Canoeing on Ullswater, Lake District (with a dog!)

Canoeing is something we have both always wanted to have a go and but somehow never ended up doing before! Given our love of the outdoors canoeing seemed like the perfect way to take in the glorious surroundings of the Lake District whilst we waited for the morning mist to clear from the mountain tops before our afternoon hike! We took to it like, erm, fish in water!

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It’s funny really because I often find myself pushing for this or that adventure to happen. Organising, ringing and messaging people, looking at dates and transport. From looking at our blog and facebook pages it would seem that adventure just finds us, but often it’s more a case of wanting to go out and do something so much that we make it happen one way or another.

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Well sometimes plans fall apart and frustrations creep in. But what I have learnt from this, and a subsequent other adventure (anyone see us on top of that rollercoaster) is that sometime adventure and opportunities do come your way if you are open to them.

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All year I had been going on to Shorty (Paul) about how much I wanted to go Striding Edge on Helvellyn this year, and how great it would be to be able to do some kayaking or canoeing. He wanted to just as much as me but he was definitely getting a bit fed up of me keep mentioning it. We had made plans a few times already to go but every time something came up with either us, friends, work commitments, family occasions, injuries or transport issues. You name it, it came up!

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Then one Friday lunch time I got a message. “Fancy Helvellyn tomorrow?”… Erm yeah I kinda do! So that was that, frantic packing of bags and camping equipment and no sooner had I left the door at work and we were off! Suddenly we become the first people to be asked along on an adventure because the answer is always going to be YES!

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When we got up the following morning the sunshine we had experienced for the entire week previously had been taken over by thick and ominous clouds. Here we go again I thought, it’s just my luck after Mt. Pilatus in Switzerland was covered in clouds!

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Well checking out the weather report it said that later on in the day the clouds would give way to bright sunshine…so what to do in the Lake District until we set off on our mountain trek…

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We decided to head off for a walk around the lake when a sign advertising canoeing and kayaking caught out eye…here it was, that opportunity to do some canoeing that I had been trying to manufacture all year!

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Heading out onto the water!

We had our friends dog with us and expected it to be a little expensive too but headed down the lane to have a look for ourselves. Turns out they were really chilled guys, no trouble with having the dog with us and we didn’t need any laborious or patronising inductions. Just a few health and safety pointers, a life jacket and before we knew it we were on the water! All for only £15…£5 each! Can’t say fairer than that!

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Not only that but the guys at the boat house said we could go pretty much anywhere we wanted on the lake as long as we could get back in good time. The little islands in the middle and the picturesque beaches lining its edges could all be landed on too. Time for an adventure!

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Paddling at first set off a little rocky, the dog fancied a go and jumping in and we all ended up with our paddles on one side headed straight back in a circle!! Once we organised ourselves and Shorty stopped hitting my paddle with his we were off…this time in a straight (ish) line!

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Where to go? We took in our amazing surroundings, gratefully watching the mist roll off the mountains which surrounded us and bobbing along nicely on the calm lake. We set our sights on the furthest of the two small islands we could make out and headed for a direct course. Once I had finally put the camera away and we all paddled we picked up some speed in preparation for landing on the hidden pebble beach!

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Scrambling up the green and slippy rocky sides of the island we reached it’s peak to reveal an unrivalled view of the lake. We explored this tiny island in this rugged and tranquil setting before heading back out on the water.

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For another hour or so we paddled around this huge lake, in reality only covering a very small section, but at the same time seeing wonderful sandy beaches, high cliffs and thick forests, inlets and coves, caves and islands. Ullswater has a vast array of natural beauty to discover and exploring that via the water is such an involved and adventurous way to do that.

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We headed full steam back to the boat house having miraculously stayed within the dry confides of the canoe! We had a peaceful and reflective journey on the lake and look forward to getting back in the water in the future maybe in a more adrenaline filled Kayak adventure! But it was lovely to be able to take in these views in such a relaxed environment!

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Off we went scrambling up the river and traversing the mountains to continue our adventure on foot… Posts to follow but check out our video below:

Prices:

The lake offers rentals as well as lessons for those less confident or those wanting a more intensive experience.

The rental prices are as such:

Kayak
1 hour – £10
3 hours – £25
Full Day – £45

Canoe
1 hour – £15
3 hours – £40
Full Day – £65

Dingy
1 hour – £25
3 hours – £60
Full Day – £95

Traditional Boat
1 hour – £35
3 hours – £80
Full Day – £110

Single hander
1 hour – £20
3 hours – £50
Full Day – £70

For more information on what is available, dates, events and lessons check out their website: www.glenriddingsailingcentre.co.uk

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Location:

The lake we canoed on is Ullswater which is in Glenridding in the Lake District. The lake sits at the bottom of Helvellyn and is the starting point for most walkers. It’s size also means that it can be reached from many small villages but the sailing centre is down a lane across from the main carpark and visitors centre. Glenridding is in the northern part of the lake district and took around about 2 hours 15mins, approx. 100miles from Manchester.

Have you ever been canoeing?


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Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.