A Quirky Day Out

Yesterday I went on a day out. I’d been invited by Zoe Dawes to join her Quirky Tour of the North Lakes. In return for a place on the tour Zoe asked for some feed back on the tour itself and some help with the filming that would be done for a programme on Sky tv. This seemed like a great deal to me so I accepted her kind offer.

Zoe is known as The Quirky Traveller, she loves to travel and has spent quite some time living in various parts of the world but she loves the Lake District here in the UK. I agree with her, it is a magical place of lakes and mountains, bustling towns and villages and peaceful out of the way places, all in all something for everyone. The idea of the Quirky Tours is to take your time to look at and enjoy the scenery and learn a few interesting and quirky facts and stories you may not have heard before.

At the meeting point in Keswick we were introduced to Phil of Swish Travel, our driver for the day, and his lovely vehicle that would take us on the tour. A very comfortable VW Caravelle with lots of room for 5 passengers. The seats faced each other and there was a little table in the centre, it was great for chatting and it didn’t feel like sitting in a minibus which was what I had expected.

I also met, Hilary and Philip Claxton from Beech House bed and breakfast in Kendal; Alex, the Quirky Traveller’s son and John and Will from Lakes tv who were going to be filming various parts of the tour.

I’m not going to give you the exact route of the tour or even any of the quirky facts that we learned, if you want to know that then you’ll have to book a tour with The Quirky Traveller yourself ;-)

We started with a short stroll, an easy and relaxing way to start the tour. As we admired the scenery the ducks and geese clustered around expecting food but we wandered on chatting with The Quirky Traveller and listening to her tales from the area. Returning to the vehicle we discovered it was nice and warm so we hurried to get comfy and out of the wind and rain. Asking us all to “Belt up” meaning of course to do our seatbelts up, Phil then set off driving us to our next stop. The drive was great, I know the roads suffered in the winter and are full of potholes but Phil drove smoothly and we didn’t get bounced around at all. This meant we could chat some more and discuss where we would be stopping next and all the time enjoy the views over the lake and fells.

After a couple more stops, enjoying what views we could see because of the weather, we were driven up one the high passes. For me this was unusual as I was travelling backwards so got to see it all from a different and quirky angle! We stopped at the top of the pass, there’s a visitor attraction, it’s also a starting point up one of my favourite fells and I was quite tempted for a few moments just to dash up the path but I know I didn’t have the right boots and clothes on for that so decided against it. We had a stroll around again and watched The Quirky Traveller being filmed again for the new Lakes tv show. Of course we’d all been filmed at some point during the morning and the guys were very friendly and relaxed so we didn’t really notice they were there!

Driving down the other side of the pass we could see a lovely beck (stream) tumbling over the rocks and eventually it flowed into the lake, we drove close to the shore of the lake and into the village that nestles there between the lakes and mountains. We called in at the pub for lunch and then wandered along to the lake shore and to see the waterfall close up. After all the recent rain the waterfall was quite full and lovely to see.

Back in the Swish transport we continued along the road past some wonderful scenery and through a small village and then up another pass to a centre in the forest, there was an excellent shop and café, a place to watch the birds feeding outside the windows and also a webcam focussed on the osprey nest. The journey continued up to a well known stone circle, one of my favourite places, with wonderful views of the surrounding fells and the day concluded back in Keswick where we had all met at the start of the day.

Although I know the area quite well I did pick up a few quirky tales and facts that I hadn’t heard before and seeing the area from a vehicle that is higher up than most cars meant we got to see more than the sides of stone wall in some places. For a first time visitor to the Lake District the Quirky Traveller tours are a great way to see the area. You don’t have to worry about driving, some of the roads are very narrow and steep and quite scary if you’re not used to driving them. There are plenty of places to stop and wander around and take photographs. Having a guide or rather, a travelling companion like Zoe is wonderful, you get to see a quirky and fun side to the area and you don’t need to refer to maps as Zoe is there to point out all the places you mustn’t miss. An enjoyable day out for anyone who wants to do something a bit different.

To find out more visit the Quirky Traveller website : www.thequirkytraveller.com

To find out about Swish: www.swishtravel.co.uk

To find out about Lakes tv: www.lakestv.net

For B&B info see : www.beechhouse-kendal.co.uk

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Zoe Dawes, The Quirky Traveller

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