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Low-key camping, with outstanding views

The phrase ‘it’s all about location location location’ rings true at Gillside Farm. One of the finest views in the Lakes is to be enjoyed standing in the shadow of Helvellyn and looking out across the reaches of Ullswater’s valley. Being able to relish such scenes from your tent just adds to the experience. 

 You’ll find Gillside Farm a quarter of a mile up the valley where the track ends, looking over this commanding spectacle. With your dues paid at the farmhouse, you’re free to set up camp wherever you like on the field that rolls back down towards Glenridding. Pitch at the bottom of the hill and you’ll stare skywards to the surrounding peaks. Pitch at the top and you’ll get near panoramic views into the Ullswater valley. So, it’s pretty much win-win for everyone. 

 Wherever you pitch up though, you’ll get close to the residents of this 40-year old working farm. Rabbits and sheep roam unfazed by the temporary squatters and the sound of sheep mowing the lawn around your tent is often your morning wake-up call. Just be careful where you put the food stash. 

 For the aspiring Wainwright in you, Gillside Farm is ideally placed to pick off some must-do treks. Running alongside the farm is the track that will take you up to that apex of the Eastern fells, Helvellyn and Striding Edge. The pathway can feel like a major A-road come the weekend, but you can remedy that by pitching further up the hill nearer to the. But if the call of fells falls on deaf ears then the pathway can also carry you back into town, lower altitudes and less-strenuous activities around the lake’s edge. Each day the farm posts an updated five-day weather report in its window, which comes in handy whether you’re heading fellwards or lakeside. 

 Although it’s called a caravan and camping park there’s no fear of a caravan in sight to spoil that view. The site’s split into two, with canvas campers in one field overlooking the valley and the caravans across the road under cover of trees. 

If you fancy some farm produce for your stove each morning, then simply head to the farmhouse to restock your larder with fresh milk and eggs. Or, if you’re feeling lazy, follow the delicious smell of sizzling sausages and smokey bacon, to find the small hut down by the walking track serving up a hearty English breakfast each morning. 

 There’s easy access from the campsite to Ullswater lake. Time it right, and you can get the boat out to Howtown or Pooley Bridge and walk back to Glenridding around the path along the shoreline. If you fancy going underground, you can take a tour down one of the old mines at the Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum. 

 With its picturesque views and easy access to water and walking, Gillside Farm is, in camping terms, a gem as precious as the local stone once was – although thankfully not as costly.

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