The Lakes District cross country to Cheshire

7.59am, Thursday 21st March, next to the Swan And Two Nicks pub, Lymm, Cheshire, England

Morning folks, and it’s all sunshine and frost out there this morning…….top day in Cheshire here we come! Here you go, this is for all the sunshine starved Englishfolk!

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Yesterday we started out by saying goodbye to Chris and the team at the Rothay Garden hotel up the top of the Lakes District in Grasmere, after doing the Tuesday night Yalumba dinner as part of their in house residential Wine and Food Festival. Yep, that would be the one with the grand finale of the unforgettably fluffy Sticky Toffee Pudding.

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And then when we found out that the village of Cartmel was on our way to our first call of the day, and happens to be the Home of Sticky Toffee Pudding – minor detour and away we went. It turns out to be an old Norman town that has a lot more going on than just Sticky Toffee Pudding – the locals put me straight there!! In fact, I was introduced to a bloke that you’re going to hear a bit more about – William Marshal. He’s the chap that was responsible for raising the Cartmel Priory back in 1190, and goes on to become the First Earl of Pembroke.very interesting chap, and he had to go on a serious search for the location of the priory, because he had to find a site that was “between two rivers, one flowing south, one flowing north”. True story.

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So, just a whirlwind stop, but a good one. What else will you find in Cartmel? The two Michelin star restaurant L’Enclume, the Cartmel Cheese shop and bakery – magnificent jam donuts!! Then theres the Kings Head pub complete with stream and ducks, and a proper stone arched village square, and of course – the village shop groaning under tons of Sticky Toffee Pudding and Kendal Mint Cake. I’ll definitely be back!

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Oh yes…..don’t worry Cartmel – we’ll be back!! You can never have too much Sticky Toffee Pudding!!

Then it was on to our first call, to Windermere and the Lakeside Hotel. But I’ll have to leave it there – we have to get cracking as we’re heading over to Clitheroe and more trade calls today before finishing up this evening with a Yalumba Dinner near Macclesfield. See ya then

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OK folks – we’ve criss crossed Cheshire and Lancashire most of the day, and I’ve made it to where we’re doing our last wine dinner for this tour – at The Windmill Pub at Whitely Green, near Adlington. There’s 64 hardy souls going to brave the ice solidifying out there in the air, to come and have a look at what we’re up to 9000miles away on the other side of the world. It’s the Windmill Pub’s Wine Lovers Club night, and it’s going to be a bit of fun – featuring the 2006 The Signature Cabernet Shiraz. So this is where I’m at right now, about to put a bowl of Potato soup away – the calm before the storm that’s going to start at around 7.30pm for an 8pm kickoff.

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But to finish off the ‘what we did with our travels yesterday’ section, here we go. After meeting Marcus at the Lakeside Hotel in Windermere, we nipped down to the village of High Newton with Jannette – our EWGA (that’s our local wine distributors looking after us up in The Lakes district) gal, and we grabbed a bowl of tomato and bean soup at The Crown pub. I can honestly say I’m going to cheerfully volunteer for all the work up here in The Lakes and surrounding areas – the pub, country house, restaurant and hotel folk that we’ve met so far are just tops. Yep – I’m definitely free those days!

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After the late lunch – off to EWGA headquarters for the introductory tasting of all the Yalumba wines that they have on their books before making tracks to Hale (in Cheshire) and our masterclass…..with canapés….at Simon Rimmer’s “Earle”. This was our first event with Paula and the folks at Portland Wine, and I’ll be truthful – they gave me a serious wine workout! Not just the usual stelvin closure vs cork questions here – we got into the Barossa and terroir, the comparison of brandy spirit and svr with respect to the difference between making port and muscat styles of fortified wines, and the characteristics of the last 3 Barossa vintages compared and contrasted – you get the picture! Happy to report that we’ve been booked for the same time next year, and the class is full! Thanks a million Paula, and to young Charlie at Earle – great canapé combinations with the wines.

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And then it was back to Ash Farm in Lymm……lights straight out!!

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So there you have it – that was Wednesday, and that was us county hopping from The Lakes in Cumbria to Cheshire.

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