I recently shared a series of photographs taken by guests on my tours last summer on Instagram. It was both therapeutic as well as fun, revisiting the summer of 2019 at a time when I was unable to physically travel into the Lake District – at first, because of the UK national lockdown which started in late March, and later because of a bad back.
First up, a Hidden South Lakeland windy walk from Grange-over-sands over Hampsfell via Hampsfell Hospice and some alarmingly big cows. Onwards to the beautiful village of Cartmel, where some sheep with gothic sensibilities awaited us among the tombstones at Cartmel Priory.
Here’s some from Buttermere, surely one of my favourite lakes, for very obvious reasons. Where else can you walk virtually the whole circumference of a lake in just a couple of hours without ever leaving the shoreline and with no chance whatsoever of getting lost?
Next up, Derwent Water and its surroundings, including the magically moody Newlands pass, the stone circle at Castlerigg, fabulous Ashness Bridge and the Surprise View (so-called for obvious reasons!), high above the lake itself.
Who doesn’t love the Coffin Route from Dove Cottage to Rydal Mount even on a wet day, for a Hidden Literary Lakeland walk that doesn’t put too much strain on the knees, legs and ankles? Our literary pilgrimage started appropriately with a trip to Hawkshead Grammar School, where William Wordsworth went to school as a boy, and ended at Rydal Mount, where the poet spent the last years of his life.
Here we follow the river Kent out of Kendal down to the sea again, staying far away from the honeypot spots of the central Lakes with Hidden South Lakeland. At one end of the day, the world’s oldest topiary gardens at lovely Levens Hall. At the other, an evening stroll at the coast in Arnside and the best fish and chips in Cumbria, enjoyed by the beautiful viaduct spanning the estuary and scoffed before we could even get a photo!
These photos celebrate three days with Bespoke Hidden Lakeland, journeying through beautiful Northumberland. Few walks are finer than the one pictured here, following Hadrian’s Wall with the Romans from the Sill to Housesteads, and taking in the glorious Sycamore Gap (beloved of all Kevin Costner fans) midway.
Finally, we stay up north for the last word of last summer, from the Angel of the North in Gateshead. Anthony Gormley’s celebrated steel winged sculpture commemorates the north’s dying, industrial past while looking towards the city’s future. What could be a more potent symbol for revival, hope and resurrection after the battering we’ve all taken this year?