Saturday, June 07, 2008

Lake District - beyond words...

A secret plan was enveloping quick and fast between ‘BEYOND THE OBVIOUS’; ‘I think, therefore IBM’ and ‘Imagination Action Joy’. There was one member to represent Beyond the obvious, another to represent I think, therefore IBM and three members to represent Imagination Action Joy. Before you get the thought of a huge world record setting merger happening and running off to garner stocks from various sources, let me throw this disclaimer at you - I am not to be held for heralding false signs or awry information into your 1.4 kg brain.

As fear of getting caught under act 420.00 of cheating general public, act 420.10 of manipulating the stock markets, act 420.13 of playing with various countries economies, overtakes me I am ready to spill the beans right here… it was just a offline meeting between friends working in these different companies. The agenda of the meeting was to decide the final frontier to go during the May Bank holiday…after much thought we narrowed the choices down to Scotland or Lake District. We finally decided to drive down to Lake District which is about 300 + xx miles from Guildford the chief town in Surrey County.

First task was to find accommodation in LD, went ahead and typed and searched for cheap B & B in Lake District and ended up with only 2,220,000 results which totally combined would have been helpful to plan a trip in the year 2220, nevertheless we used the top 3 sites and Jagan and me send an email to more than 20 B & B owners for a night’s stay, thinking that I was very smart and on time by planning a week ahead just to get a thumbs down from most of the owners that their places have been booked out 2-8 months planning – a first blow to my ego thinking that my planning was good. Drastic action was needed so I started mailing the same owners for some known places which might be empty and thank goodness few friendly folks mailed back with some reco’s and finally a place called YHA had 5 vacancies and with much joy I called them to find out that the vacancies were for women…shucks persistent bad luck worse than leeches. 4 days before EDD (estimated day of departure) I called YHA again to ask for vacancies in a place little away from the center of LD and get a cool info from them that due to some cancellation there’s a vacancy for 5 guys and as I fold my fingers one by one in sheer respect to the art of counting - 1,2,3,4,5 we are also 5 guys, so we did an booking instantly and learnt that we are going to have bunker beds and relive our college lives …yippee!
Task 2: we got down to comparing the prices of various car rentals, we simultaneously Google’d the images of each and every car available on the car rental portal, after paying the rental which was a combination of car rent + weekend charges + young driver surcharge (young = below 25 yrs of age) + additional driver surcharge + zero responsibility insurance + fuel deposit + VAT + an hour of our time we reserved a car online. Now to get the pigeon’s direction sense right we approached Google maps and got the route exactly printed, but many advised us that unlike in India you can’t roll your windows down and ask for routes, so next in the action plan cropped the idea of getting a GPS device, buying one was the same as a one way ticket to India so renting became the only viable option so again came to our aid – ‘rent a gps’ …enter… payment successful, the internet has made life so simple.

May 2nd - We were waiting for the evening to get out of office and embark on our trip to LD, we winded up soon, went and collected a brand new Skoda Octavia Estate a diesel vehicle which had met its fate(me) just after 540 miles, got back home, drove it a bit, picked up Gopi and parked the car by 10 PM, only to take the car again at 12 to pick up the other merger partners Suresh and Bharthi, now the plan was to wake up at 2:45 and leave by 3 which ultimately became 4, so at 4 we left for the journey involving distance and great intrigue. As we hit the state highways and the motorways we were happy as the GPS and the google maps printout were synchronized among themselves, but the joy was short-lived as within an hour of travel we realized we were going quite far away from the route shown by google maps, now the problem lay in deciding whom to trust – the GPS or google maps, taking Gopi’s cue we decide to trust the GPS, though I was ever complaining that we were completely lost. The only consolation was that we were heading north nevertheless. Now the problem was that whenever we crossed 70 MPH the gps started screeching non stop with a police siren making us envision ourselves in hand cuffs and rudely waking up our back seats VIP’s who were enjoying a early morning snooze, we realized soon that reducing the volume on the gps was the key to our handcuffs. We decided over and again whether to take a break at the services joint, but the joy of meeting the unknown LD kept us going and with a 5 minute break over which ball catches were played we reached LD in a cool 5:15 minutes covering 305 miles and without a scratch.

YHA was a cool place facing a huge lake, and there were various bikers of a biker gang who were giving us company in that hostel with their 1000+cc vehicles. We went in confirmed our reservation and got our strategy chalked out with some help of some fliers.

The view from the hostel,

The lake view from the hostel,

Stop1 Bowness river side – Nice jacket potato with tuna brunch – the taste still lingers in my thoughts…got a ticket to visit Lakeside(a place) by boat and from there to visit Haverwaite by a steam engine powered train, the engine is from the 1911 era while the coach is from the 1951 era. The boat ride was good with a lot of photographs being taken of ourselves and the captivating beauty that was abundantly sprinkled all around us.
A good 45 minutes later we got off at Lakeside and wandered a bit to take the steam engine train, I must say it was very nice traveling in one of these with those ancient rail pulleys and the steam almost suffocating you. As it slowly rambled up the track one by one we fell victim to the legendary sleep, within 30 minutes we reached Haverwaite and we got off and visited a train museum and then jumped barbed wires to get to the top of a small hill to sit there for a while and then we got back down to board the next train back. Yet again we fell victim to the vicious sleep but we barely escaped doing a around trip as Bharati has set an alarm which promptly woke us up…
Now with the sun wide awake and enriching us with its bright sunshine we fall a victim to sleep a byproduct of tiredness and we enjoy the boat ride back in stillness.

