And suddenly, I’m home.
It’s that first breath of pure, fresh air. The soft evening sun streaming through the towering trees above. The green of nature enveloping everything. It’s a magical-fairytale environment with the birds swooping and calling, the hush of the water rushing in the distance and that indescribable sound of the silence; the nothingness of everything in between. No cars, no crowds, no worries. Being reminded of how small we are when we remove ourselves from our busy city lives. Langdale gives me a new perspective every time I visit, centring and grounding me. This is my bliss.
We’re welcomed by a warm fire as we make our way through to the reception desk, shown to our room in the Brimstone Hotel and swept off our feet by the luxury of it all. The open plan spacing is impressive. It mimics that sensation of being outside in the grand expanse of it all with high ceilings and rooms, although being separate, opening to others with clever, open walls seamlessly connecting it all.
We had to, of course, contrast the luxury of our accommodation with some outdoor-adventure so that we could really feel accomplished as we sank into the enormous, hot bubble bath with a glass of red wine to end the night… so we headed to Honister Slate Mine. We had scoped out the best photo-opportunity locations online and decided to try get to Warnscale Bothy overlooking Buttermere. An outstanding location, giving the impression of being on top of the world, overlooking the great rolling valleys; warm orange hues against dark greens with the gaze finally falling upon the gleaming lake in the distance…
We arrived, not quite kitted out appropriately for the hike that was about to ensue. None of us knowing just how windy and cold at the top of the mountain would be this late-September evening. Our journey began with up-down glances from the hikers we passed. Still, blissfully unaware, we marched on with our long city coats and not much else protecting our already goose-bumped skin… We realised that perhaps we should have prepared better for this great trek about half way up, but we were half way there now - or so we believed, so we pushed on. The promise of the picture-perfect views motivated us through the winds, past the bewildered sheep, over the marsh, beyond the mountains of granite and forgotten-rusted-steel shed until finally we arrived. The God-like vista-point really was divine. Although chilled to the bone and somewhat soggy-footed, the adventurous journey had been absolutely worth it. With the sun now suddenly setting, we realised a new mission was at hand and all raced back down to the warmth of the cafe at the base of the mountain below. A well-deserved hot chocolate please! Closed. We settled for a Milky Bar in the car on the drive back to Langdale instead.
En route, a sheep had positioned himself perfectly in the middle of the road with the billowing mountains acting as his army, to either side of him. We stopped the car. Defiant, he stared us down. We took the opportunity to capture the moment, before kindly shooing him off the road to continue on our way.
Arriving back at luxury with a grumbling in our stomachs, we showered and shifted over to the Stove. The on-site bar and restaurant that serves buffet-style continental and full English cooked breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. My highest recommendation of the seasonal stone baked roasted squash pizza with chestnuts, feta and rocket… delicious! Now finally, time for that bath and a glass of red wine that we had promised ourselves when we had arrived.
The next morning we were graced with another stunning sunshine-filled day. This time we decided to gear-up properly for a big hiking day.. lessons had been learnt. We borrowed the superbly-warm, windproof Arcytex jackets that the Brimstone Hotel generously lends to their guests, got our thick socks and hiking boots on and made a move. Our first stop: Langdale Valley in Chapel Style, really just a few minutes drive away from Langdale Hotel & Spa - as the name might suggest. We made our way into a field, over a mossy-rock wall and attempted to climb atop an enormous boulder, got stuck, helped each other up and got some stunning content, took a few deep breaths for ourselves and soaked in the scenery before heading back to the car.
A short drive of winding roads, picturesque nature and passing a sweet little slate-roofed pub led us to Wrynose Pass. We journeyed on up to get to the Blea Tarn footpath which guided us along a golden grass field, with the glimmering destination of the lake in the distance, through a kissing gate and into the forest. The lighting suddenly became more mystical with the trees, gentle giants, covering up the sky, only allowing the brightest, most golden sunbeams to pass through. The moss had taken over covering everything like a green duvet on the sleepy logs. Little diamond dewdrops glistening on the spider webs and tiny violet flowers caught our eye. An autumnal carpet of fiery leaves scattered on the path crunch underfoot. I felt almost dizzy from the fresh air - or maybe that was my excitement. We arrived at our destination. This is our favourite spot. Peace, calm, tranquility. Photos couldn’t do this place justice… but we try.
One of the many complimentary delights from our beloved Brimstone Hotel was afternoon sandwiches, evening cheese, crackers and wine and a selection of delicious morning baked-goods. Scones, cream and jam, various slices of cakes, brownies and caramel shortbread slices… I obviously had to take a pocketful as provisions for the day’s hikes, so this seemed the perfect time to sweeten the treat of this moment. We enjoyed our afternoon snack and were soon joined by a gregarious little robin, who enjoyed the shortbread so much that he ate it right out of our hands… this unbelievable brush with nature is uploaded straight to Instagram (one of the few moments we even think to bring our phones out on this nature getaway!).
Fuelled by our sugar rush and high on fresh air, we decided the day couldn’t be over just yet. We made our way to Faeryland Grasmere - a little slice of Lake District paradise. Arriving for a sunset shoot and hoping to hire kayaks to really make some magic, we’re faced with yet another closing cafe… But the staff were so lovely and let us take a couple of kayaks onto the lake nonetheless. Their northern kindness was just the cherry on the cake, making it the perfect end to a perfect day before heading back to Brimstone Spa to warm up.
A couple of glasses of bubbly in the steaming outdoor pool by the open fire was just a reminder that heaven really does exist on earth. You just have to go out and find it. That is just what we managed to do in our two-day getaway to Langdale Hotel & Spa. It set us back up to return home with a warmth in our souls, having reconnected with nature in such a stunning place and the security of knowing that it will be there waiting for us when we need it once again.
William Wordsworth had it right when he described the Lake District as “the loveliest spot that man hath found” — it’s nice to know that in an ever-changing and rapidly-shifting time, some things never change.