Reflections – a year in Ambleside

A year ago I was trying to find my feet; after an exciting summer in America I was ready for a break and my twelve months in the Lake District has been exactly that.

In all of the world, there are few tourist destinations with such irresistible appeal as the Lake District National Park. Home to England’s only true mountains, an amazing history and of course, some truly beautiful stretches of water, over sixteen million people travel here every year and spending a billion pounds in the process. Forever alive with the beat of hikers trundling their way through Wainwright’s beautifully written and illustrated guides,  guest from the east exploring places they’ve only ever imagined from the tales of their favourite authors such as William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter and, the often forgotten cash-cows of the Lakes, the typical British middle-of-the-road, middle-aged, middle-class couples looking for a romantic weekend away from their mundane suburban lives. The perfect place, then, for an Adventure Tourism graduate in his mid-twenties to take a break from travelling, put his feet up for a while and ‘see what happens’.

I had a job interview at Ambleside YHA for the night porter – not my dream job, but something that would keep me fed until the winter when I would back to France and drive Ski bums around in minivans. My dad dropped me off on his motorbike in Grasmere and I two nights booked there. Should it not have worked out for me, I would have moved on to the next place looking for a reason to be. Without any luck, and purely down to my sense of adventure, willingness to work and general nice-guy trustworthy charm, I managed to get plenty of job offers in the following 48 hours. I also figured the Lake District was the kind of place where short term accommodation wouldn’t be too hard to find.

Not too long later, I was making money from tour guiding, activity instructing and promoting Ecotourism in the Lake District. A Happy Place for Happy People.

Taken on tour at Ullswater, England’s second largest lake. Pictured, a traditional “steamer” passenger carrying vessel

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