Lake side life,

Midday Siesta,

Almost 100 yrs old,

Steaming away,

You are never alone,

United we stand alone we fall???

The view while on the cruise,

Click, Click, Click – paparazzi followed us…

Peaks, trees, water, birds what more?

The view while on the cruise,

A solitary moment,

As soon as we got off we bought a Frisbee and went to the car and got our cricket kit and started playing there in a nearby ground, we cracked sixes, fours much to the amusement of the onlookers who felt football was a more sensible option than barbarically whacking a ball and fielders running after it, the worst part is that dogs in this part of the earth are trained very well to field. After a tiring 45 minutes of play we set off in our car to YHA, mid way on my rear view mirror I see a towel waving happily to the tunes of the wind, yes it sounds like a lovely scene but not lovely when you realize that your car’s boot is wide open and no one has closed it so after taking care of that issue we continue to YHA,….check in dump the luggage, fresh in up and start our trek to the Stock Gyhll water falls, a nice 70 foot high waterfall where we can go up to the head of the waterfall and walk back down…after doing all of this we rambled out way to a Bengali restaurant in Ambleside, where they made us wait for 60 minutes after which we devoured on some tasty north Indian fare.

We got back to the room at around 10:45 and after a heated discussion headed by Jagan on who will wake up first and use the shower we all retired for a much needed break of senses.

Our acre of land,

The falls falling away,

Use me,

Almost too synchronized,

Our Bunker Beds,

Sunday the 4th of May – we all woke up at around 8 and we rushed for a nice English breakfast but unfortunately before Suresh could finish his normal count of 2 dozens of bread pieces the kitchen staff got tipped off and they started shutting down their counters saving the stock for a few more days…phew misery folks … We went running to reserve some Canoes and Kayaks and after getting enough assurances that we won’t drown and would live to see the night we ventured out on them, me and Gopi on a kayak and others on a canoe. Within 5 minutes we got accustomed to the gentle ruffles and ripples of the water and started enjoying the scenery from the center that much that we thought at a point that no one can take the kayak from us and we shall have a war over rights. Unforgettable moments were close to an island where there were nesting birds in plenty and mistaking us for their foes they tried chewing our brains out – long live the light weighted oars which came to us aid.
The days next stop was a town called Grasmere where we just went for a car ride and didn’t do much, but we stopped at a place called Loughriggs Terrace where we had a chance to view the extremely beautiful peaks and a lake which I call and remember as the Swiss connection of Lake District it was that beautiful and picture some. I am writing less so as the pictures can do the speaking and you will agree that they speak loud.

Next we were to go to a place called the Ullswater – Aira waterfall which was about 32 miles away, the catch being the 32 miles were winding small hill roads, it was real fun driving on those roads, and we missed our mark got few miles ahead and then got back to the waterfalls parking…immediately we decide to have a snack and it proves to be Jagan’s blessing in disguise and he meets this wonderful person at the counter after looking at that person he can’t differentiate between tuna sandwiches and tissue papers(yes its meant to be cryptic). As we walk and walk up the small hill in search of the prima donna here it being the water fall we stagger and falter at many places due to our tiredness…..yes and we meet the falls and snapped away to glory and at 5:30 we start the return journey of about 314 miles – 502 km’s and yes we touched 125 MPH often and all other motorway users gave way to us and in the entire stretch none overtook us, making us comment that we are the lords and other crap and we covered this distance in exactly 4 hrs i.e. 9:30 we reached our destination that is about 125 KMP or 80 MPH on an average… Did I ever realize there was something called speed guns? Speed cameras? None! We reached back went to Nandos – a place which comes close to our Tandoor joints and gorged ourselves on some superbly roasted chicken and went home at 11 and all gathered in our entertainment arena room aka Jagan’s room and watched Saichen …next day I wake up and realize that’s there was something wrong in the way that vehicles gave us way on the motorways in spite of having much more powerful engines, as I again googled my goof up and checked the scene in UK I realize that the speed limit was 70 MPH and I was often at 125 MPH that was a gross violation which can carry a 300GBP – 700 GBP fine(24000 – 56000 RS) as I sit and rue over this gross mistake committed and wonder when the fine would appear or whether any cop decides to personally deliver the ticket – lesson learnt irrespective of any road, any vehicle respect traffic rules at least slightly. Anyways no ticket has come till date and I pray that it doesn’t so a trip that began well has ended well and without a scratch the car has been returned. Hip hip hurray…

All dressed up…canoeing, Kayaking (brave warriors who got pecked by a few birds in the middle of the lake)

Race Leader - MIM,

Greenery – Are you doing enough to sustain it, Yes I am.

The Swiss connection,

Guys who formed the pentagon,

Swim anyone?

Winding roads to Ullswater – loved it,



Bits & Bytes!

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Jaggu said...

Fantastic approach to writing a blog da, as I would normally expect from you. I have always admired the way you start and finish. You didn't disappoint me would be the simplest to say. Hip hip hurray!!!!!!!!!

Eldred Curwen said...

Really good description of the Lakes. When you come back you must try out some of the other areas as well as it looks as if you stayed close to Windermere? You will come back won't you?

If you do then try these cottages, but I reckon you'll have to plan ahead! Holiday Cottages Cumbria