The Solitary Rambler

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Filmed 3rd to 8th June 2013
Post-production completed 26th May 2014
Running time 64 minutes
The beautiful  Lake District , possibly the most gorgeous place on the planet. These are the very words I use to describe this wonderful countryside during my holiday here in June 2013. I am completely overwhelmed by the magnificent scenery of the lakes and fells as I explore the area around Windermere. I also take a little time to think back to my situation in life at the time of my first visit to the Lakes many years earlier.....
Filmed in the county of  Cumbria . Locations include  Windermere Hawkshead Coniston Tarn Hows Little Langdale Grasmere  and  Ambleside . This is the first film in the  Lake District .
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Background and production details
In the summer of 1987 I visited the  Lake District  for the very first time. As with my first trip to the Peak District the previous year I spent a week walking around staying in a different Youth Hostel each night. The Lake District covered a considerably larger area than the Peak, so I only visited a small region during my week’s holiday there.

I decided to stay in the Central and South-Eastern areas of the Lake District, partly because there was a mainline railway station in that region, i.e. Windermere, so it was the ideal location to start and end my holiday. I planned my trip to begin in  Windermere  and do a circular walk over the course of the week visiting locations which would include  Hawkshead Coniston Tarn Hows Little Langdale Grasmere  and  Ambleside . There was a wonderful atmosphere when I was there and I thought at that time the Lake District was probably the loveliest place in the UK I had ever been to. 

Even way back in 1987 I knew I would one day want to make a film of some kind in this beautiful area, and in 2013 it all became a reality when I was planning my 17th film of “The Solitary Rambler” to be set in the Lake District. Although I had made a few return visits to the area over the years, which included exploring other regions such as the North, Western and Eastern regions of the Lakes, I chose to film my latest film around Windermere and the other places I had visited during my original 1987 holiday.

Planning and scripting

I wasn’t sure what story I wanted to tell for my “Solitary Rambler” film set in the Lake District, so I just began by listing all the locations where I wanted to film. Eventually I came up with “Wayfarer of Windermere” for the film title as I would be the “wayfarer” making my journey around that region of the Lake District.

I booked a week’s annual leave from work at the beginning of June 2013. My plan was to stay in Ambleside during that week as I knew it would be a good base and convenient enough for all the locations I wanted to get to for the filming. I spent a lot of time researching on the internet looking at public transport as I thought about leaving my car at my B&B as much as possible to save me a lot of driving. It would also be logistically better to start and end the walks I wanted to do. If I used my car I would have had to do circular walks, but if I used public transport I could catch a bus from Ambleside to point A, walk from there to point B, from where I could then pick up another bus back to Ambleside.

During my research on the internet I also looked at places where I could eat out in the evenings. One of the issues for me was I wouldn’t feel comfortable going into a restaurant in Ambleside on my own.  However, I didn’t feel so uncomfortable going into country pubs by myself, so I researched many pubs serving meals that were in nice locations in the Lake District, but outside of the busy town of Ambleside. I eventually narrowed my searched down to a handful of pubs that had good reviews on  TripAdvisor .

I booked 5 nights accommodation in a B&B  in Ambleside at the beginning of June 2013, so I had until then to sort my script out. All my walks were planned, and at the very last minute I decided to tell my story of my job at the time of my first visit to the Lakes in 1987. This wouldn’t take up a huge part of the film, but I thought it might provide some extra interest in addition to the walks I would be filming.


On Monday 3rd June 2013 I set off for the Lake District. I reached  Kendal  by mid-morning, where I decided to grab some breakfast. After this I thought about my first shoot, which was only a couple of scenes just outside of the town on the A591 at the Lake District National Park sign. I then drove on to Windermere where the main part of the first day’s filming would take place. I parked up and took a few shots around the town before climbing up to  Orrest Head  to get some of the spectacular views over  Lake Windermere  and the surrounding countryside. Dropping back into the town I took more shots before moving the car down to  Bowness  where the remainder of the day’s filming took place. Arriving in Ambleside by late afternoon I took a few shots inside the B&B before heading off for a bite to eat over to the  Drunken Duck  at Barngates. Although a beautiful pub and location I decided not to eat there and moved on to Hawkshead where I had a meal in the  Sun Inn . Various shots were taken as I visited both these pubs. Later on that night I went out for beers in Ambleside and taking the camera with me again I took shots of the pubs I drank in before returning to my B&B to record a few internal scenes, which is what I did for every night of my stay here.

On Tuesday I left my car at the B&B and caught a bus to Bowness. The filming today took place as I crossed Lake Windermere by the ferry then passing though  Far Sawrey , up to  Claife Heights  and finishing in Hawkshead. I wanted to film Coniston so I decided to drive there in the evening, as I had chosen to dine in one of the pubs there, the  Black Bull Inn . I took my camera with me to film some lovely evening scenes of both  Coniston Water  and the village.

Wednesday I caught a bus again this time to  Hawkshead Hill , from where I walked to nearby Wharton Tarn and on to the lovely Tarn Hows. Filming lots of scenes around here I then followed a path to Low and High Arnside before arriving in  Skelwith Bridge  in time to catch a bus back into Ambleside. That evening I filmed around  Loughrigg Tarn  before driving on to  Chapel Stile  where I shot a few scenes and dined in the local pub, the  Wainwrights Inn .

Thursday I planned to do a circular walk, so I did take my car with me this time. I parked in  Elterwater  and filmed a walk from here to Little Langdale, Colwith Force to Skelwith Bridge before returning to film in the village where I had left my car. I returned to Little Langdale in the evening where I filmed a few shots as I dined in the  Three Shires Inn .

On the Friday I returned to Elterwater to film a couple of scenes as I climbed over the hills to Grasmere. Many scenes around this village were filmed including the  lake of the same name Dove Cottage  and  Rydal Water  before finishing up in Ambleside. Here I carried out a huge amount of filming. I was returning home on the Saturday morning, but before I left I just took a final couple of shots outside Windermere Youth Hostel.


As always the music was the most important aspect of the film for me. I had composed no less than two songs around my 1987 visit to the Lakes and it was essential that I incorporated both songs into it, i.e. “Until I Return” and “Value Your Love”.

Both songs made up the majority of the soundtrack for “Wayfarer of Windermere” aside from one or two other themes to give a little bit of variety. I'll admit that one of these themes does sound in part like the soundtrack to the film " On Her Majesty's Secret Service ", but it was a theme I hummed in my head during my 1987 visit, so it still had to feature in my film somehow!
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