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One way or another it has been a busy few weeks for Giles and I since the beginning of 2014 and so last weekend we decided we were overdue some "quality time" together. "Quality time" is a much used phrase these days that people seem to apply to a whole range of things. But to me spending quality time with someone has always meant being one-on-one and basically being left to your own devices without the interference of other people and the world in general.
We chose last weekend's destination at Graysonside Bed and Breakfast, near Cockermouth, precisely because it gave us the chance to get away on our own and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.
En route we dodged rain showers to stop off at the spectacular Castlerigg Stone Circle, which overlooks St John's in the Vale, just outside Keswick. I always forget just how stunning this place is and a buffeting wind and dusting of snow on the surrounding fells added to the atmosphere even more. (If Giles had stopped reciting facts about Neolithic man from the information board it might even have been romantic!)
Our cobwebs blown away we hit the road again towards Lorton, stopping for a quick drink at the lovely Wheatsheaf Inn, in Low Lorton, on the way.
From here it was a short trip to Graysonside. As our host Janette explained, flexibility and working around what guests want is paramount at Graysonside. To cater for all needs there are a selection of beautiful rooms on offer and a luxurious little self-catering apartment as well. Our idea of "quality time" meant we had plumped for the self-contained self-catering option, so we were free to wander around in the beautiful soft bath robes without offending anyone.
Graysonside is understandably popular with walkers, being within easy distance of Bassenthwaite, Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater (all starting points for some of the greatest hikes in the Lakes). I can't pretend our day had been that energetic, but it was easy to see how Graysonside would be the ideal place to head back to after a day out on the fells. The little kitchen had everything I needed to whip up a lovely roast to go with our champagne (all right, it was cava, but close enough!) while Giles lolled in the bath and sang to himself.
The next morning dawned sunny and bright in the breakfast room of the B&B, where our host Andrew served me some delicious mushrooms and tomatoes while Giles tucked into a succulent bacon sarnie. As well as being within easy reach of some of the best scenery in the country, the B&B is also something of a wildlife haven itself and Red Squirrels and Woodpeckers regularly visit the garden.
So, after we had cleared our plates, we took the time to do some impromptu wildlife spotting over our coffee. We were in no hurry to leave, we were meant to be spending "quality time" after all.
Find out more…
Graysonside Bed and Breakfast: www.graysonside.co.uk
Castlerigg Stone Circle: www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/castlerigg-stone-circle/
The Wheatsheaf Inn, Lorton: www.wheatsheafinnlorton.co.uk