Grange in Borrowdale

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Every time I go down Borrowdale, I’m amazed by the view as you drive though the creatively-named ‘Jaws’ at the head of the valley, just south of Keswick. The valley is so narrow at this point that the crags either side seem enormous, and it’s extremely easy to imagine our Cumbrian ancestors watching the coming and goings in the valley from their fort at the top of Castle Crag.

I love Grange-in-Borrowdale. It’s one of those Cumbrian villages that sits unassumingly in fabulous surroundings, going about its business, with no idea how jaw-droppingly beautiful it is. Even the bridge into Grange – a whopping, low-slung, double arch over the Derwent - is simultaneously rather impressive and comfortingly local. The village twists away from the bridge at an angle that screens it from the main road, so it’s actually a surprise to see the street of little houses, all either white-washed or chunky local green slate, winding up to the famous Borrowdale Gates Hotel.

I can’t go to Grange without a trip to the Bridge Cottage tea room. My favourite is home-made soup and cherry pie, but the vast display of cakes always looks great. It’s probably a good job that masses of walks start from this village – you need it to walk off the cake!

Post-pie, you can take the dog or the children (or just yourself!) for a paddle in the river. The water level’s usually very low here, and the river bed is covered with smooth white pebbles, so it’s pretty safe. More to the point, it’s amazing how mesmerising rock pools are to hounds and small people, and it gives us oldies chance to take in the scenery.

We have a number of cottages in Borrowdale.