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09 July 2011

The Lake District: Climbing to the Top of England

Day 40: Wednesday, 29 June 2011

England's Lake District is well-known for having the most scenic areas in the country. And in my 3 days there, I must whole-heartedly agree! There whole area is full of rolling hills and mountains, sheep grazing, slate-exterior cottages, and quaint towns that provide a perfect postcard of English countryside!

I spent one night in Manchester, and then I took a morning train to Windermere, a town right on the lake of the same name. My friend Nick picked me up (in his car - yes!) with his girlfriend Vicky and his flatmate Claire. We grabbed some lunch at a carvery, a kind of restaurant where you get roast meat served to you as you want, with veggies and yorkshire pudding.

We dropped my stuff off at the apartment, and then drove to Keswick (pronounced "kezzik"), where we got some food from Booths to prepare for our hike the next day - we were hiking up Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England!

The evening was spent at the pub, the Golden Rule, which was quaint, amazingly English, and which had some amazing local ale! We played some darts (the game was "killers").

Day 41: Thursday, 30 June 2011

Living each day like it's your last is exhausting!

Climbing Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England. The hike took 8 hours total - which was by far the longest hike I have ever done in my life, but it was not bad at all. There were 6 of us - me, Nick, Vicky, Hailey, Stephen, and Adam. It was a long hike, and the trail mostly took us over rocky terrain. The weather was mostly cooperative, with a brief 15-minute shower clearing to variable clouds and sun. The final stretch of the hike was a steep scramble over jagged rocks. It was breezy and chilly at the top. But we had made it - the top of England.

Clouds shrouded the peak, so I couldn't really see across to Ireland, but I did catch glimpses of Scotland to the north. The views were nevertheless impressive, across verdant green landscape, mostly covered in grass due to over grazing. There were lots of ferns and water trickling onto the stones. The hike was somewhat tiring, likely exacerbated by my lack of appropriate footwear (and I also borrowed Claire's waterproof jacket and Nick's hiking pants).

So upon returning to the resort where we started our hike, drinks on the picnic tables outside were definitely in order! Hailey then drove us on to a nearby pub where we had some grub for dinner. And finally, Nick, Vicky and I took advantage of our full access to the

Day 42: Friday, 1 July 2011

Exhausted from our long climb the day before, we agreed to sleep in and have a lazy morning - so I wasn't up and about till about 11am. Nick drove us to Chesters, an upscale cafe/restaurant next to the river, where we had cakes and hot chocolate, then explored the nearby riverfront and adjoining gift shop.

Nick had work in the afternoon, so he dropped Vicky and me off next to the lake (Rydal). We skipped some stones before Nicke left and Vicky and I walked back, seeing some cool caves along the way.

I wanted to make dinner for Nick as a token of my appreciation, and burgers sounded just right, so Vicky and I bought the ingredients (moving from store to store to find the right bread) and returned to the flat to relax.

We ended up watching Wimbledon for a couple hours with Claire and Kyle (Andy Murray lost in the men's semifinals to Rafael Nadal), and then we all walked to the lakeside hostel for a drink by the water. Owen and Tasha (with her baby Georgie) joined us.

It was nice and the ale was good yet again. Vicky and I soon left to start preparing dinner. I made small burgers with a slice of cheese in each patty, and Belgian-style fries, which turned out really well.

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