South Cumbria Escape to the Country


South Cumbria

Property show. Alistair Appleton house hunts in Cumbria with an active young couple looking to spend up to £300,000 and gets a taste for Kendal mint cake.


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Transcript


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Legend has it these stones are all that remains of a witches' coven.

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They also form the second-largest stone circle in Britain.

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Find out where I am in just a moment.

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In today's show, I'll be helping a couple desperate for the outdoors life

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find their first home together in the country.

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However, they're keeping their cards close to their chest.

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I don't what know what to say.

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You're quite hard to read. You have this poker face!

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But maybe our mystery house will force them to open up a bit.

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It's quite romantic.

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Welcome to Cumbria, a county filled with mountains, poets,

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and this stone circle, known as Long Meg.

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Meg, which is this one, was claimed to be a witch

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and she and her many daughters were turned into rocks.

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This stone circle, it's said, is protected by magic.

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It's impossible to go around it

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and count the same number of stones twice.

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So while I test that theory, you take a look at the rest of the county.

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One, two, three, four, five...

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As the most north-westerly of England's counties,

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Cumbria's charms are countless,

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many of them lying within the Lake District National Park.

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Among the 16 lakes scattered across the county's dramatic and mountainous terrain

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is Windermere, which, at ten and a half miles long and a mile wide

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claims the title of England's largest natural lake.

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Its scenic splendour is a draw for over 8 million visitors a year,

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many who come to enjoy the raft of outdoor pursuits this area lends itself to.

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The outlying fells and villages beyond the National Park

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are also a compelling option for many people seeking a home here.

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In fact, in some parts of the Lake District, Coniston, for example,

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51% of the property belongs to second-home owners.

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But if you ARE looking to move to the area,

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there are properties to suit every budget.

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For £260,000, this three-bedroom stone barn conversion outside Wigton

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provides a generous open-plan kitchen diner

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and bedrooms with impressive roof beams.

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Outside, the garden has views over the adjoining fields.

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Or how about this four-bedroom barn conversion near Foxfield

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for £420,000?

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It has a state-of-the-art kitchen-diner, a lovely garden

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and a roof terrace which offers stunning views

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towards Kirkby Moor and the local woodland.

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For larger budgets,

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£675,000 could buy you this four-bedroom farmhouse in Alston.

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It has a light, airy feel with wooden truss ceilings

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a running theme throughout the main house.

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Our house-buyers are desperate to leave their town life behind

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and move into the glories of the countryside,

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so let's find out why they want to make their escape to Cumbria.

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Lesley, a retail manager, and Carl, a school teacher,

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have lived together in their three-bedroom home

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in the suburbs of northern Blackpool for two years.

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But since becoming a couple, they both want to head out of town

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and pursue a more active lifestyle in the Cumbrian countryside.

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We both want to move to the country. I think we like the outdoor lifestyle

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and the accessibility to the countryside, basically.

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This'll be our first property that we'll have bought together,

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and that's one of our main reasons. We want to be quite rural

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and have the ideal that we've always wanted.

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One of my interests is cycling. Lesley and I used to do quite a lot.

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Unfortunately, the traffic around here is just ridiculous.

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The chance to go out and cycle in the countryside

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is something we're looking forward to.

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Becoming a fully fledged gardener

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is part of Lesley's outdoor ambition.

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As you can see, this is my little vegetable patch and it is very small.

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At the moment, all we can really grow are strawberries and raspberries,

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and when we move to the country, what we'd really like to do

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is grow a greater variety of fruit and vegetables.

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Whilst striving to fulfil their rural dream, they also realise

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that initially they'll have to commute back to Blackpool for work.

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Because of this,

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they want to settle in the Kendal area with easy access to the M6,

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and besides being insistent that their next home should be detached,

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there are other priorities to factor in.

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For me, I'd like the new house to be pretty much

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everything that this place isn't, to be honest.

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The main thing for me is location.

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It would be wonderful to see some scenery, wildlife, et cetera.

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The property itself,

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I don't mind whether it's an older property

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or whether it's a newer build,

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but I would prefer it to have some character features.

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So I would like a nice, unusual fireplace

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or it to have character inside. Ideally, I'd love a big kitchen.

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Two bedrooms would be fine.

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Ideally, we need somewhere that could be a studio,

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so that might be some outbuildings that come along with the property.

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It's more about the location.

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I'd prefer it to be a bit more out on its own, whereas Lesley

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would probably prefer to be a bit closer or actually in a community.

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Lesley sold her property two years ago,

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and with Carl's on the market for £145,000,

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they've agreed their top limit.

