If life’s about the journey, then there’s nothing quite like a six-hour schlep up the M6 to trigger a spot of philosophising. In fact, I’ve had some surprising revelations while heading north on that godforsaken stretch of tarmac. Why xxx? What??? How?? Just as the tedium reaches mind-melting proportions, I spy the familiar silhouette i As with most of the country’s wild, remote places, the Lake District’s remote spots can be a bit of a bind; particularly if it involves a tedious journey up the M6. The scenery up there does strange things to you, though, and once you’ve glimpsed the brooding mountains and glittering tarns, all those torturous hours spent behind the wheel seem to magically melt away.
Of course it’s helps if you’ve got somewhere amazing to stay. A 10-minute amble from Ullswater’s lonely shores, Stone Cottage’s lofty mountain setting is the antithesis of frenetic suburban life: a place where wellies, wooly hats and waterproofs are the only things needed for a day out. Part of a cluster of old buildings nestled in the tiny hamlet of Deepdale, the cottage’s grey stone exterior is everything you’d expect from a traditional Lakeland building, until you open the creaky wooden door, that is…
Cool-hunters will no doubt love the Farrow & Ball colour scheme, Osborne & Little fabrics and L’Occitane goodies in the bathroom, but it’s the painstaking details of the renovation that impressed us most. We’ve been to so many holiday homes in the area whose ultra-modern interiors feel out of place in such a rural setting, but owners Helen and Richard have gone to huge lengths to ensure Stone Cottage is a truly authentic Lakeland home. Local materials have been used wherever possible, hence the carpets made from Herdwick wool (a breed of sheep found all over the Lakes) and the amazing slate bathroom. Helen chose each individual tile herself from the slate mine further up the valley and her attention to detail certainly shows – the patterns and colours of each tile are mesmerising.
These traditional materials blend perfectly with lots of modern features, such as the swish architect-designed kitchen with its huge wooden trusses that were reclaimed from a nearby barn. This room has every modern convenience you could ask for, and we rustled up several home-cooked meals from the luxury hamper we’d ordered from Helen containing local produce and delicious sausages.
Upstairs, there are two double bedrooms: one decorated in calming blue fabrics and the other has a pink and red scheme, including a roman blind with a striking butterfly motif. As we’d arrived in the dark, we pulled up the blind the next morning to discover a peaceful panorama of misty mountaintops and quaint farms disturbed only by bleating sheep. The upstairs bathroom has a modern double-ended bath, lots of free L’Occitane products and abundant fluffy white towels – all those little touches that make a self-catering place feel extra-special.
Hillwalkers will be in their element reach of whether you fancy following in Wordsworth’s footsteps and wandering lonely as a cloud around wandering lonnley in Wordsworth’s well you couldn’t really be better placed Curling up with a glass of vino in front of the fire after a long, often soggy, day in the hills was highlight of each day.
Sitting here at my desk staring out at the smog-choked London skyline, it’s the thought