Last week (that’s a lie now – more like 2+ weeks ago…) Derek and I did a little planning for a trip to Wales. We were going to go to Cardiff, find a beach, and maybe do some hiking with an ocean view. We had reserved our car rental, but we (thankfully) hadn’t booked any hotels. On Thursday night we were talking to some friends who had gone up to Chorley to see The British Pageant (if you’re familiar with the Hill Cumorah Pageant: like that but about the Mormon church in England, and, since it was written this past year – more updated). We didn’t have tickets so we hadn’t planned on going, but our friends said that they were told by someone (maybe not the most reliable source!) that no one who showed up for standby tickets had been turned away. We decided since this is a pretty historic thing that it would be worth it to try to get standby tickets. After a what was supposed to be a 2 hour drive took 4 hours… we made it and we did get tickets!
The show was excellent. Little L was stellar and played on our laps rather than freaking out (answer to prayer right there) that it was way past her bedtime, seeing as how the show was from 8:30 to 10. If she had gone bonkers…oooh it could have been bad. We were in the middle of a looooong row of folding chairs that were zip-lined together. Anyway. The story was excellent, the dancing made my heart happy, and the spirit was felt. I’m so glad we went.
Since we were already up north we decided to make it into a weekend trip. From Chorley we kept going north to some of the English Heritage castles and sites. We were basically just googling things on our phones and looking stuff up in an English Heritage membership guide and our Great Britain guidebook. So we didn’t necessarily know where we were going until we got there. Ha!
On Saturday we saw Brougham Castle and some un-inspiring Roman mounds.
The Roman Mounds (i.e. King Arthur’s Round Table) below. I don’t think we would have visited these if we had had a better idea of what they were/looked like. But I guess that’s just part of going on an entirely un-planned trip.We also drove along Ullswater and hiked to Aria Force.
Are those mountains not breathtaking?
Then we stopped by Castlerigg Stone Circle at the perfect time of day.
Little L was clearly getting some bad vibes from her first prehistoric stone. The second and third must have been better. : )
The situation demanded some jumping pictures. Derek assures me the first rock is higher than it looks…
Saturday evening we hadn’t booked a hotel yet, and were starting to feel a little pressure since all of the B&Bs in Keswick had no vacancy signs. I found a random hotel online that was 20 ish miles away and we headed there, hoping to see dinner on the way. There was nothing by way of food, or much more than farms, really, so the fact that our hotel had a restaurant/pub attached was a blessing. We were put in a room above the pub, and while we tried to have L eat with us, she was out of her mind tired so we put her to bed. We ended up being able to have a date night downstairs thanks to having the foresight to bring our monitor. I love when things fall into place like that.
Sunday we went to church and then started our drive home. On our way we drove past more lakes and stopped at Beeston Castle.
We saw some more medieval enactors on our way up to the Castle.
It was a bit of a climb to get up here, but the views were better than I expected for how short the hike was! We felt like we were on top of the world.
And another jumping picture to celebrate our king-of-the-world-ness : )
Dear Lake District,
You have taken my heart.
I can’t wait to return to your misty, glimmering crags and your peaceful, lapping waters.
Hope to see you soon,
A little more info about the British Pageant here, more about Mormons here.
I would recommend traveling without plans like this only if you really don’t care how much you see. While it’s fun for weekend trips or a few days here and there it may yield a really disappointing trip overall if you’re coming to the UK for a specific amount of time from the States or elsewhere.
Tune in soon for another travelogue, this time to York!