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The maximum budget we're looking to spend

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would be around the £300,000 mark.

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I know we always say that it's going to be challenge to find

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what our homebuyers want, but in Carl and Lesley's case,

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there are some specific factors that could trip us up.

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Firstly, their budget's not the biggest.

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Secondly, everybody wants to move to this beautiful corner of the countryside,

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and thirdly, local occupancy restrictions really do limit

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the number of properties that incomers like Carl and Lesley can buy.

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The good news is, here on Escape, we love a challenge.

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At their request, we'll be focussing Carl and Lesley's property search

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in the Kendal area, although their budget may mean

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we have to push the boundaries to get them what they want.

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We've selected three handsome Cumbrian homes to tempt them with,

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but I won't be revealing the price of each until they've had a guess.

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The last property is our mystery house

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which we hope will push them beyond their comfort zone.

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-Welcome to Cumbria.

-Thank you.

-Where the sun is always like this.

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-It never, ever rains.

-Glorious, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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I can understand why you want to move here.

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Has it always been your destination of choice? Why here?

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We had a conversation a while back and we decided

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we only ever wanted to move one more time, so we actually made a list.

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We did it separately to make sure it wasn't one person's choice

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over the other, of places where we really want to live,

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and top of our list was the Lake District.

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-That's nice.

-So it made sense, basically.

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It sounds like you have perfect unison

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when it comes to where you want to live.

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What about the kind of property? Do you have the same taste there?

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I think Carl is definitely more to do with the location of the property.

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These views are amazing and that's what we're moving here for.

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I'm probably more to do with the interior of the house,

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whereas Carl is more to do with the exterior.

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-Your budget is 300.

-Correct, yes.

-Fixed in stone.

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-The top of our budget.

-Because you have sold your property and yours is in the market.

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It's on the market at the moment, and we're also looking to let,

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so we're ready to go, basically.

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We have found some lovely properties to show you, so let's start looking.

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Happily, with their budget of £300,000,

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Lesley and Carl have realistic expectations,

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but ideally they are after a detached property that provides them

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with a living room, preferably with a lovely period fireplace,

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a large kitchen-diner, a minimum of two bedrooms,

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space for Carl's studio

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along with a good-sized garden for Lesley to grow vegetables

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and countryside views are a must.

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We're getting our property search under way with location

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at the top of the agenda as we head to the village of Brigsteer.

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With all the amenities of Kendal just three miles away,

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this is a superbly rural spot with a well-regarded pub,

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a small parish church and a scattering of properties

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which enjoy views over the Lyth Valley,

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and our first house is no exception.

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So this is the spot I wanted to bring you to.

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-And this is the property I want to show you.

-Excellent.

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First impressions? Yours, because you were trembling as we approached.

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A gorgeous setting, absolutely gorgeous.

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Couldn't have asked for a nicer setting.

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Really like it from the outside.

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-Really intrigued to see what's inside.

-It's attached.

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How do you feel about that?

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That's the first thing I noticed,

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but obviously, in this location, something's got to give.

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Quite like the fact that we've got neighbours that are near,

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but we'll have to wait and see what inside brings.

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I can see there's going to be a bit of tension!

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The dog will decide, I think.

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Hopefully, the dog will give the heads-up to the large double garage

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which has studio potential for Carl.

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But it's the windows in the main house

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that I think will hold his attention.

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Come in to the sun room. What are your thoughts?

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It's the view that I'm looking at. It captures the view perfectly.

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The view is one of the main things that we're after.

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Certainly from my side of things, I want to be able to sit

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and admire the view.

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-Quite cosy. I quite like it.

-QUITE like it?

-Quite like it.

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What do you think of the style of it?

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This is quite a taster of the whole house.

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It's very modern, which obviously, ideally, I wanted some period features,

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but I do like the general feel and the presentation of the room.

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OK, well, let's move on.

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This was the original front door before they put it on the sun room,

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but now it's become the back door.

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-This is the sitting room.

-I like the fireplace.

-I like the fireplace.

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Eyes immediately drawn to the period detail.

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Size-wise, it's cosy.

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I'm just wondering if it's a little bit too small. Ceilings are OK.

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But then it could be positioning of furniture.

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'Let's see if Lesley warms to the kitchen.'

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Right, now. You've seen everything on the ground floor.

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-What do you think?

-I think it's lovely.

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Everything you could need in the kitchen. Quite modern.

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It's not a huge property.

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You've got to take that on board,

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but what they've done with it is really great.

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-Ideal for entertaining. I can't fault the kitchen at all.

-That's good.

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You're quite hard to read.

