I’ve always championed Britain as a world-class adventure destination. Our rugged landscapes and challenging terrain can rival almost anywhere in the world and the unpredictable weather conditions that come as part of this only add to the adventures.
We don’t need to travel to far-flung destinations across the world to get a taste of the wild. It’s not all about world first ascents or crossing remote jungles, it’s about reconnecting with nature, which ultimately, pushes us to reconnect with ourselves.
One of my favourite places to visit in the UK is the Lake District. The adventure mecca for almost all outdoor lovers – both on land and by water – and no matter how often I return the views and landscapes presents themselves to me in an entirely new way.
On my most recent visit to the Lake District I opted to explore mostly by water – either on my paddleboard or by sea kayak (my first time in one!) I’ve paddle boarded on Derwent and Windermere but this time I dedicated my three-day visit exclusively getting under the skin Ullswater. It did not disappoint.
The spectacular views across Ullswater – both on the shore and from the water itself – provided, with clarifying force, a healthy dose of perspective as the magnitude of the mountains towered all around me.
The hotel I stayed in, Another Place - The Lake, is situated near the north tip of Ullswater where the views consist of wide, open countryside. As you look southwards the landscape transforms, by contrast, into craggy mountaintops. In the distance, on a clear day, there are views of Helvellyn on the east too.
Ullswater itself, unlike other popular lakeland spots near by, has very little boat traffic especially once peak season is over. The historic steamer (which I took a trip on during my visit) runs daily and takes an 8 mile tour of the Lake stopping at some key landmarks on the way, but when there’s so little movement on the water and no winds it’s a shame not to paddle it.
At almost the halfway point of Ullswater between north and south lies a small island about 600 metres from the shoreline. It’s completely uninhabited and just the sort of gem that’s too tempting to paddle past. I reached the island, moored my board, and climbed to the highest point – a secluded spot in the middle of Ullswater from which to look out and marvel at the panoramic views that enveloped me. There wasn't a single person or boat in sight and the road was too far in the distance to even see a car. I was completely isolated and it was incredible. When, in this day and age, do we get to experience remoteness like that?
The autumn colours along the waterline changed with altitude and were stunning. I saw shades of yellow, red and orange that you can only find on autumn leaves and is a big part of the reason this is my favourite time of year to both paddle and visit the Lakes. I could see why Wordsworth used this place as inspiration to pen his most famous poem, Daffodils, even if that was in spring.
I could write for hours about the beauty of everything I saw but I don't think I could do it justice... so here are some of the highlights from my visit to the Lake District in pictures.