Up Hill And Down Ale, Hawkshead, The Lake District, UK

The Up Hill And Down Ale Trip
9th - 17th August 2008

This august me and Dave went on a trip to the Lake District in Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales. The idea was to go up lots of hills and then after down lots of real english ales. I'm going to recommend a walk to do and then a pub to go to afterwards where you can get good ale and food.

Location: Hawkshead, The Lake District
9-11th of August 2008

Hawkshead is a great little village in the Lake District. We stayed in the lovely Merlin House guesthouse which has lovely rooms and did a great breakfast.

Pub: Queen's Head

Food and Ale: A nice pub serving a good local menu. The portions were big and hearty with lamb being a specialty. This was washed down with one their guest cask ales which I can't remember the name of. It was a nice hoppy brew which went well with the food.

Walk: Latterbarrow from Hawkshead
Map: Walk 14 on Footprint Walks Around Coniston
Harvey Lake District Outdoor Atlas

To start off with an easy walk which started from our B&B in the village of Hawkshead. It's a nice walk through fields, country lanes then up onto Latterbarrow where there is a great view of Lake Windermere.

The walk then descends through Claife Heights forest. It was drizzling when we set off and this turned into proper rain so we decided not to extend the walk to Sawry which would make it into a longer pleasant day. Not too taxing for most but if like me you haven't been walking in ages and been sick it was a good start.

Food and Drink: For lunch we headed to Poppi Red Cafe where I got an amazing hot chocolate and a cake to heat myself back up.

Walk: Tarn Hows
Map: Walk 15 on Footprint Walks Around Coniston
Harvey Lake District Outdoor Atlas

This was a nice easy afternoon stroll around the beauty spot of Tarn Hows. There is a footpath the whole way so it's nice and easy. It's easy to see why this place is so famous.

Drink: On the way back we popped into The Drunken Duck Inn for a quick half pint. They brew their own beer here, the beers being named after dogs that the owners have had. This was fitting as dogs are really popular around here. Every pub has a dog bar for water. I had the Cracker Ale and Dave had the Westmorland Gold. I liked the Cracker but Dave wasn't as keen on his.

Pub: King's Arms, Hawkshead

Food: The specials are great here. Dave had venison in a berry jus which was lovely. I had bangers and mash which was really good too as they use local Cumberland sausages. Also while in the village you should try out the Hawkshead Relish.

Ale: Lakeland Gold from Hawkshead Brewery

This is a lovely golden ale that goes very well with food. It's a bit more hoppy than some english ales and has the wonderful aroma of cascade hops. We also tried the bitter but didn't like it as much as the Lakeland Gold.

Walk: Rydal Water And Nab Scar
Map: Guided Walk 8 in Lakeland Explored
Harvey Lake District Outdoor Atlas

This walk went along under Nab Scar through a forest with great views of Rydal Water and Grasmere before descending into Rydal village. We then walked along the track by Rydal Water to finish off a very wet but satisfying walk.

Food and Drink: We ambled around Grasmere village after the walk where the weather cleared up a bit. After all that walking we treated ourselves to a proper cream tea in the garden centre. I love scones with jam and clotted cream. Also they know what they're doing with tea in this part of the country. They always give you a small pot of hot water so you can have an extra cup.

It was wet that afternoon so we decided we'd had enough hiking. We went into Windermere and Bowness to have a look around. This really isn't worth it as they are both packed with tourists even though there isn't much to see. In hindsight we probably should have stopped in Ambleside as this looked nicer. We did however find some Lindisfarne Mead in an off license. We tried it out and agreed it was a very strange drink. I liked it but it was odd as I've never had anything quite like it before. I think my taste buds were struggling as they had nothing to compare it to. The only thing I could think of like it was Sauternes white wine from France. We also sampled some Damson stout from the Hawkshead brewery. This I really liked. There was a lovely sharp damson taste coming through and balanced up by the roasty stout.

Ale: That night it was back to the Kings Arms. The guest beer was York Brewery Peaches and Cream ale. I loved this beer, it had a real refreshing fruity taste without being cloying like many fruit beers are. Lovely stuff. There was also some real cider being served in what was a home brew pressure barrel. This was great stuff and very different to the commercial cider most of us are used to. The barman said he drives down to a certain junction on the motorway to where the guy sells the cider. I also got some knitting done in the pub which got some funny looks from people.

I would really recommend Hawkshead as a great base to explore the Lake District. There are loads of things I didn't get to do and I'd happily go back.

More photos of this part of the trip are here.

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