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See More Lake District
Last month I was faced with a problem – we desperately needed some more photos of the key places, things to do and transport routes that are being featured in the new See More Lake District: Explore mobile app. I decided there was only one thing for it; I would have to take some of the photos myself. So keeping in mind the purpose of the Drive Less See More campaign (which basically does what it says on the tin!) I set off on my bike to get round the 21 routes with my camera. My photography skills do leave something to be desired… and I got lots of funny looks from passers-by every time I stopped to take pictures of bus stops and footpath signs (not the usual photographic subjects!), but the experience delivered much more than I expected!
I’m not really a ‘cyclist’ by any stretch of the imagination but I have to say I took to it with gusto – each mile further spurred me on to get to the next village on my route and even when I’d completed what I’d originally set out to do, I carried on for more. Other cyclists were waving to me as I went by, I conquered the hills (they scared me!) and I knew that I had thoroughly earnt my half-way slice of cake. The best bit was all the little things I started to notice, don’t get me wrong the grand vistas such as looking over Grasmere from Dunmail Raise are amazing, but equally is seeing the little Blackbird on the wall by the road and the lovely hedgerow flowers at my feet. Obviously you don’t just have to cycle to enjoy these delights; I’ve been a hill-walker for years for exactly the same reasons, but it’s nice to think that even when you have to get from A to B, for reasons other than leisure, you can make the journey an experience in itself.
It’s easy to forget about all the different ways we can get around the Lake District when we’re doing the everyday journeys required by work and business. We went on a guided walk on my birthday as part of the Windermere Reflections events (Helen wrote a blog on it earlier in the year) and we decided to use the car ferry to get to Ferry House where the walk started. I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say we all felt like little kids again waiting for the boat and riding across the lake, watching the spray of the waves and swans go by. This is exactly the kind of experience I would hope our visitors could enjoy too when they’re on holiday – rather than sitting in traffic on Easter Monday baking in the car (which I’ve also done). That’s why we’re working with businesses to help them give visitors the information they need to make the most of all the different ways there are to travel around the Lake District. Fresh Air is Free and now the Drive Less See More campaign are working to make it easier for visitors to ditch their car for the day and explore the area in a new way. The more people we can get to do this, even just for one day, the better. It won’t just be the visitor that benefits, less cars will mean a healthier Lake District for us all to enjoy.