Legend and Poetry – walking holiday, day one – Glenridding

People who care about where we go on holiday have soon grown tired of our answers. It’s always Lake District. Luckily, Lake District is big enough, so patient ones will try again: “where in Lake District?” But it’s always the same answer: Ullswater. I will not get tired of Ullswater. Plus we were going on the “legend and poetry” Helvellyn this time as well.

13 August 2013

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Travel from Newcastle to Glenridding was a journey by train, train and bus. I used to call the bus journey “the most beautiful in England”. If you remember, in this post about our hiking trip from Ullswater, I wrote: “Bus 108 from Penrith to Patterdale (Glenridding) is officially my favourite bus journey all over the UK… I compare Bus 108 with the famous Wardrobe of C.S.Lewis. It takes you to a different world. We got on the bus at an ordinary train station of a normal town (though not unlovely at all). It carried us over a bridge, across a field and next thing you know is the breathtakingly beautiful Lakeland view.” That was in March this year, an unusually cold spring. The mountains hugging the Lake were all covered in snow, the trees along the banks were bare, the air was crisp and icy. It was magical. But either my memory distorted the fact or the beautiful fact of snowy Ullswater changed, it didn’t not look as magical this time. Every tree is green, every patch of mountain side is a different degree of green. Of course, it’s mid summer.

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Glenridding was buzzing with people: kayaks and sailing boats sliding across the water, buses and cars coming and going, walking sticks knocking on the paths gives a pleasant rhythm, still water reflecting a father and a son fishing silently. There was a hint of friendly excitement in the air. Like a secret everyone knew but did not say outloud. Everyone looked at each other with a smile on his face and a “hello” ready for whoever walk towards him. We sat on the grass under a tree. How many people are going up Helvellyn tomorrow? I asked myself and felt very happy, as if I was part of that secret.

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Accommodation: Glenridding Youth Hostel

The path went up to Glenridding Youth Hostel was beautiful. But the Youth Hostel itself was really not the best Youth Hostel we’ve stayed in. Our room was OK. But the common area was really dirty (e.g. the self-catering kitchen). The worst of all, the day we arrived, the water was cut off. There was no water for that night and the day following. There was no way to take a shower or brush our teeth. There was no way to have breakfast either. The staff were collecting water from the stream to flush the toilet. There were two people in yellow jackets at the stream when we were on our way up to Helvellyn. We found out in the evening that they had dammed the stream above the Youth Hostel, therefore no water came to us. It was all fixed by the time we came back in the evening.

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