I arrived in the Lake District on Thursday afternoon to this view - if that wasn't enough to tempt me out onto the water on my paddle board, nothing would be.
I'd driven for almost four hours and although it was getting late in the day I wanted to stretch my legs. I quickly unpacked my stuff, picked up my paddle board bag and hurried down to the water's edge to pump it up. If I could get onto Windermere before sunset I'd be able to watch it go down behind the Coniston Fells from the water.
The winds were high and sudden gusts made the water quite choppy, but being in the middle of the water without a soul in sight watching the sunset in the distance was one of the main reasons I was drawn the to Lakes. I paddled downstream and although it would have been nice to sit and watch the sun go down it was far too choppy for that. Instead, I jumped about a boat and got a lift back upstream, watching it from the deck instead. Don't judge me.
Instead of paddling back upstream against the gusty headwinds winds and darkening skies, I jumped aboard the boat and watched the final moments from there, relishing every second of it before heading off for a couple of evening beers.
I only had a couple of days in the Lakes, and I wanted to make the most of it so the next morning I got up before sunrise and headed down to the water again.
The heavy fog (I mean really heavy!) meant I didn't get to see anything that remotely resembled a sunrise. I'd also forgotten my neoprene socks and the pontoon had iced over that night as I stood on it barefoot, so launching into the water couldn't have come more quickly.
It was the first time I'd been out on the water in these kind of conditions - I couldn't see more than 10 metres in front of me and although it was quite intimidating at first, the water was so calm and peaceful that it actually felt quite magical.
I spent the rest of the day on Iand taking on some trails and admiring the views overlooking the Lakes.
Later that evening I hit the water again to end my day with a relaxing paddle, the waters still remarkably calm. Sadly, the sunset wasn't as spectacular as my first evening but what I missed out on in views was made up for in company. My fellow OS 'Get Outside' champ and badass adventurer Sean Conway, who entrusted me to take him out for his second ever SUP, joined me for the evening.
We finished what was a pretty perfect way to spend a Friday evening back at Low Wood Hotel overlooking Windermere with a drink and an open log fire, pleased that neither of us had to test out the water temperatures.
The next morning I left to explore what other waters, meres and lakes were on offer and I wasn't disappointed.
I drove up to Thirlmere Reservoir where I spent the morning before heading towards Keswick for an afternoon on Derwent Water chatting to kayakers making the most of the mild weather, exploring the little islands that sit nestled amongst the water and watching the wildlife.
As I packed up my paddle board that afternoon the heaven's opened and the forecasted downpour finally arrived - just in time for my drive home.
And that was the end of my 48 hour Lake District adventure. Until next time, Lake District. Well, in two weeks - I can't keep away for long!
With thanks to:
Low Wood Hotel
Low Wood Marina