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You've got this poker face when you come into a room. So you like it?

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I take everything in first. I love the floor.

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'We have a quiet but positive reaction to the downstairs,

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'and upstairs the space has also been well configured

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'to offer three bedrooms spread over two floors.

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'There's a single room with a small but sleek

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'refitted modern bathroom, and next door is a possible master.'

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-This is one of the two bedrooms on this floor.

-Excellent view.

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Beautiful view. Imagine waking up to that. Lots of storage.

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-Is this the main bedroom?

-They use this as their master bedroom, yeah.

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-But all the bedrooms are pretty much the same size.

-Size is fine for me.

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'We'll head upstairs again and see

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'if they have any creative thoughts for the third bedroom.'

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Up in the eaves, they've added an extra room.

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So this is a new addition in the last few years.

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The reason they didn't use this as the master is

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because you're a bit leany-over.

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But it's got great views

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and it might be a good work space or an office.

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Be ideal for you if you wanted it.

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Yeah, I've already got my mark on it, to be honest.

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The view is stunning.

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It's ideal size, the light's good, it's out of the way

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so I wouldn't be in the way downstairs.

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'This cottage has all the requisite rooms they were after

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'and would be an extremely comfortable first home for them.

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'Outside, the location gives them glorious countryside

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'on their doorstep, but at the expense of the size of the garden.'

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Come on out.

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So this is where we have to compromise.

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I was waiting for that word.

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Because this is your back garden,

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essentially just a little patio garden.

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Space enough to have a barbecue and a big kennel,

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-but not really room for a veggie patch.

-No.

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I can't see myself just sitting out here too long,

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to be honest with you. It would be more the sun room at the front.

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What do you think this property is on the market for?

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I think because it's a semi-detached property,

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I'm thinking it might be around 270.

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Knowing you're a man of your word

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and you wouldn't go above our budget,

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-I'm going to go, actually, 290.

-290.

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Clearly you overestimate my word, because sadly, this is over budget.

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This is actually on the market for 315,

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but have a look around again, explore at your leisure,

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and I'll meet you out in the front in the sun room

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and then we can take it from there.

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-OK. Thank you.

-In you go.

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'The fact that this semi-detached cottage is over-budget

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'at 315,000 only highlights the premium'

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they have to pay for location.

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However, it's also in excellent decorative order

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and provides them with two living rooms, one with great views

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and the other with a stone fireplace,

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a beautiful kitchen diner and three bedrooms,

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one of which Carl has already earmarked as his studio.

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The main drawback for them was the courtyard garden,

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but it's offset by being in their ideal location with great access

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to Kendal, the Lakes and the M6 for driving to work.

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Internally, I think it offers us all the space and the rooms that we need.

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We've got two potential living rooms.

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I think the kitchen/dining room is absolutely amazing.

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Location-wise, this is probably as good as it gets, so the question

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is are we prepared to lose the back garden for being in this space?

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-Hello.

-Hello.

-All done in there?

-Yes.

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Keep your thoughts about this house to yourselves

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because we have got another one to look at.

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Sitting on the outskirts of the national park,

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Kendal is Cumbria's third largest town and is often dubbed

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the southern gateway to the Lakes

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and is defined by its limestone grey buildings.

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From 1941, it was home to Alfred Wainwright and was where

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he served as borough treasurer

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and worked on his famous Pictorial Guides of the Lakeland Fells.

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Along with exploring the terrain on foot,

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there is also a fantastic network of accessible cycle routes,

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and as Carl and Lesley are keen to take to two wheels,

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earlier in the week we arranged for them to meet Toby Dalton who's lived

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in the Kendal area most of his life and owns a local cycle company.

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He's taking them on a leisurely ride which takes in some local

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beauty spots, starting with a pause for breath in Staveley.

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Great little stopping place, this.

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This is Barley Bridge and the Barley weir,

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and we've just come back from Kendal,

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so we're five miles into the ride or so.

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Mountain bikers come from all over the country

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to ride the trails round here. There's some big famous trails.

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One in particular is called Garburn Pass.

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It's real steep, a very technical descent.

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a real challenge for a lot of people.

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-So would that be a good one for me and Leslie?

-Maybe in a year's time!

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Cyclists are asked to avoid foot paths.

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That's not a problem here as Cumbria

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has more than 1,200 miles of bridleway,

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more than any other county,

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which helps pull in £33 million from outdoor pursuits each year.

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It's easy to see why with views like this over Kendal

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towards the northern lakes. But that's just for starters.

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OK, guys. If you're up for it, we're going to go

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and check out Windermere now.

