Buoyed with this new found spirit of adventure I booked a long weekend camping at Low Wray campsite on the shores of Windermere. I booked a lake view pitch and to my delight we were a stones throw away form the water and could simply carry our SUPs from the tent to the beach in seconds.
We had very strong winds on the first day so the boards stayed in the van and we went for a scenic walk around Wray Castle and explored the picturesque village of Ambleside nearby. Mike knocked up a yummy barbeque under the stars and then we turned in. After a night in the tent sheltering from the rain we woke to a dry day with no wind - perfect! And very different to the heavy rain which had thankfully blown through overnight. After fresh pastries from the camp shop (and a bacon roll to power Mike through a morning of paddling) we set off heading south down the west side of the lake. It was calm and serene to glide quietly along and we made good progress at a relaxed pace. Stopping for a cup to tea courtesy of Mike's camping stove which we stowed on the from of his board we could admire the lake from a deserted beach.
This side of the lake is heavily wooded making for a very good windbreak and quiet journey. As the wind was picking up a little we decided to cross the lake and ended up in Bowness - upon - Windermere, landing on the beach by the tourist lake tours we popped into the quayside fish and chip kiosk for a spot of lunch.
After a break sat in the sun we made our way back down the east side of the lake which had less tree cover and more boat houses and little marinas. The route home was very pretty with some grassland to admire and the stunning rock shores. When we were coming back towards the castle the lake narrowed and we crossed back over and landed back by our tent. A round trip of 4 - 5 hours at a leisurely pace.
After another delicious meal provided by my personal chef and tent technician we had another remarkably dry night under canvas before waking up to a sunny day, the lake was like glass as there was no wind at all. This time we set out heading north up the western shore and soon found a stunning bay - sheltered from the wind and glasslike as motor boats were banned. A couple of boats were moored peacefully in the bay with swans floating gracefully around the outskirts.
We carried on around the top section of the lake which is stunning with rocky outcrops and woods. We came to the river mouth and as there was very little current headed upstream to explore. After coming to a fork in the river we headed left where the river looped back towards the campsite - it does run all the way there but became too shallow to continue. I was very glad of our inflatable Red Paddle SUPs which were more then tough enough to take a few knowns on the river bed and had short fins.
We left the river and headed into Ambleside where again we landed on the beach next to the lake cruise boats and had a cream tea in a tea shop overlooking the beach and our boards. We then made our way back to the campsite by taking a direct route across the lake.
I was surprised that we only was 3 other SUPs the whole time we were there. This is an idea spot for nature lovers as the sheer number of swans, geese and many other birds which I cant name are perfect neighbours - although dont expect a lie in!
This was a magical trip which we will definitely repeat.