Archive | August, 2012

Lake District Bank Holiday Loveliness

29 Aug

It was August Bank Holiday weekend, and for the third year running that meant an escape to the Lakes.

I stayed in my lovely vegan B&B Fox Hall in Kendal, which is always a pleasure, and being looked after by Sylvia and Chris always does me the world of good. It’s only 30 mins from the central Lakes so a great location for me.

I headed over on Saturday morning. The weather wasn’t great, and the Lakes were absolutely heaving. My original plan was to head into Keswick to have lunch at The Lakeland Pedlar, but Keswick was so busy and it was chucking down with rain so everyone was driving about like a nutter, that I thought I would give it a miss. I drove down to Grasmere, which was much quieter, and had a lovely bowl of soup and gf bread at Greens instead.

I then drove over to Elterwater where I parked up and walked along the Cumbria Way to Skelwith Bridge to have a coffee at Chesters by the River. Chesters make a pretty amazing coffee – probably my second favourite. First place goes to Flat White Durham mostly because I adore the barista boys and girls that work there, they are such sweeties. After coffee it was a walk in the rain back to the car, and then over to Fox Hall to check in and chill out.

Sunday morning was mixed – there were showers and the high peaks were covered in cloud. A friend from the NE drove over to join me for a walk. We set off from Grasmere and walked up to Easedale Tarn. The original plan was to head up Sergeant Man, but the cloud was right down and my walking companion was struggling a bit so we had lunch at Stickle Tarn, and then headed across the ridge to Silver How before descending to Grasmere.

It was was a really nice day’s walking, and I really enjoyed myself. We headed over to Chesters after the walk for a coffee, and some cake for my walking companion.

Bank Holiday monday dawned with torrential rain and cloud down to floor level. Frankly, it was vile.

 

I was meant to be meeting Amy for a walk. Amy now lives in St Bees, but used to live in the NE and walked with our Ramblers group. We met up, but decided the weather was far too disgusting for the walk we had originally planned so we cut the walk short and spent 2 hours in a coffee shop instead having a catch up and watching the vile weather out of the window.

After Amy headed home I went into Ambleside for a wander around the shops and a short walk in the rain. Then it was back to Fox Hall to get showered and changed before heading out for a meal. I had booked dinner at Lancrigg, the vegetarian country house hotel in Grasmere. I was thinking about booking there for Christmas this year, but wanted to go for a meal to see what the food was like before I did so.

Sadly, I was very disappointed with the food. Despite mentioning on several occasions that I was vegan and allergic to wheat I still ended up sick the next day, so can only assume that dairy or wheat some sneaked into my meal somewhere. I had the falafel for starter, which turned up with sourdough bread and had to be sent back. When it arrived back without sourdough bread it was ok, too heavy on the mint in my opinion. My main course was puy lentil shepherds pie. It was dull and too heavy on the celery – I hate celery and it was all I could taste. I make a better puy lentil shepherds pie myself, and it came with rather dull steamed veg. The portion was small and it was very disappointing. For dessert I chose the chocolate, toffee nut sundae. I was given some melted chocolate ice-cream in a glass – there was no toffee or nut as far as I could tell, just a lot of melted cheap chocolate ice cream with ice crystals in it – and they charged £6 for this?! The meal came to £30 for the three courses, and no alcohol (I don’t drink). It was exceptionally overpriced for the quality of food, and I was very, very disappointed. It was useful to go because it meant that I realised I did not want to book in for Christmas there at all. Such a shame as this was my birthday ‘treat’ meal out.

On Tuesday the weather was much much better, but it was also the day I was going home. Boooo hiss!

I decided to walk in Patterdale on the way home, so drove over to Cow Bridge and parked up the car. The walk I had planned was Dove Crag and Little Hart Crag: about 8 miles. It was magnificent.

 

It was pretty windy on the top, but I managed to hunker down behind a dry stone wall so that I could enjoy the view with my lunch. The view from the top was great because I could look down the valley to Patterdale, but also in the other direction I could look over to the Langdales, and Ambleside and Windermere – the Lake District really was laid out all around me. Fantastic.

Sadly, it was then time to go home, but I can’t be too sad because after 1 day to clean my clothes I’m off again tomorrow down to Hay-on-Wye for a night, and then on to Pembrokeshire again!

Hurrah for holidays!

 

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Vegan Food Swap Awesomeness

17 Aug

What a week it has been! I work for a University and this week was results week, which means mad, mad, mad busy and lots of statistics and phone calls from panicked students and parents, and just general madness, and very, very, very long days, and not much sleep. My desk is a disaster zone. I have been relying on Flat White Durham’s coffee, and chocolate, and porridge, and apples to see me through. And of course, lots of good music.

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All I can say is I am very pleased it is Friday and I get a couple of days to chill before mopping up next week. Friday afternoon was made so, so, so much better by the fact that my Vegan Food Swap parcel arrived from my food swap partner Rita.

To Happy Vegan’s Mitsu and Sasha started organising this for UK vegans so that we could all get to know each other, and eat awesome vegan noms at the same time. I was definitely in. 

Rita, who is my swap this month is from London. I was swapping with a lovely lady called Charlotte. Next moth we will all get someone different.

I felt a bit sorry for Rita because I’m also wheat-intolerant, but she played an absolute blinder and I opened my food parcel this afternoon to a whole host of vegan treats. The girl did good. Lots of vegan chocolate and wheat-free cookies which I couldn’t even hope to source up here in the NE of England. I am really going to enjoy digging in to them over the coming months. 

So, thanks Rita for my parcel of awesome calories! And thank you Mitsu and Sasha for organising this!

And if you are a vegan and are interested in taking part in the food swap, mosey on over to the To Happy Vegan’s website http://www.tohappyvegans.com/wordpress/uk-vegan-food-swap/ and get yourself signed up!

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Craster to Warkworh, Northumberland

12 Aug

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Gorgeous day for hiking. The sun shone, the views were spectacular, what more could you ask for?

We met at Warkworth and car shared up to Craster, where we joined the Northumberland Coastal path and headed south to Howick, then Boulmer, then Alnmouth (where we paused for lunch and an ice-cream) then onwards for the final 4 miles down the fantastic sandy beach to Warkworth.

Today it felt like summer might finally be here. 

Northumberland

5 Aug

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My parents are lucky enough to live in Northumberland, and seeing as I haven’t seen them since March I decided I had better rectify that with a weekend visit.

The weather was pretty lovely luckily and I had a lovely few days wandering along beaches with them and the dog. I managed to get a run in along the lanes on Saturday morning, but the rest of the time i just relaxed and ate far too much food. 🙂

Next week it is back into my usual training regime, but it was nice to have a relaxing weekend. 

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