On Location - Cumbria

ON LOCATION• The Journal • March 21

David Evans is the creator and curator of the Grey Fox Blog, a journey into style. His interest in fashion began because he sometimes wondered what to wear and how best to dress for work and casual occasions. Decisions, he says, that take on a different dimension as an older man. Age certainly doesn’t stop David, though, as he takes us on his travels while musing on fashion, culture, food, music and more. His sartorial take is fresh and witty, and he makes a charming virtual travel companion, sometimes pondering on attitudes to life, how to treat others as well as which car packs a punch.

Widely travelled and extolling the virtues of travel for personal growth as a global citizen, he picks out Antarctica as a life-changing experience. ‘Having seen first-hand how man is affecting even a continent as remote as Antarctica, we now think more carefully about the environmental impact of our travels.’ His desire to travel more sustainably sees him spending more time at his family home in The Lake District.

‘I have become an advocate of micro rather than macro exploration - finding corners of a city park I didn't know before or exploring an area of Cumbrian fell in more detail.’

His favourite walk shows the highest mountains in England on one side and the sea south towards Morecambe Bay on the other. Deer, ravens and peregrine falcons are a common sight and at night the sky is so clear that the Milky Way blazes across from horizon to horizon: experiences that fewer of us are now privileged to have.

Best Walk

Cumbria is a small area - some 25 miles square - but the mountains mean that it can take hours to get anywhere. This means that there are many unspoilt areas if you know where to look. For an easy walk visit the Roman Fort on Hardknott Pass. A beautiful spot, its historical interest is added to by the superb views of Scafell, the highest mountain in England, and towards the sea at Ravenglass. There are many longer walks – a favourite of mine is the The Fairfield Horseshoe which starts near Grasmere, this is one for the fairly strong walker with proper walking boots and clothing.

Best View

My favourite view is from any of the fells near The Old Man of Coniston. From here you can see most of the Cumbrian mountains and look south over the sea - spectacular indeed. If you don't mind a walk, spend a few hours exploring the upper reaches of Eskdale where the river descends in a series of waterfalls and pools which provide the best wild swimming anywhere.

Best Local Delicacy

The local food  is now well known nationally and there are several Michelin Starred hotels and restaurants and Lake District farmers supply chefs all over the country with the highest quality products. My favourite restaurant is Simon Rogan's L'Enclume in Carmel. They grow their own food, forage in the surrounding countryside and Morecambe Bay supplies fish, giving their cooking a very local flavour. More affordably, Rogan & Co in Cartmel offers a superb culinary experience. For the best pub food try The Blacksmiths Arms in Broughton Mills or The Drunken Duck near Hawkshead. And don’t miss the superb local beers.

If you're a meat eater, Cumbrian Tatty Pot is unbeatable. The local Herdwick breed of sheep lives out on the fells feeding from the grasses and herbs growing naturally. This gives the meat a superb slightly gamey flavour and it's cooked slowly with vegetables. Follow this up with the local Sticky Toffee Pudding, another Cumbrian speciality. 

Best Outfit

For serious mountain walking you need good quality clothing, Ventile or something like Gore-Tex. For most walks I love wearing tweed. Since before Victorian times those working and playing outdoors have appreciated the weather and water-resistant properties of natural wool cloth and I love wearing it. The colours blend with your surroundings, unlike modern clothes which tend to be made in safety conscious bright hues.

Best for Your Bucket List

With so many lakes there are lots of opportunities for getting on the water. I'd love to kayak the length of Coniston Water or Windermere. From both the views of the surrounding fells would be sensational. 

Follow David Evans www.greyfoxblog.com and greyfoxblog on Instagram.