I’ve always championed Britain as a world-class adventure destination. Our rugged landscapes and challenging terrain can rival almost anywhere in the world and the unpredictable weather conditions that come as part of this only add to the adventures.
We don’t need to travel to far-flung destinations across the world to get a taste of the wild. It’s not all about world first ascents or crossing remote jungles or – it’s about reconnecting with nature at its wildest and most rugged, which ultimately pushes us to reconnect with ourselves.
One of the most raw and beautiful parts of the UK is the Lake District. It’s an adventure mecca for almost all outdoor lovers – there are hiking trails, climbing routes and mountain scrambles to be had on land, not to mention all the opportunities to explore from the water too.
And that’s how I spent my recent visit there – exploring by, well, the water. I’ve paddle boarded on Derwent Water and Windermere in recent years but this time I dedicated my three-day visit exclusively to Ullswater – and it did not disappoint.
Firstly, the spectacular views over Ullswater, particularly in the morning, as the sun rose over the mountains directly opposite my room at Another Place, The Lake was breathtaking. And this only got better as I hit the water and experienced, with clarifying force, the magnitude of the landscape that surround you.
The hotel is situated at the tip of the Lake – towards the southern end – where it’s less craggy and more wide, open countryside. As I paddled towards the northern tip the landscaped transformed. In the distance, on a clear day, there are views of Hellvelyn on the east side.
Ullswater itself, unlike other popular spots near by, has very little boat traffic especially once peak season is over. The historical Ullswater Steamer (which I took a trip on during my visit) runs daily and takes a tour of the Lake stopping at some key landmarks on the way, but when there’s so little movement on the water it’s a shame not to paddle it.
Almost halfway between north and south is a tiny island about 600 metres from the shoreline. It’s very small, completely uninhabited, and just the sort of gem you want to explore when you’re out paddling. I reached this island, moored my board and climbed to the highest point (which, to be honest, isn’t high at all). But, what it did give me was a secluded spot in the middle of Ullswater from which to look out and marvel at the panoramic views that enveloped me. The changing autumn colours along the waterline that transformed with altitude was stunning – there were shades of yellow, red and orange that you can only find on autumn leaves.
What a way to explore Ullswater. I’ll be back.