Arriving at Gaia Farmhouse in the late evening, after some time traversing the Lake District’s renowned hairpin lanes, the home’s cosy interiors could not have been more inviting. With more than one fire lit, we set about cooking supper, all the while anticipating exploration of the landscapes that lay beyond the picture windows come morning.


The next day, after the deepest of sleeps in Scandinavian-style bedrooms, we woke early to catch first glimpse of the valley by daylight and were greeted by snow-capped peaks surrounding us. This magical introduction to Martindale was bolstered by our morning stomp to Scalehow Force Waterfall, where we spotted a herd of red deer grazing on the dew-covered mountainside.

In these days of streaming, it’s rare to go even one evening without the temptation of television. Yet, at Gaia Farmhouse, there’s notes of digital detox in every book and boardgame, which kept us chatting and laughing over brunches and candlelit evenings. Here, tempting window perches double as ideal spots for wildlife stakeouts, where patient tea-drinkers can watch as resident red squirrels go about their business in the garden.


There’s no better nourishment for the soul than unleashing the inner “big kid”. With a backpack stuffed with swimming costumes and coffee flasks, and carrier bags as makeshift sledges, we ventured out one evening for a spot of tobogganing and a lake dip. Plunging into the glacial cold of Ullswater Lake at dusk, surrounded by the shadows of peaks, was an exhilarating and surreal experience; with each stroke, wild swimmers can expect to feel a more profound connection to the raw beauty of the landscape.

Standing at 501-metres-tall, High Dodd is a nearby peak whose trail starts from Gaia Farmhouse. And the steep ascent is certainly worth the effort. On the way up, we took a breath-catching break in the sheep fold and debated where to go for our lunchtime pit stop: afternoon tea at Lowther Barn Tearoom, or a jaunt to Granny Dowbekin’s in nearby Pooley Bridge for some famous apple pie? Such leisurely questions marked the passing of the week: this peak or that, and what wine tonight?


The attention to detail at Gaia Farmhouse allowed us to fall into a languid land of adventure and comfort. Top tip? Stock up on goodies at Booths on your way through Windermere, then abandon the car for the week, and lean into life in the wild outdoors. You will not be disappointed.

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