We stayed at NEW ING LODGE in Shap to break our journey on the way from south England to Scotland. We found the hostel on the Independent Hostel’s Lake District Map Just five minutes from the M6, and offering so much more then a Travel Lodge, our night at New Ing Lodge became one of the best bits of the holiday.
The kids only travel for 5 hours in a day, so we started our journey early and gave ourselves an afternoon to discover this small village on the high Cumbria fells. Who would have thought there would be an open air swimming pool in Shap! Run by volunteers, open from May to Sept, it is the highest open air pool in England. The kids did not seem to mind the driving rain and said it was warm as toast as long as you kept your shoulders under.
Booking into New Ing Lodge was a real revelation, the first thing we set eyes on inside the old farm house, were ecclesiastical stone pillars, they looked original but also strangely out of place. The warm carpeted hallways and creaky stairs took us past local artwork into an airy family room with soft bedding and fuffy white towels.
We got a friendly welcome from Scott and Jamie but the Lodge in Shap was quiet, waiting for its night-time guests to arrive. So we booked an evening meal and set off out again.
We walked across the fields of Shap to the old Abbey ruin (could this be the source of the pillars at New Ing?). On the paths we came across huge strange stones with names like The Goggleby Stone and an aura more ancient then the Abbey. The Abbey was deserted but with info to read and a secretive setting that set the kids off on a wave of imagination, exploring cellars and lying in stone body coffins. After endless games we noticed that dinnertime was approaching and so there was no time to visit the much recommended Lowther Castle Gardens.
At New Ing Lodge there was a pile of rucksacks in the porch and walking boots stuffed with newspaper by the log burner. Weather worn individuals were sat in the bar with pints and others, newly scrubbed, were sat by the fire discussing the day. The kids set to playing the boards games in the lounge and we got chatting. One elderly couple had walked 20 miles west to east on the Coast to Coast path and a group of army blokes had walked 21 miles east to west having stayed at Kirkby Stephen Hostel the night before. There were some international travellers from Holland and two mountain bikers who had been lost on the fells for most of the day. They were all truly enjoing the warmth and plenty of New Ing Lodge in Shap after the cold horizontal rain which had beat down on Cumbria for most of the day. The smell of dinner cooking was intoxicating and when we sat down to eat it was every bit as good as it smelt . Simple food, home cooked and all locally sourced. I have never had a chicken and bacon pie that tasted so good.
The next day we had to be away early, but perusals of the maps and guide at the hostels has made me determined to stay at New Ing Lodge again, so we can visit some more attractions and eat some more dinners in Shap.