Saturday, 3 January 2009

The Cottage in the Wood

Happy New Year!

Due to the winter freeze up (-9 deg Centigrade) over the New Year period there wasn’t any fishing but a few nice walks in the Lake District and a stay in an excellent hotel (again)!

So do you fancy a veloutte of Jerusalem artichoke with a seared scallop floating in it, a pithivier of guinea fowl or perhaps a full cooked breakfast with Cumberland sausage and award winning black pudding? A fantastic wine list as well? Is there too much choice to make up your mind? Here are a few easier questions for you then.

Do you enjoy excellent food? Do you enjoy quiet surroundings? A friendly atmosphere? Good access to great countryside? If the answer to all of those questions is yes; please read on. If not, then don’t read on as it will only make you insanely jealous!

The Cottage in the Wood is situated on the road from Braithwaite to the Whinlatter Forest visitor centre and commands views across a wooded valley across toward Skiddaw and is only 10 minutes or so from Keswick and Derwentwater.

We stumbled across The Cottage in the Wood in April when I went up for a day’s guided fishing and we just had to return. We got one of those rare cancellations at the beginning of December for the New Year period… we were just so busy with work, boys and Christmas to get ourselves organised. We were very lucky! The guests staying in room 1 which has views over the valley booked it in October… just to give you an idea of how popular this place is!

Our room on this occasion was a standard double… cottage style but NOT twee! En suite shower room, flat screen TV and tea/coffee making facilities. We did have a superior room last time… the attic suite… contemporary with a traditional twist!

We’ve only been there when it’s been cold… and you are welcomed by a good log fire in the grate the warmth of which is only surpassed by Kath. Kath is welcoming, helpful but not intrusive… this hotel feels like an extension of your home! On arrival Kath shows you to your room and lets you settle in and arranges afternoon tea for you by the fire… just what the doctor ordered after a drive! Hot steaming tea with a slice of home made carrot cake… the cake was exceptional… so moist and light,definitely not wet and leaden!

We’d arrived on New Year’s Eve for the five course dinner… and we weren’t disappointed!

Liam is the other half of the equation at The Cottage in the Wood… he takes locally sourced produce and turns it into a work of art… the only difference being that you can eat the art! If you think you have eaten good food… think again! We consider ourselves pretty good on the kitchen front and have been to some top restaurants BUT believe me the creations here are exquisite and if your partner chooses something different on the menu it will leave you arguing as to who had the best! You will have to come back again for more!

So no fishing! No, sadly not but every cloud has a silver lining and the walks albeit not strenuous enabled us to catch up with our friends Clare and Nick and their daughter Anna. We walked up toward Easedale Tarn from Grasmere but with leaving it a little later on in the day and with ice across the foot path in places we didn’t get to the tarn… shame BUT we didn’t miss out on a great a bowl of soup at "Jumble" in Grasmere.

Breakfast at The Cottage are worth mentioning… fantastic cooked breakfasts with the same attention to detail… best fry ups EVER and just the thing to set you up for a day of walking or fishing!

Yesterday it was just the two of us and we walked along the edge of the partially frozen Derwentwater in glorious sunshine and cold, crisp, clean air! Fantastic… it was just good to be out and about.

Leaving Keswick it started to drizzle and we wended our way back home through the Lake District… travelling back on the A591 from Ambleside to the M6 via Windemere was a little tedious at times.

To sum up… The Cottage in the Wood… a hidden jewel in a forest setting.

As a bit of a post script… if you want advice on walking in the area Liam is your man as I believe amongst everything else he runs in the fells! For fishing drop me an email and I’ll put you in touch with a guide like no other… he knows where the fish are and has a great sense of humour! For those with Euros and Dollars in their pockets… there may be no better time to come and visit and get some great fishing in!

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