Lucy’s on a Plate, Ambleside, January 2017

A change to normal procedures. We find ourselves at Lucy’s on the last night of our holiday, instead of the first. This was by design, as we wanted to indulge on our last night, after plenty of walking.

A simple starter tonight, tasty toasted pittas with houmous, olives and sun dried tomatoes. Light and flavoursome.

Eventually some beer arrived. The Coniston brews were all out of stock (a crime given that they are just a short drive down the A593). I ordered a Hawkshead Lakeland Gold and a Red turned up instead. It had been a long enough wait already, so I had that instead.

On to the main event, a nice piece of crispy skinned salmon with saffron mash, tender stem broccoli and roasted tomatoes. Very nice indeed.

Mrs MOFAD had this very nice prosciutto wrapped chicken dish:-

You have to finish things off with a pudding here, and it was sticky toffee pudding and two spoons. Moist and delicious.

A lovely meal at Lucy’s as usual, we shall always be back. It’s just a matter of when. Another great week in the Lakes comes to an end…

Boo to the 555

This is not food and drink related, but it’s my blog, so there.

It’s a quick rant about a bus. Today we did a walk along the eastern side of Thirlmere, arriving at The King’s Head Hotel in time for a late lunch. It was a little later than planned, but that was ok. It was always our intention to get the bus back to our starting point at the southern end of Thirlmere.

The 555 is the “main” bus through Cumbria, running from Lancaster to Kendal and then following the A591 through Windermere, Ambleside, Rydal, Grasmere, Thirlmere and on to Keswick. Whenever you are in Cumbria, you will always see a 555. Whenever we passed one it was a bit of a running joke to exclaim “555!”

The Lake District National Park Authority are always on at visitors to “leave the car behind” and to “enjoy the views without worrying about traffic or parking and help the environment”. We are all for that.

Correction.

We were all for that. Until we got on the 555, to take us from The King’s Head Hotel, Thirlmere down to Wythburn Church. A journey of 3 miles along a main road, which takes around 6 minutes.

This journey cost us £3.50 each. So why would we ditch the car? Even at some of the most expensive car parks in Cumbria (and there are plenty of these, lots of them have credit card machines) you can usually park for less than £7 for the whole day.

I did tweet Stagecoach about this (operators of the 555):-

Dear @StagecoachCNL

How on earth can you justify a bus fare of £3.50 for a journey of 3 miles/6 minutes on the 555 alongside Thirlmere?

They couldn’t justify it. All they did was to confirm that the fare was correct. Correct it may be, but surely it’s not right? How does that encourage the use of public transport?

Anyway, mini rant over, back to wittering on about food and drink…

The King’s Head Hotel, Thirlmere, January 2017

Tropical storm Desmond brought us here.

After the utter devastation that December 2015 brought to many parts of Cumbria, the county was almost cut in half by the closure of the A591 between Grasmere and Legburthwaite, due to parts being washed away near Dunmail Raise and landslip alongside Thirlmere. In 2009 it was voted “Britain’s favourite road”. In 2016 it was the subject of major works in order to get it back open again.

It reopened in May 2016, and in June 2016 we drove down some of it in order to get to a walk on the west side of Thirlmere. From the west side you could see across Thirlmere and get glimpses at all of the work that had done over the previous six months, as well as seeing some of the damage, the tiny trickles that have since turned into ravines.

Fast forward to today, and we had a walk that started from the Steel End car park at the south western corner of Thirlmere. Owned by the evil empire of United Utilities, it is still free to park in, their way of giving something back to the county. We walked along the eastern edge of Thirlmere, along many newly made and restored paths. The devastation was there to see in close up.

At the end of our walk, we found ourselves at The King’s Head Hotel in Thirlmere. It is one of those handy establishments that doesn’t stop serving food at 2pm, which was just as well as we didn’t get here until some time after that. We have been here once before, but just to park before our ascent of Thirlmere…

Off to the bar first, and time for a former Lakeland classic (now part of the Marston’s empire), Cocker Hoop by Jennings Brewery, a classic bitter golden ale.

Food next, and somewhere between the order being taken and heading off to the kitchen, my ham and cheese panino turned into bacon and brie, which is essentially just ham and cheese by another name. It was very nice, but not what I ordered. At this time, I was too tired to debate the matter, so tucked in. Nice side salad and always good to see some classic pickle on the plate too.

By this point, we had some time to kill before we caught the bus back to our starting point, so it was time for a coffee, a most unusual thing for me in a pub!

The story of the bus will follow in a moment, but The King’s Head is a great place for lunch if you are in the area – there aren’t many options to choose from, so it’s always nice that the option that you have is a good one.