A taste of Iceland… in the middle of the Lake District

This post is part of a series about the Lake District, Cumbria, England. Part 1 can be found here.

Ah Lake district, a wonderful region that has so much to offer for hikers, tourists, solo-travelers or just people seeking a little bit of adventure like ourselves :-) …. After spending a few hours hiking on top of Loughrigg Fell, we decided it was time for a little road trip towards a very famous and wonderful location : Wasdale !

Wasdale is located in the Western part of the Lake District, and is often considered, and rightly so, as “one of the most beautiful places in Great Britain”. Driving there can be challenging (if you are not used to it) as you have to drive most of the time on narrow and windy single-track roads. Thankfully, I was the passenger, so I could enjoy fully what the countryside has to offer, lucky me :-) I shot a lot of pictures from the side window, as the weather was fabulous.

After 45 minutes of driving, a gorgeous valley surrounded by spectacular fells and dramatic wilderness opened up to our eyes. When we saw the lake and the surrounding mountains, we couldn’t help ourselves and thought about our road trip in Iceland. It looked like the Icelandic fjords ! How lovely !

We parked the car and walked a bit near Wastwater, the deepest lake in England. The views were gorgeous but the wind was also very strong and cold compared to the day before.

I had a closer look at the spiky bushes with the pretty yellow flowers you can see in the pictures below. I’ve seen so many of these on our way to Wasdale ! It was so pretty, I took some pictures, not really knowing what it was. I googled later “yellow spiky bush” and it seems that it is called the common Gorse and they say it’s usually flowering nearly all year round in the Lake District !

The wind was so cold that we decided to seek refuge in the only pub around, Ritson’s bar. Nearby, there was a very iconic river with a cute bridge.

The remote location and the gorgeous scenery is really a feast for your eyes. I really recommend the detour ! :-)

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89 responses to “A taste of Iceland… in the middle of the Lake District

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, especially the Lake District posts – brought back many happy memories! One of my favourite places there is the Roman fort on Hardknott Pass, it’s a lovely hike with wonderful views.
    Thank you for taking the time to read a post on OldPlaidCamper, I appreciate it. Enjoy your day!

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  5. It does look a bit like Iceland I can see that from all the Icelandic photos you took on your road trips there. Very wild and remote too and windswept! Beautiful photos of the rugged scenery! 😃

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  6. Oh, what beautiful images of the Lake District! The vistas are truly stunning. The first time I’d even seen common gorse was on Vancouver Island, the west coast of Canada, which has weather similar to parts of the UK. I love it’s bright yellow colour! Wonderful post! :)) ~ Jeannie

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    • You are visiting awesome places yourselves, that make us want to go there ! What is great is that we are exploring different side of the globe haha ! We are lucky it’s not too far away from home, I’m going to make the best of my stay in the UK and explore what the country has to offer :-) But I plan to explore more the Eastern part of this world as well :-)

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  7. What a perfect place for kicking back and letting the mind wander ~ to Iceland, Scotland and the beauty of the UK. Great series of photos and it looks like you both have a gift of finding these magical places.

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    • I love these 3 regions, it’s really not far away and you can experience raw nature at its best. Sometimes, you don’t need to go very far away to be blown away :-) Hmmm we got some help from the lady who was housing us ;-) She deserves the credit ! ;-)

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    • One pub and one hotel and.. that’s it :-) We were quite lucky the food was good and cheap :D But it must be so crowded during summer, even the parking seems so tiny. Better to get there early.

      Being a passenger is the best, we agree on that :D

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  8. Seems like you got this beautiful location all to yourself? I have never seen the common Gorse before, interesting to read that it is in bloom year round. Don’t think I know any other flowers that are in bloom year round:)

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    • Me neither, I’ve never seen this spiky bush before, it’s not very common in Belgium. Maybe it’s more of a mountain plant (and well, you know, Belgium is not as flat as Holland, but similar in the South) :-)

      To be more accurate, it’s flowering from autumn to summer, so nearly all year round ;-) It gives some colours during winter. I can imagine pictures of these yellow bright flowers peeking out the layer of snow, must be beautiful :-)

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  9. Fantastic scenery. It reminds me of the very highest elevations of the Picos de Europa in Spain. I have not been to Iceland so can’t speak to that but would love to go. I love the strategy for escaping the cold. :)

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  10. Wow, Lake District looks a lot like my home in the Andean Plateau, minus the trees. Quite beautiful and peaceful, that’s a place where I’d like to live. Thanks!

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  11. I get to Cornwall a lot, and the yellow spiky bush you saw is out along the coastline in Spring and Summer down there too. As London Caller said, this smells really coconutty depending on which direction the wind is blowing!

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    • Oh I wish I could have smelled the coconut ! But the wind was really strong, I’m not surprised I didn’t manage to smell it… I will pay more attention next time :-)

      I would love to visit Cornwall, which is the best season to go you reckon ?

