Happy Holidays: Lake District versus France!


We’re off on our holidays to France!  Hooray.  Now I know how everyone that we speak to on a day to day basis here at “Sally’s Cottages” feel when they have booked their holiday cottages in the Lake District:  relief at finally having got something booked and excitement because now we can sit back and look forward to our holiday with anticipation.  

From the Lake District to France by car
Ready for two days in the car

The next step is to see what the cottages have already and what we need to bring with us.  And this is where the Lake District differs greatly from France.  Here in the Lake District things have moved on enormously from 30 years ago when my dad converted the pig byre into our first farm cottage.  When people came to stay at our cottage they had to bring bedding (blankets were provided) and pay extra for electricity, heating and cleaning.  Now all of our Lake District Cottages come with the beds made up for visitors and no fiddling around with electric meters.  Every time I go to France I’m surprised that we have to take everything with us, bedding, duvets (although blankets are provided but give me a nice duvet any day), sugar, salt … We need to remember to bring extra cash for the damage deposit, extra cash for the heating and electricity, extra cash if we don’t clean the cottage to a high enough standard.  This is all fine because it’s what I grew up with but it’s amazing to see where the differences are between the Lake District and France.  It’s just as well we’re driving there and not flying, although I can’t quite fit the kitchen sink into the boot of the car.

Bouldering at the Bowderstone in Borrowdale, Keswick

So we know what to bring, now we can plan what we’re going to do.  Being creatures of habit, we’re planning on doing exactly what we do in the Lake District except in Fontainebleau instead.  We’re all set for a spot of walking, some gentle cycling (at least there are no Eskdale passes in Fontainebleau) and of course some climbing, or to put it more correctly some bouldering (for those of you who don’t eat, breathe and sleep climbing, bouldering is about climbing up big boulders without a rope on the basis that the ground is usually never more than 6 meters away).  As I say, this is all stuff we could do in the Lake District but don’t you find that when you live somewhere, you never actually get round to doing all the things that there are to do, so we’re going to spend two days in the car with three children under the age of 4 to do what we could do here in Keswick.  And I can’t wait – happy holidays, here we come!


 Hardknott Pass
The Eskdale valley with Hardknott Pass road visible in the left hand corner
(Photo by Maurice Steele)

By the way, if any of you do enjoy incredibly steep passes on the bike, I challenge you to cycle over Hardknott Pass in Eskdale without getting off and pushing – we have plenty of cottages in Eskdale for you to stay in.