It feels as though we have been away from home more often this year, with visits to The Lakes, Peak District, Northern Ireland, and Madeira as well as shorter breaks in Coventry, Gloucestershire, Cambridge and Chelmsford – the last two regularly to visit Matthew and Wesley’s families.
For our Lakes holiday in June we stayed in the Northern area near Penrith and explored places we have rarely visited before. Buttermere, Pooley Bridge, places around Keswick and climbed only one fell, Latrigg; just a gentle stroll really!
We joined Matthew’s family in the Peak District in July. Three cottages side by side in a village called Wetton; one for us, one for Matthew, Laura, Anna and Rowan, and one for John and Eileen, Laura’s parents. To the delight of the children there was a play barn there too. So we enjoyed the local riverside walks in Dovedale, explored the ancient Thors Cave, rode the heritage railway in the Churnett Valley and enjoyed meals in local pubs and restaurants.
In September we took the ferry to Larne in Northern Ireland. My brother’s son, Joel, was getting married to Rachael and we decided to take a holiday in Northern Ireland. The Antrim Coast is spectacular; Giants Causeway, Glenariff Forest Park to name just two places we enjoyed. We also visited Mount Stewart on Stangford Lough and the Titanic Experience in Belfast. We will have to return to explore more of the beauty of Ulster.
Our final visit to Madeira. Flying is such a hassle and bad for the environment so our visit to the Portuguese island of Madeira is to be our last. We have been there most years since 2013 partly because of a deal we had with a resort company there, which ended this year. But also because Madeira is such a pleasant destination. This year the October temperatures were record breaking. The staff said they had never known it to be so hot. We abandoned the Levada Walks and the mountains this year (perhaps a sign of our advancing years) and settled for gentle days wandering from cafe to cafe, reading and soaking up the warm climate.