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    • The actions of glaciers are really obvious on the shape of rocks you can find in the Lake District, like in Scotland and Iceland. And apparently, the origin of Wastwater is from a melting glacier. It is beautiful indeed ! :-)

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    • It was really peaceful, and real hidden gem of the Lake District. I’m not so sure about the quietness in the middle of summer though :-) I’m sure it’s a famous spot of many hikers :-)

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  12. Gorgeous – I love that gorse too, so colourful and pretty. Looking at your pictures you can’t tell it was so chilly – looks like perfect weather, sunny and warm but I know what it can feel like in Cumbria even with blue skies!! Love the look of that pub too, it needs to go on my list.

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  13. Beautiful photos! Very scenic and I love the spiky yellow flowers too..looking gentle and sharp at the same time. Hope you didn’t get too close to it. Look but no touch ;) It looks very peaceful there, I really can’t imagine a load of Chinese tourists there mingling about and chatting and cutting into the peace…then again, this is a wonderful place to have a trip :D

    It must be very warm in your pub because I see your boyfriend has taken off his big jacket!

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    • Yes, these bushes were fascinating. I can imagine little birds seeking refuge in them during the nesting season, sheltered from predators :-)

      The Chinese were with a tour operator called “titicaca” (which is a weird name for a UK tour operator according to me :D) and they all look really out of place. It was so funny. Maybe this destination is advertised as the ultimate gem of the lake district ! I’m not surprised it’s popular, it’s so pretty.

      It was definitely warmer in the pub than outside, but for me, it was still cold and I was holding onto my jumper :D

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      • Maybe the Chinese tourists wanted to experience something completely different. It sounds like everyone had a good time and that’s what counts :)

        Previously when I’ve traveled, I find that I get cold easily. Maybe it’s because of not eating enough food, or my body can’t adjust well to the climate.

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  14. What a lovely area, Gin! Amazing light and colors! <3 I love the pictures. The yellow flowers look very interesting! Have a great day!

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  15. Very beautiful area, Gin! I had to do a double-take on the Ritson’s sign. That guy on it looks just like Garrick Utley, the former NBC News reporter who passed away last year.

    Jim

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  16. Yes, that’s right. That’s gorse – they’re very though. They smell like coconut too! When you go to Scotland, you will see a lot of thistles and heather in the countryside. Scotland is my “first” home in Britain! How I miss the highlands, glens and lochs.

    Right now, English bluebells are starting to bloom in the woodlands. Another 2, 3 weeks you can see them bloom in full. It’s the most beautiful time of the year walking in the countryside. Perhaps you also have the same wild flowers in Belgium too?
    Have a look here:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardeningpicturegalleries/10788273/Britains-best-places-to-see-bluebells.html?frame=2892912
    I did a long distance walk in Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted some weeks ago, the bluebells were not out yet.

    >What would you recommend to check in the South ? Bath ? Stonehenge? Cornwall ?
    Yes. Yes. Yes. They’re all very popular among tourists. Try Avebury instead, it’s like Stonehenge, also a World Heritage Site, but less tourists go there. It’s also free, not like Stonehenge. Best time to see it in late summer, cos you will get a good chance to spot crop circles around that time there. I saw three when I was there :) Yes, also visit Castle Combe, it’s a beautiful village. All these places can be found in Wiltshire. There are simply too many to share with you so I will tell you more next time.

    I like walking in the countryside like you guys too. I did an 8-mile walk in Bedfordshire last weekend. Two weeks ago, I did a 11-mile walk in Surrey. :) The walk in Berkhamsted was in Hertfordshire, which I did many weeks ago.

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    • Oh I haven’t smelled the coconut perfume ! But it was really windy, maybe it didn’t get to my nostrils ! Next time, I will get closer, being careful not to get scratches (it’s really sharp!).
      I would love to see the heathers in full bloom, it must be very iconic in the landscape, very colorful.
      I agree, it’s really the perfect time for walks in the countryside, weather is good and there is so much to see. The nature is awakening.
      We also have bluebells in Belgium, as well as snowflakes, crocuses, hyacinths but these ones are almost over now. Right now, we have a lot of wood anemones covering the forest floor. It’s really pretty. And it smells good as well.
      Thanks for all the recommendations, I will have a look at what you suggested. I’m not too familiar with the name of UK counties, so I will need a map :D

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      • Oh yes, smell it next time. I am sure you will encounter some in Scotland too. Oh yes, like roses they have spiky thorns too.
        Did you know that you can also use heather to make jewellery?! I didn’t until I visited a heather jewellery factory in Pitlochry, Scotland.
        Yes, Pitlochry is a beautiful place to visit too. You can google image Queen’s View, Pitlochry to find out more.

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    • I haven’t, but my boyfriend has an ale (I don’t know if it was the real ale though). I hope to be back soon for another hike in this region, it looks fabulous as well, so we may try the real ale at that time !

      I was surprised to see that it was very popular spot for Chinese tourists. We’ve encountered so many of them with organized tour ! Must be very busy during summer.

      Yes, I will try to make the most of my stay in the UK for the next 2 years and discovered what the country has to offer :-)

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  17. How gorgeous. It looks a little bit like Iceland, indeed. And very Scottish, too, I guess. I also do love those landscapes without or only few trees. And the bushes with the yellow blossoms looks very beautiful. Really nice that they bloom all the year. Have a lovely day! :)

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