I just got back from Northern England and thought it might be
worthwhile to pass on a few observations. First off, I passed a few
walking days with HF Holidays at Monk Coniston in Coniston.
Although there has been some pickup in the number of people out on
the trails, the recovery is mild and that may be a good opportunity
for those looking to avoid the crowds that are normally in the
area. While I was there, Monk Coniston was only a third occupied;
last year it was closed. It's at the top end of HF's facilities.
Attractive public areas; rooms spartan; food hearty, but basic. The
guides were very pleasant and knowledgeable. I stayed with the low
level walks, which generally ran 7-8 miles and had occasional
challenging climbs. Plus, lots of mud and droppings from our four-
legged friends. All told, I much preferred hiking in the Bernese
Oberland. Better defined paths, better weather, and a generally
more pleasant experience.
In retrospect, I suspect that just poking around the villages and
saving the walking for a more hospitable climate would have been a
better choice. As we all know, there's always some kind of
precipitation in England. While I was there, the temperature rarely
got above 60. The last evening, however, was spectacular.
Driving on the left turned out to be much ado about nothing. The
motorways are a breeze and so are the roundabouts. The main problem
is the narrow country roads, which have stone walls rather than
shoulders on the sides, leaving virtually no margin of error. Other
than that, it was a nonevent.
Manchester is certainly the gateway of choice for those visiting
this area and I had the good fortune to locate a B&B at the southern
edge of the airport. It's called Pymgate Lodge and the village is
Cheadle. Their website is http://www.pymgate.fsnet.co.uk/ When
booking, I strongly suggest requesting a room away from the road.
The rooms are attractive as is the dining room, which is available
for breakfast daily and dinner most nights. Even driving slowly,
it's barely five minutes to Manchester Airport, quite handy for
those making early flights. Even closer is a Travel Inn, a modern
motor hotel found at
They have a restaurant called Beefeater, which provides
moderately priced meals. Quite decent, especially since Pymgate was
not serving dinner the night before I left.
Regards, Russell from Connecticut