What better way to explore the newly awarded World Heritage site, the Lake District than on a Mountain Goat sightseeing tour. We might be a little biased, but we think they are pretty great! During the winter months Mountain Goat runs 2 tours, one being the, the Ten Lakes Spectacular tour, visiting 10 lakes along the way.
Heading out on a cold, crisp January morning the minibus left the Windermere Information Centre about 9.30am, the fog was settled over Lake Windermere and we weren’t sure how the weather would pan out for the day. As we started climbing into the fells towards Troutbeck the fog started to disperse and the sun started to peek out. From Troutbeck, there wasn’t much of Lake Windermere to see, as it was covered in fluffy white clouds. Driving through Troutbeck a quaint Lake District village sat on the hills above Windermere, our guide pointed out attractions including Townend, a National Park owned house and the numerous roadside wells. In Troutbeck we stopped for a photo opportunity before heading onto Kirkstone Pass, the oldest pass in England, at 1,489 ft high. Driving over Kirkstone pass, your belly summersaults with every twist and turn. Making our descent towards Ullswater we stopped for another photo opportunity, with views over the fells and Ullswater in the distance, you could be mistaken for a summer’s day.
Heading towards Patterdale we past lake number two, Brotherswater and then onto Ullswater where we stopped at the information centre for 15 minutes, just enough time for a coffee and a cake!
From Ullswater it was a 45 minute drive to Keswick, from there we headed to Ashness bridge and Surprise view, which had spectacular views over Derwentwater below and the snow-capped mountains beyond.
The route then took us to Borrowdale where we were greeted by a red squirrel, the route was meant to continue over Honister Pass to Buttermere and Cummock water but due to icy conditions the road was impassable. From there we headed back to Keswick for our lunch stop, we had about an hour free time in Keswick to get our lunch and look around the town centre. Keswick is a market town well known for being the home of the first led pencil, the town centre is filled with traditional English pubs, Lakeland cafes serving afternoon teas and shops selling local chocolate, cheese, cakes and soaps.
From Keswick we travelled to Castlerigg Stone Circle, this stone circle is amongst some of the earliest in the UK, dating back to 3000 BC, with a number of myths surrounding the construction. Castlerigg is perched upon a small hill surrounded by dramatic fells making for an atmospheric visit.
Our next destination was Grasmere, the route took us through the heart of the Lake District passing Thirlmere Reservoir and then onto Grasmere, once the home of William Wordsworth. Here you can try the local delights of Sarah Nelsons Gingerbread, the recipe for this delicious Gingerbread is over 160 years old and it can only be bought at the shop in Grasmere.
On the return to Windermere we past Grasmere and Rydal Water, as we’d missed out on Buttermere and Cummock Water due to the impassable road we headed to Elter Water, located in Great Langdale. We returned to Windermere approximately 4.15pm, this is a fabulous tour suitable all ages, for locals and tourists alike.