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Lady of the lake; LESLEY OLDFIELD goes skiing - without the snow, or the slopes for that matter goes skiing - without the snow, or the slopes for that matter.

THE lake was smooth as glass with the sun just emerging to light up the beauty of the hills - perfect conditions for chucking your kids overboard!

This was my family's first experience of water ski-ing, a thrilling hour during our weekend at Low Wood Bay hotel on Lake Windermere.

The hotel's associated Watersports Centre offers all manner of activities and tuition including wakeboarding, sailing, canoeing and boat hire.

My teenagers - who actually jumped eagerly into the water, no chucking required - first took turns learning to water-ski on a bar at the side of the power boat.

Thanks to some patient demonstrations by coach Steve, my son, 17, was able to stand and ski on the rope by the end of the session, while my daughter, 14, stood at the side, then opted for a fun ride on the kneeboard towed behind.

I loved watching them in action, and loved the views from the lake - rather than the lakeside - so much that we took out a rowing boat next morning.

Both trips followed a huge breakfast in the elegant, woodpanelled restaurant of Low Wood where, later in the day, you can tackle a mean sticky toffee pudding.

This sweet Lakeland favourite is thought to be the subject of an enthusiastic review by a guest back in 1820. Yes, 1820!

We made the most of the indoor pool, which has a whirlpool and toasty outdoor hot tub, and steamed happily in the sauna.

Afterwards, we sat in huge armchairs in the Art Nouveau lounge, looking out over Lake Windermere with a great cup of coffee to hand.

The pool is a great standby for a rainy day but the sunshine ensured we ventured further afield, too. Our first trip was rambling up Latter Barrow from Hawkshead, round the other side of the lake.

As we walked, wildflowers were still in evidence in the fields, while autumn colours laced the trees.

The walk passed through woodland and a short steep section brought us to the summit, topped with an improbably large cairn. Low Wood is easily picked out far below.

On day two, we lunched at nearby Ambleside. This busy town is a mecca for teashops and suppliers of waterproofs, although from the footwear in evidence, I deduce that many who visit the former never require the latter.

From Ambleside we drove up the long, steep Struggle and over beautiful Kirkstone Pass to explore Brothers Water, which sits at its end.

In truth, this is a short stroll of a walk but an hour's circuit with stops for stone-skimming and admiring a large flock of barnacle geese, suited us fine.

Breakfast at Low Wood is the usual buffet arrangement - with special orders of kippers, smoked salmon and poached eggs, for example. But there are two huge English and continental selections available, including some very popular muffins.

Dinner is a much calmer affair and choices were tricky from the tempting menu.

The most colourful of our starters was the Cartmel Valley smoked duck slices on a salad dressed with kumquat, honey and lemon.

But everyone wanted to try my baked Petit Camembert, scooped up with chunks of crusty baguette.

Both teens chose Chicken Supreme for their main course and it looked very pretty wrapped in "air-dried" Cumbrian ham and stuffed with spinach, mozzarella and sun-blush tomato.

My saffron butternut squash risotto was sweet and delicious and avoided unnecessary extra cream. My hubby did less well with his Vegetarian Wellington, being a veggie who prefers stronger flavours.

For pudding, that sticky toffee pudding was a must, and did not disappoint, having plenty of sauce, clear date flavour, and served with vanilla pod ice-cream.

How the kids could then manage the chocolatecovered Kendal mint cakes is beyond me!

Must be all that exercise.

NEED TO KNOW LESLEY | Oldfield was a guest of English Lakes at the four-star Low Wood Bay resort hotel and marina on Windermere. This autumn and winter a two-night break is PS110 per room a night, or a three-night break PS99 per room per night with bed, breakfast and dinner on one night plus a glass of wine with dinner.

CALL | 08458 503502 or clickenglishlakes.co.uk. Based on two adults sharing Classic non-lake view room. Valid to November 23, 2014 (Sunday to Thursday), bookable by phone only. A one hour water-ski one hour water-ski session for up to four people costs PS72.

CAPTION(S):

Low Wood Bay from the water

Lesely's son tries water skiing

Above: The bright |and airy bedrooms. Below: The pool area

The stunning |view of Lake Windermere from the jetty
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 11, 2014
Words:762
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