Last year Easter was a bit of a disaster. The weather was freezing cold, we were stuck in the Midlands, and nothing seemed to be open. So what a lovely contrast to this year's break. The sun shone more-or-less throughout, it was warm without being uncomfortable, the good weather brought the crowds out, and we managed to pack more into four days than most months!
On Friday we took off across Cumbria to St Bees Head, the start of the famous Coast to Coast walk. No way were we going to set off on that, but Dave saw it in the autumn at the start of his own marathon walk, and liked it enough to take me back. Not that there's much there, in some ways - a small dusty town, a large car park, a beach-front café... but the scenery is stunning. Sweeping beach, rock pools, soaring cliffs, and a path that heads off into the wide green yonder. We staggered up the first part of the cliff walk, teetering on the brink where the winter storms have washed bits away, and were rewarded with views back over the town to the distant Lakeland fells. Pure magic, and the drive there, via the white-knuckle route over Wrynose and Hardknott passes, wasn't bad either.
On Saturday we had a few local chores, but late afternoon we strolled down to Windermere Rugby Club for their 'rock the blues' event, a weekend of live bands featuring acts from various parts of the UK, with food from a local Mediterranean-style café in Kendal to boot. Sadly, this wasn't quite so much fun as I was expecting. The event itself was very small, really just rugby club members with a few holiday-makers who'd been lassooed in, and the music was a touch on the amateur side with endless cover versions of sixties and seventies hits. It was enjoyable enough, but had something of the feel of a family wedding rather than the festival we'd hoped for. And there weren't nearly enough Blues!
Sunday afternoon broke the mould, weather-wise, but we managed to cram a visit to Holehird gardens in before the cloud turned up. This is the HQ for the Lakeland Horticultural Society, only a stone's throw from where we live, but although we'd seen it advertised we'd never been. All I can say is, we didn't know what we were missing because it's an absolute gem. There are walled gardens and herbaceous borders, glass-houses and rockeries, ponds and cascades, all set in a stunning location with far-reaching views across the lake to the fells beyond. We trotted up and down paths, round and round beds, past fountains and streams, through the 'woodland walk' and past swathes of daffodils, heather and rhododendrons, all in glorious sunshine. A real treat, and since the garden is just about within walking distance, one I'm hoping to repeat.
Finally, on Monday we headed to Abbot Hall art gallery in Kendal to catch their current exhibition of British Surrealist art (totally fascinating), and then walked up School Knott to round off a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.
Lake District 4, West Midlands nil!