The first time I went to the Lake District was back in 1984, as part of my Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award. It was a three day, 30 mile, self-planned trek over the mountains with a bunch of other space cadets and it was fantastic. Even better than that trip was my Gold DoE which took us back over Helvellyn, Scarfell Pike and Langdale Pike in a 50 mile, four day outdoor adventure. Two golden memories from that time are sitting on top of one of those mountains at 6am watching the sun rise whilst drinking a freshly made cup of tea (how much better does anything taste outdoors?) and the other was drinking a pint of Old Peculiar in the Old Dungeon Ghyll bar in Ambleside. That place struck me so much that the chalk writing on the wall which said “When the world wearies, and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the Old Dungeon Ghyll” was noted down and carried in my wallet for the next ten years.
So it was with great pleasure that I returned this week for a little 7 mile walk around Ullswater, a spot of steamer action on said lake, some decent tucker and a tour of some old haunts, including Windemere and Kendall.
Here are some snaps…
The Old Dungeon Ghyll seemed to have changed not a jot in 27 years, except the chalk writing had been painted over sadly. But the food was still big and honest (steak casserole in a giant yorkshire was on the menu). I did chuckle when I ordered my food:
“I’ll have the spring chicken, but with no chips and extra veg”
I could see the barmaid struggling with the screen on the till as it had an option for no veg, but not for no chips.
“Is that the first time anyone has ever said they don’t want chips?” said I.
She thought for a nano-second and nodded whole-heartedly. I decided not to explain why potatoes are so bad for you, and was pleased to note that the Theakstons OP still smelt of bananas and still knocked yer head off.