The last stretch of road leading from the tiny village of Patterdale to the Old View B&B (and shepherd’s hut) felt like a truly victorious one.
My day had begun 8 hours earlier in Pooley Bridge, where I hiked 12 miles along the western shoreline of Ullswater following the Ullswater Way. My feet were tired and blistered, my belly rumbling and I was very much ready for a good nights sleep.
The golden evening air danced on the fellside opposite, still bright at 9 pm. It was midsummers night.
Rounding the corner to the outside bar which doubles as a reception in these post-Covid times, I was greeted by Dave who smiled and greeted me “You must be Rebecca”. You know that anyone who remembers a name is going to be a great host.
Arriving at Old Water View B&B
After popping my backpack down and receiving the large key to the shepherd’s hut which lay in the corner of the garden, Dave showed me around the B&B where all guests of the shepherd’s hut were also welcome to use.
The hut itself was quite basic, with no bathroom but there is a separate designated bathroom in the main B&B building labelled ‘Herdy Hut Only’ with a toilet, shower, sink and to my utter delight a bath to soak my aching feet.
Downstairs were two cosy sitting rooms, one with a full bar of spirits, wines and beers which runs on an honesty bar system after the owners have gone to bed. A large bookcase next to the fireplace holds a library of books on the Lake District from walks and hikes to the flora and fauna of the region. I can imagine how cosy and wonderful it would be to curl up here on a wet and wild bracing Lakeland day.
Dave pointed out a large photo frame in the hallway of Alfred Wainwright who wrote a series of famous walking guides on the Lake District and beyond. He explained Alfred would often stay at Old Water View on his Coast to Coast adventures (the perfect place to stop on the first night of the long-distance walk between the Cumbrian Coast through the Lake District and North York Moors finishing in Robin Hoods Bay).
After arranging breakfast time and ordering a packed lunch for the next day, it was time to settle into the “Herdy Hut”. The steps up to the hut are a series of old log-tree trunks which I could imagine being a fun affair after a few drinks!
Settling into the Herdy Hut at Old Water View B&B
Opening the door I immediately felt at home. Cute bunting lined the walls of the hut, a picture of the famous Lakeland Herdwick sheep (hence the name Herdy Hut), tea and coffee facilities and two immaculately made single beds with plenty of cushions that I immediately sunk my tired body into.
After a little sit-down, I headed back to the bar for a drink, eager to try the Lakes Distillery whisky (based near Bassenthwaite in the North Lake District). I also asked Dave for a plate and cutlery as I had stopped at the mini supermarket in Glenridding.
There are a couple of options to eat out in Patterdale but after a long day, I just felt like chilling. Dave offered to make a baguette if I needed it which was sweet, but I’d come armed with plenty of bread, cold meat and olives. Just outside the hut is a cute little table with a La’al (old Cumbrian for little) love bench which I settled into and chatted to a guy from the North East about mountaineering and fell running.
The garden stretched down to the river, with picnic benches for residents or guests who can pop into the riverside bar for a drink. Dave also explained it’s a good place to see red squirrels especially next to the Herdy Hut early in the morning – I couldn’t wait to have a spot tomorrow!
Eventually, the vicious midges drove me back indoors. I had planned to go back down to the shores of Ullswater (about a 15-20mins walk) to see the last light of midsummers eve, but the thought of a bath, book and almond butter cups won victoriously. (I don’t have a bath in my rented house in Ambleside so this made it doubly glorious!).
Needless to say, I was sound asleep shortly afterwards.
Squirrels and full English breakfasts
After a peaceful nights sleep, I awoke around 6 am to clear blue skies and pulled open the curtains to sit in bed and read for a while.
The only tiny hiccup I found during my stay was first thing in the morning the hut felt quite cold due to the lack of insulation (I used the extra blanket from the neighbouring bed at this point).
I think this was also because I was sleeping solo in the hut, I can imagine two people would be warmer but a little heater would have taken the edge off the chill!
To my delight, I managed to catch a brief sight of a red squirrel on the neighbouring garage roof in the trees, thrilled! Too quick to capture it on my camera though sadly.
At 8am I headed back into the house for breakfast (included in the price). As I had asked for a gluten free packed lunch the day before, Andi remembered and bought out gluten free toast straight away without me even having to ask – this was such a thoughtful touch and a true mark of a great host on paying attention to the tiny details.
I loved the fact you could mix and match the cooked breakfast options so you can build your own breakfast! I opted for classic English options with local sausages which were also gluten free. Cereal, yoghurts and a host of jams made by Dave and Andi were also on offer (which you can also buy to take away for gifts).
Full, happy and ready for day 2 on the Ullswater Way, I headed back to the hut to pack my belongings and set out back on the trail again after bidding my farewells to Dave and And.
I couldn’t recommend a stay in the Herdy Hut at Old Water View B&B more – it was the perfect way to break up my memorable hike on the Ullswater Way and I hope to come back for another adventure in future.
Please note that I paid for my stay in the Herdy Hut (£75 for one night with single occupancy in June 2021)