Esthwaite Water is probably one of my favourite lakes in the English Lake District. It is located about 20 minutes from Blenheim Lodge, our bed and breakfast guest house in Bowness-on-Windermere, and accessed from our place either via car ferry and road or simply by driving around Lake Windermere itself. Why do I like Esthwaite Water? The main reason is really rather mundane. It is because it was the first lake in the Lake District that my family visited together about 15 or 16 years ago.
I remember clearly our first visit as a family to the Lake District. We were at that time living in Edinburgh City, and I was searching for a week-long holiday with Hubby and the boys in a pretty countryside location that would give us easy access to town amenities as well as outdoor and indoor activities. The Lake District fit the bill, and thus my next job was to look for a place to stay.
After some weeks of poring over brochures, Hubby and I decided that we would go self-catering as our boys were still very young and we needed a place we could call our own where we could cook as and when the boys required feeding and where, if the younger one cried at night, we need not worry about disturbing other guests. I cannot remember now which caravan site we stayed at, but it was a little static caravan with two tiny bedrooms, a just viable living/dining area and an excuse of a kitchen and miniscule shower room.
It rained everyday while we were in the Lakes, and the caravan was damp and dank, with condensation running down the sealed glass panes and small windows. Inside, Hubby and I had to cope with damp footwear, wet or damp clothing, and smelly nappies. Thus it rained both outside and inside. Nevertheless, our family had a wonderful holiday.
We did not let the weather spoil it for us. Instead, we took advantage of any drier spells to go horseback riding in Coniston, fishing at Esthwaite Water, and riding on the steam trains and ferries. When it rained, we made our way indoors to visit various museums which we thought would interest our young boys. Our older son enjoyed a day at the Postman Pat house which does not seem to rate mentions anymore amongst visitor attractions in Cumbria. We also visited pencil, rope and car museums, many cafes for afternoon teas and snacks, and indulged in much window and actual shopping!
A few memories stand out from our short Easter break in the Lakes. One of these is the enormous amount of time we spent at Esthwaite Water. It was here that our older son first dangled a fishing rod in a Lake. He was 4 or 5 years old at the time and had already fished in ponds, but never a lake. I was petrified that he would fall in, so Hubby kept a close eye on him, whilst I kept our younger son equally close by my side. The staff at Esthwaite Water were wonderful with the kids. They promised that if our son did not catch anything, they would nonetheless give him two fishes to take back with him.
I don’t know how much time we spent at Esthwaite Water that first time we went there, but it was the first day of a number during our holiday. It is never cheap going fishing; however I was thrilled to see our kids enjoying the outdoors. Hubby was also in his element: he is by no means a good fisherman, but he does enjoy the peacefulness that descends as he waits for that all important nibble at the hook end of the fishing rod.
Esthwaite Water is stunning to look at, and has some basic facilities which are plenty for anglers who have no other thought in their minds except to catch that big one that somehow got away! I became very adept at anticipating when we would actually return to the caravan after the first couple of days fishing: the answer is late! Thus, I would take a book with me to read once our younger 2-year old had exhausted himself from traipsing in the fresh air and excited endeavours to catch that big fish with Daddy’s help.
When we did move to the Lakes in 2002, Esthwaite Water became the scene of learning for both boys and Hubby when they booked fishing tuition every time they felt the urge to go onto the water. Now that the children were older, the three of them would go out onto the lake with a professional fisherman and fish from a rowboat or motorboat. Once departed, I would not see them again until the sun had set!
I love the beauty of Esthwaite Water and the sheer aloneness that envelops one along parts of its shoreline. It gives one the sense of being marooned in benign environs albeit far away from bustling civilisation. There is a peace and tranquility that descends upon the spirit which engenders regeneration and refreshes the soul. I am one of those wives who is quite happy to sit with a book or books to read whilst my husband or boys fish just yards from me. I don’t ask for much, do I?
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