Darren Fields is new to both our team (as the recently appointed Sales Development Manager) and to the joys of walking holidays in the UK. So we sent him to Hassness, our very own country house on the shores of Buttermere in the Lake District, to break in his new walking boots. Now he can’t wait to go back…
“There is no scenery like this scenery”. This observation was made by one of my fellow residents, on my first night there. As he was a veteran of 40 visits to Hassnesss Country House, I was pretty sure he knew what he was talking about.
But even that didn’t prepare me for the majestic beauty and tranquillity that greeted me as the sun rose the next morning. Hassness really has the most perfect setting, with magnificent views over the lakes and fells. The reflections of the colourful fells in the clear lake waters that constantly changed with the weather – that was something really special for me. Wildlife roams free in the grounds, and I felt I was a ‘guest’ of the lambs cropping the grass outside the house, privileged to share their landscape and be so close to the natural world.
The standard of the accommodation was impressive. Bedrooms and public areas were equally spotless. The food was fantastic and plentiful, prepared with fresh local ingredients daily. Carol and Brian are natural hosts, making everyone feel at home and part of the group immediately, making people comfortable with each other. After only a few hours post arrival you felt you had been there forever, and had known the group as friends. And after a hard day’s hiking, it was bliss to treat my aching muscles to a professional massage in the Hassness Haven treatment room.
But for me, it was the leaders who added that extra-special quality to the experience. Tess Starkey is fantastic, with a great personality. She really listens to and understands individual client needs in a mixed group. She gave a very helpful first evening presentation on the walks available to help you choose the right grade for your level. Tess was flexible, responsive and attentive, and her knowledge and experience instilled confidence even in this inexperienced walker. I felt secure and in good hands with Tess.
Another highlight was a presentation by a representative from the Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team, who gave an inspiring talk on their work and recent rescues – it really made us appreciate how they put themselves on the line for others, and the reality of living and working in this potentially harsh and dangerous environment. It added so much to the holiday and really brought the fells alive.
One thing at struck me was the number of groups of young people and families with children, out walking the fells, appreciating nature. This gave me great heart – I can’t wait to take my little three year-old daughter Lilly with me one day to share the experience.
My top three memories of Hassness?
1) The ultimate comfort of everything – I felt completely at peace, relaxed, and away from all stress.
2) As a newcomer, the confidence gained from the tour leaders really made the holiday – each day was met with excitement and anticipation.
3) The breathtaking scenery – it really was like walking into a painting.
And one bad thing – the lakes were far too cold for swimming! :)
Hassness exceeded my expectations. I’m hooked, and I’ll be back as soon as I possibly can!