Parkamoor: An Adventurous Back To Basics Experience

19 January 2022

Who doesn’t crave a little peace from time to time?

Somewhere that will take you away from the trappings of work or silence the endless notifications on your smartphone or laptop.

So, how about a holiday hideaway in a place only accessible by a farmer’s 4x4, where mobile phone signal and internet connection are non-existent?

Step away from modern living

The stars sparkle above you on a clear night, and the only noise is the wind or the distant sound of baa-ing sheep.

There’s no traffic, other than the occasional passing mountain biker, and no people, unless they’re on a mission to finish a challenging walking route.

That’s exactly what you’d find at Parkamoor, a house perched high on the fells above Coniston in the Lake District.

It’s a place that’s more than a little magical. When the weather’s wet, it perfectly lives up to its ‘Cottage in the Clouds’ name. When the sun shines, it’s just idyllic from every angle.

But whatever the weather, there’s always something to look at – even though you’re far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

The view across Coniston Water, the lake that lies far below you, is simply stunning.

You’ll get glimpses of Morecambe Bay through the swathes of mountains to the south and gaze at beautiful skies as the sun sets to the west.

Lights far below you twinkle in the darkness as people travel through a beautiful landscape in the Lake District – not realising that you’re watching from the fellside high above them.

A gorgeous, cosy cottage

Inside, you’ll find rustic stone floors and recycled furniture, with beds for up to six people.

The warm glow of candles lights your rooms at night, while the log burners are your only source of heating.

It’s a place that instantly takes your breath away, and many have fallen in love with it, coming back year after year.

This old farmhouse was last inhabited in the 1950s and little has changed since – other than a few tweaks to stoves and chimneys to ensure it’s safe for guests.

Living the simple life

Due to its isolated location, there’s no mains electricity or gas. Water is pumped from a nearby stream – or ‘beck’ as it’s known in Cumbria – and passed through a filtration system.

The outside loo is of the composting variety, but it has one of the best views on the planet.

There’s no shower – you’ll be getting washed the old-fashioned way with a jug and bowl of water or there’s a hip bath you could put in front of the fire if you’re not shy.

The house now has a little lighting downstairs, courtesy of a small solar panel and a battery, but you quickly get used to walking around with a head torch when the candles aren’t lit.

Get the log burners fired up with the logs provided for a supply of hot water – just remember to keep a kettle sitting on the top.

There's also bottled gas in the kitchen for you to cook a delicious feast on the stove.

Meet your hosts

You’ll be shown around by born-and-bred Cumbrian John Atkinson, who manages the property on behalf of the National Trust. He’s a tenant farmer whose family has worked the land here for at least six generations.

It’ll be John or one of the farm’s small team who drives you up to Parkamoor in the pick-up, complete with boxes on the back to carry all your belongings.

There’s plenty of space, so there’s no real need to pack light.

The journey up a stony track, splashing through streams, is an adventure in itself.

You’ll leave your car at the bottom, so don’t forget anything important or you’ll face a 20-minute walk back down to pick it up.

Some action-packed activities

If you love hiking or biking, there are some great long routes from the door.

One favourite takes you down into Grizedale Forest with its fascinating sculpture trail, visitor centre, café, and Go Ape aerial challenge.

Or, if you want to work up an appetite for lunch, head south towards the hamlet of Lowick, where one of the traditional pubs will serve up a hearty feast.

Alongside the route that brought you up is a meander through woodland to the lakeshore where there’s a jetty ideal for launching canoes and paddleboards or taking a wild swim.

A small stony beach is a beautiful place for a picnic or to dip your toes into the water, soaking up the breathtaking surroundings.

Step back in time

If you love history, you could take the walk down and hop into the car to visit Brantwood, once home to the philosopher and writer John Ruskin.

Coniston village is around a 15-minute drive away and has shops, cafés, and pubs, or you could go out to the coast and visit Grange over Sands or explore the lovely independent businesses of Ulverston or Hawkshead.

Just remember you’ve got that hike back up the fell when you return.

You could even buy some incredible meat from John himself – he’s a huge believer in sustainable farming, and your breakfast sausages or bacon couldn’t be more local.

His partner, Maria, has made the soap you’ll find in your room at Parkamoor using milk from her Jersey cow.

She’s an artist by trade, so be sure to ask about her gorgeous range of wool, tweed, bags, and clothing.

A simple way of living

Like the thought of leaving your windows open to watch the stars as you fall asleep?

How about reading in silence in front of a cosy fire, reconnecting with friends and family around the dinner table, and playing board games?

If this all sounds like total bliss, then Parkamoor is an experience not to be missed.