Day 5 | Helvellyn
Early start today. Everyone ate breakfast standing around the island in the kitchen, with a bit of carb loading for the long climb ahead. We all regrouped at a supermarket to pick up lunch, then headed to the start point in Glenridding, at the base of Helvellyn.
On the ascent, we played a group game of “Where Am I” (pick a place or object in a film; everyone else asks yes-no questions to try and pin it down). This quickly descended into very obscure references - a personal favourite was the goat that the T-Rex eats in Jurassic Park - and a lot of Harry Potter stuff.
We took a break for lunch about a third of the way around. Was camped down by the Red Tarn lake and had our sandwiches (and vegetarian mountain sushi).
At this point, the more intrepid walkers set off to do Helvellyn itself: Tom, Josie, James, and me. There wasn’t so much a path as steep rocks with sheer drops on both sides, which was initially a little daunting but seriously good fun. Reaching the top at 2,800 feet felt well earned.
Once we’d reached the top, the issue was then coming back down. The path down was upsettingly steep and made from uneven rocks, which was extremely hard going.
We did eventually make it back to the cafe where the rest of the group was holed up, and revived over tea and a scone. Shot a time-lapse looking back at Helvellyn and got into a conversation with a lady at the cafe who had an awesome golden collie.
It was mine and Fiona’s night to cook, so I cracked on with homemade pizzas while chatting to Lara. It worked pretty smoothly once we got the production line going.
Day 6 | Pub + Murder Mystery
Had a pretty chill morning, with everyone sitting in the upstairs lounge and reading, sorting through photos, or browsing the internet. As we didn’t have much planned, I got the BBQ lit again and did the last couple of hash browns along with the remaining pineapple.
We took a walk to a local pub mentioning in our guidebook. We saw a bunch of wildlife on the way there (good for our informal photography competition). It was 2 miles there, and we had to hoof it to get there before they stopped serving food. Decent food and some solid local beer.
We walked the longer 4-mile route back - some awesome scenery.
After getting back we needed a few more things for dinner, so I left my phone shooting a timelapse in the back garden while Fiona and I nipped out to a nearby shop, and I crossed my fingers that it didn’t rain.
After a couple of hours of taking it easy, everyone readied themselves for the murder mystery that evening. Suits, dresses, and a whole pack of fake moustaches. The murder itself? Sir Michael Jagger was found dead in his study, with a whole host of shady characters in his house. Overall, I’d rate it higher than last year’s, where a lot of the characters seemed unnecessary. Awesome food to match - prawn cocktail, chicken kiev with mash, and epic chocolate cake.
The villain turned out to be none other than the dastardly Mr Sewer, the wine critic, who both Alex and I had pegged as the villain. We finished up a little before 2 am.
Day 7 | Alnwick + The Beach + The Feathers
Definitely the slowest morning so far - I didn’t summon the energy to get up until nearly ten. We settled on Alnwick castle as today’s destination and booked at a nearby pub for dinner. There was some deliberation over quad biking, which fell apart when they needed 24 hours notice.
We got tickets for both the house and gardens at Alnwick. Though I wasn’t a fan of the interior of the castle, the movie tour where the showed the places a bunch of films had been shot was good. The gardens were great though - the water sculptures were really interesting, and we caught the last poison garden tour of the day.
We had an hour to kill before our dinner reservation, so we went east to Alnmouth for the first bit of seaside all holiday. James and I sprinted into the water; unsurprisingly it was bloody freezing.
We ate at The Feathers in Hedley on the Hill, which is the epitome of quaint hamlets. The village notice board included a labelled map of every house in the village.
Day 8 | Heading Home | Final Day
We tried to get everything eaten up, so had a rather haphazard breakfast. There was some general last minute tidying up, and we left just before 10. It’s been a pretty intense holiday overall, and we’ve been getting a lot more done each day as we haven’t had a pool to go back to in the evenings.
Beth had car issues just after setting off, but they were sorted after moving some luggage over to James’ car. We met up for lunch at Keele services to grab some lunch and say goodbye to the people who were splitting off there.