A New Romantic Sublime


IF you don’t mind boats, the Lake District holds possibly no better hidden gem than the beautifully restored apartments which horseshoe Windermere Marina Village near Bowness.

The village, which overlooks arguably the finest and certainly most recently-renovated marina on England’s largest lake, was a recent victim of the Biblical-like floods which hit the Lake District in November 2009.

As a witness to the deluge, I recall paddling on the dawn after the disaster in a dinghy, zigzagging between the stricken hulls of the yachts and motor launches in the marina towards a family boat.

At that stage, the water was not only six feet above the marina’s jetties, but had encroached to near waist-height in WMV’s downstairs apartments. The flotsam, lagan and derelict of that day must have been of significant value.

Today, after months of restoration work, the post-diluvian regeneration – whether through sheer hard work, divine provenance, the raven of dubious hope or the dove bearing the insurance certificate of salvation, is testament to the resilience of all involved with the project. 

In fact, sat upon the apartments’ verandas overlooking the aluminal forest of masts which striate the light dancing around the marina basin, and watching the sun sink behind a pine topped ridge, even for those who don’t know their burgees from their  fo'c'sles, the vista is irresistible.

The apartments have been thoroughly modernised – the rich, tactile and wholly in-keeping slate kitchen tops and one-touch mod cons would have James Martin in his element – and the clever touch of the superimposed lounge and kitchen above the ground floor bedroom level, exploit fully the tremendous views of the marina and lake beyond.

Such is the modernity of the re-vamp that, with their above-headboard bedroom designs and at-a-touch lighting dimmers, many of the rooms look like a rendered design straight out the best imaginings of users of Google Sketch Up and other hi-tech CAD programs – complete with the natural add-on radiosity of the sublime Lakeland landscape.

Wordsworth’s The Prelude meets a watery Tron, if you will. 

If you prefer the lake, yachting fraternities have arguably suffered from - or at least the perception of - a haughty air. ‘Morning Commodore’, all that sort of stuff. Seemingly, ripe fodder for the Jonathan Meades of this world.

Thankfully it’s not wholly the case here. If you break out the grog, jettison your preconceptions, join in and don’t rock the boat too much, in this case, those afloat  - and onshore – are truly the best of company. 

And as 007 Roger Moore commented with at least one raised eyebrow when eyeing Caroline Munro stepping from her sprauncy launch, in The Spy Who Loved Me , there are at least one or two stylish lines on show.

Coupled with the fact that the hosts and staff at the WMV and the adjoining nautical experts at  Shepherds are thoroughly nice, and perhaps not unsurprisingly exude all the warmth of those brought up in the natural ambience of such a bucolic backdrop away from the plastic beatitudes of our urban centres, make sure to pen in to this new-look harbour when next in the land of Romantics.

More details and pricing from: http://www.wmv.co.uk/. A superb shop just a jetty away complete with amiable hosts add to the general vitality at the water's edge.
Apartment pics (c) Martin Hickes