Our trip this time took us to Keswick as the title suggests and a site that we have tried for some 4 years to book into but has always been full on the the dates we required. At last we got a reservation.
The place is Castlerigg Hall caravan and camping park. Just 1.5 miles from the town of Keswick in Cumbria, just north of Derwent water. Castlerigg Hall is set in an elevated position in a scenic area just outside Keswick. Castlerigg Hall enjoys exceptional panoramic views of Derwentwater & Bassenthwaite Lake set against a dramatic backdrop of the surrounding fells.
Our pitch had views across the valley and down to Derwent water. A quick look round the site which was very tidy and well kept revealed two impressive toilet blocks. There was a restaurant on site and a small shop that was well stocked with gifts and provisions. Certain pitches have full services and some even have views as well. There is also free wifi but only available in the campers kitchen – I have just bought a wifi extender which I have been trying out.
41dBm Mini Desktop WiFi USB Booster Planar Antenna Set
Compared to the limited laptop wifi which could only just pickup 1 bar if the wind blew in the right direction from our pitch, the extender offered me a choice of 6 wifi zones most with full signal, of which 4 are private and required the pass key, the others were the sites own and the other sites wifi across the road and up the hill. So I can now sit on my pitch and use wifi. My next thing is to try and get the wifi on the laptop to hotspot to my phone and the other devices, but so far not much luck. Any suggestions welcomed by email.
We had a sandwich for lunch and then walked down to Keswick using the footpath that runs just past the site. Narrow in places where weeds could do with some trimming and steep sloping sections which need care. This brings you out on to Springs Road then turn on to Ambleside road and you arrive in the south east of town.
The pedestrianized area was busy with tourists and the cafes along the street were busy. Weather was sunny and warm. After a coffee to refresh us all we headed for Derwent water and a ride round the lake on a launch.
We headed back in to town but shops were closing. We opted to have a meal instead of cooking when we got back. We toyed with the idea of a taxi or bus back to the site but decided to walk off the calories!
As the weather looked better than the forecasted downpour for the day we decided to go to visit the Lake District Wildlife Park some 15mins outside Keswick, it actually took longer thanks to taking the wrong turn and heading in the opposite direction, slight misjudgement with the satnav.
Arriving at the site there was plenty of parking but some care needed to be taken on the grass verges in case of catching low hanging motorhome bits on the bumps. Entry to the park was slightly pricey at £33 for 4 adults – adults are from 14 years of age. The site is quite extensive with a good selection of animals, most in good size cages.
Our favourites were the gibbons, of which one was continuously putting on an aerial show.
The bird of prey display was excellent and we went to both performances. As well as the fantastic birds, the show was made more entertaining by the keeper who was knowledgeable and witty. On site there was a small cafe which we didn’t try and a gift shop.
We got back to the site and had a bbq for tea.
Decided on a restful day. Opening the blind in the morning once again revealed our fabulous view from the pitch. Breakfast at 10 was BBQ sausage and bacon butties. Monopoly was demanded by youngest daughter (groan) so after a quick game the laptop came out and draft blog for the trip started. Got some funny looks from passers by – maybe it was me sat with my laptop or the wifi booster or possibly the large glass of wine! Or maybe it was because it was spitting with rain? By teatime the rain was a bit heavier so we decided to try the evening menu at the on site restaurant.
Our final full day and we opted to go in to Keswick via the bus, number 555, from the stop at the end of the road. 10 minutes later and £15 lighter for a return ticket for 3 adults and a child we arrived at the very busy bus station / Booths car park.
There was a market on in the main pedestrianized area with some very interesting items on sale. We then headed to the Puzzling Place which advertises its opening times as 11am till 5pm – or 10am as their website is a bit puzzling to say the least! We arrived at 11am and hung around for 20+ minutes but the door remained locked? Puzzling indeed – enquiring with the local shops around they all said that it was open but not very regular with the opening times. We gave up and headed off to get some BBQ food and jump on the bus to return to the site.