s peak.
As we rolled through the caravan site it was good to see Pod waiting for us and it wasn’t long before a stir-fry and steak was on the table.
No alarm was set so we woke around 8am, we were both feeling the effects from our walk the previous day so neither of us were in a rush to leave the coziness of Pods bed. The furthest we went for the first hour was the kettle for a cup of tea at which point we became aware of sunburn to heads and shoulders. Quite funny really, a few weeks earlier we had been up the snow covered mountains of Snowdon and had been better wrapped up than an Eskimo.
Eventually we clambered out into the awning and sat at the table with all the doors open to allow the heat from the sun to enter, breakfast was eaten basking in sunshine. It didn’t look like The Old Man was on the cards for today so a lazy slow morning around Pod was decided upon.
Lunchtime was approaching and with the lake only metres away from us we packed a small lunch and headed out for a stroll along the banks to find a spot for a picnic, but first, we had to walk into Coniston for a hat, MB’s sunburn wouldn’t take another day of sun.
Hat found for a fiver we walked towards the Pier and the path, there were a few souvenir type shops on the way and one was selling ice cream, MB had a Mint Choc Chip and LB plumbed for a Witherslack Damson Ripple which sounded like something out of a Harry Potter book.
A spot to sit was found on the bank, just under a tree for some shade. Feeling very relaxed the temptation to lie down and close our eyes just for a few minutes was very overwhelming but clouds were starting to appear, nothing to spoil the day but you could feel the temperature drop when the sun disappeared behind one.
Suitably refreshed we made a decision to walk on a little further and went onto Torver Common, this led into a wooded area and began to take us slightly up hill, nothing too strenuous but enough to give us a better view of the lake.
Once into open grassland we checked the time and realised we had walked farther than we’d planned so we turned and began to walk back. All the little bays we passed were so inviting, little stone beaches, secluded and perfect for spending the day on.
Back at Pod, early for a change, we sat out in the sun and checked our wonderful walking app to discover we had walked 13 kilometres, our stroll had turned into something else entirely, we don’t seem capable of doing ‘short’.
Sweet and sour chicken for dinner as we reflected on our 3 nights away, they went by far too fast but were extremely successful and enjoyable, we’d set out to do Scafell Pike and had the most fabulous weather to do it in.
Bed time arrived and before we knew it morning joined us and it was time to pack up and head home. It looked like another glorious day ahead as we slowly dismantled the awning and put everything away in Pod.
As we drove away it looked liked we’d never been there, but we would definitely return.