For the Foodies: a Special Meal at L’Enclume Aulis

After almost three weeks in England’s Lake District, our time had now come to an end. Our focus was primarily on trekking, so the meals were usually limited by time or location: mostly traditional English breakfasts and a lot of pub food. To celebrate the trip, we treated ourselves to a 15-course experience at Aulis, the Chef’s Table at the famous L’Enclume restaurant in Cartmel, in the southern part of the Lakes. Our experience, exclusively for the two of us and one other couple on this day, took most of four leisurely hours as we watched Chef Jake work his culinary and artistic magic. It was unlike any meal we’d ever had before – so this post is unlike any I’ve ever written before. It’s possible that these photos and videos will appeal only to the foodies out there, but I am hoping that the many unique dishes – truly works of art – will intrigue everyone at least a little bit.

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The Langdale Pikes

When I began my research about a trekking holiday in the Lake District, a full 18 months before our trip (extended, of course, by Covid), the first location I studied was Great Langdale. Thus, I thought it would be fitting finale as our last hiking base. Alfred Wainwright’s descriptions of the nearby Langdale Pikes made it sound like a Disneyland for fell walkers. It involved a lot of climbing over a fairly short distance, but the weather gods were supportive and we were not disappointed with bagging four Wainwright peaks in one day!

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Mickledon Valley and Side Pike

It was again time to drive, this time from Coniston to our next base, our seventh and final stopping point in the Lake District: Great Langdale. Like on our other travel days, we enjoyed some tourist stops along the way but couldn’t wait to get back on the trails, if the weather cooperated.

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The Old Man of Coniston

We got lucky with the weather on the day we made one of the biggest hikes of our trip: to the summit of the Old Man of Coniston, also known as Coniston Old Man or simply The Old Man, England’s 12th highest peak and a popular destination with its many routes up, spectacular terrain, and extensive views in all directions. It was a day we reached five peaks and bagged three Wainwrights!

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Another Travel Day, to Coniston

After our fill of Buttermere, it was time to load up the car and drive again. Just as we had done a few days before, we took a route out of the Lake District National Park and played tourists as we drove to our next base back in the Park at Coniston Village, alongside Coniston Water. We had some fun along the way at a castle, watching birds of prey, and getting over a couple of white knuckle mountain passes in our rental car obviously not designed for those conditions.

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Rannerdale Knotts Circular

For many years, it has been our practice and preference to start our hikes in the morning – it’s usually cooler, with fewer people on the trails, and it allows us time later in the day to take care of our other tasks. This routine didn’t always serve us well in the Lake District – but it was a hard habit to break. It was particularly tough when we awoke to this views like this…

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Wasdale Head and Loweswater

Having decided not to backpack to our next base, we loaded up the car and drove instead via a much longer route that took us out of the national park, then back in, to reach remote and rugged Wast Water. This lake and area have many claims to fame: the deepest lake in England, surrounded by some of the highest fells and spectacular crags in England (Scafell Pike – the highest, Scafell – the second highest, Great Gable, Kirk Fell, Lingmell, and Pillar), the 2,000-foot Screes, the smallest church in England, and the self-proclaimed historical center of British mountaineering.

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Scarth Gap to Haystacks

The small village of Buttermere is a popular Lake District tourist spot, and also home to a few working farms. On our next hike, to Scarth Gap and Haystacks, we saw a lot of evidence of the active dairy and sheep farming in the area.

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Scale Force and Windermere

The area around Buttermere Village has long been my favorite in the Lake District. I have visited its two adjoining lakes, Buttermere and Crummock Water, many times over the years, but have never stayed for more than a quick day visit. I was determined that we would spend ample time to explore it well, and even planned to come here twice on this trip!

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Castlerigg Stone Circle and Honister Slate Mine

Our long day climbing Helvellyn was also the last of our days on Ullswater, and it was time to drive to our next base at Buttermere. Good timing! The weather had turned overnight, so we took a leisurely route to visit a couple of places that have withstood the cold and rain for millennia: the Castlerigg stone circle near Keswick, and the Honister Slate Mine on Honister Pass.

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