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It's a little bit of a cycle, 15 miles in that direction.

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We're going to go on a little curve round on some country lanes.

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Toby has mapped out a comfortable two-hour right for them

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which ends in a well-earned rest by the shores of Lake Windermere.

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Nice bench and a good view.

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Did you enjoy the ride? Do you think you'll be

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out on your bikes quite a bit when you eventually move up here?

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It was an excellent ride.

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It's where to go, there's so many choices,

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I think that's our bigger problem, which direction you head off in.

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Even for me, because I'm not that experienced with all of the hills,

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it was all right for my level cos I'm quite a novice,

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-yet it was still a challenge in parts for Carl.

-Excellent.

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The great privilege is that you don't have to go home

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and after work you can nip out on your bike

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or put your running shoes on and go out on the fells.

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Within ten minutes, you can be out in the wilderness.

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Can't beat it, to be honest. It's a cracking place.

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Being able to enjoy the magnificent countryside of the Lakes

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is key to their move.

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Although, our second property also factors in their request for land.

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As we edge over to the western side of the Lakes,

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close to Broughton-in-Furness, just over 30 miles from Kendal.

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In the past, this small market town prospered

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from the trading of wool and cattle.

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Many of its historic buildings surround its Georgian market square

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with its central obelisk marking the Jubilee of King George III in 1810.

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On the outskirts of the town, and with stunning views

0:20:080:20:11

of the Duddon Valley, we find our second property,

0:20:110:20:14

whose remote setting should appeal to Carl,

0:20:140:20:17

whilst giving Leslie the original character she wants.

0:20:170:20:20

Now, you know you were worried about neighbours...

0:20:210:20:25

We thought we'd bring you somewhere

0:20:270:20:30

that was just a little bit more remote.

0:20:300:20:32

Yes. This is just what I was after,

0:20:320:20:35

but I don't know about Leslie? Location wise, this is perfection.

0:20:350:20:39

It's a great location and this is the property I want to show you.

0:20:390:20:43

-It again is attached.

-OK.

0:20:430:20:46

-We couldn't rustle up all of this for you in your budget.

-Why not?!

0:20:460:20:51

But what do you think of this architectural style?

0:20:510:20:54

This is probably more in your...

0:20:540:20:56

From what I can see, I like the outside of the building.

0:20:560:21:01

I like the fact that it's built in stone so that's very appealing.

0:21:010:21:05

Let's have a look inside.

0:21:050:21:07

Let's see if she's sold on the internal quirks

0:21:070:21:10

that inevitably crop up in such a historic conversion.

0:21:100:21:13

Come into the pigsty aka the dining hall.

0:21:150:21:20

I like the features.

0:21:250:21:26

I like the fact that it's uneven walls

0:21:260:21:30

and not finished to a smooth finish.

0:21:300:21:33

I'm just trying to think how we'd actually use this space,

0:21:330:21:38

if we would actually use it as a dining room.

0:21:380:21:42

Sure.

0:21:420:21:43

This is billed as the dining room because it's next to the kitchen.

0:21:430:21:46

Why don't you have a peek in the kitchen?

0:21:460:21:48

Mind the step.

0:21:510:21:53

It's not huge.

0:21:570:21:59

No, I think if you look in the English dictionary, the term little

0:21:590:22:03

is a picture of this kitchen.

0:22:030:22:05

Maybe the features of the living room can work their charm.

0:22:060:22:11

This is the other room on the downstairs.

0:22:120:22:16

This would be the sitting room, lounge.

0:22:160:22:19

Great, great thick walls again with a little alcove and a window seat.

0:22:190:22:23

So, it's a bit more period-y.

0:22:230:22:26

It is much more period-y.

0:22:260:22:27

It's certainly cosy. It's got the features.

0:22:270:22:31

The features are lovely. I love the window seat

0:22:310:22:34

and the view outside.

0:22:340:22:36

And the little features they've done and the fireplace.

0:22:360:22:39

I'm just trying to think

0:22:390:22:41

if it's a workable space.

0:22:410:22:44

And you've got three bedrooms.

0:22:440:22:46

The views are a big theme upstairs where there are

0:22:500:22:54

three bedrooms which like the last property are spread over two floors.

0:22:540:22:58

The first consists of two cosy, little singles

0:22:580:23:01

and a well-furnished family bathroom.

0:23:010:23:04

But we'll see if the master on the second floor measures up.

0:23:040:23:09

So the present owners have just put this on.

0:23:110:23:14

This is a top floor extension

0:23:140:23:16

to give themselves this master bedroom.

0:23:160:23:20

Obviously, this is by far the biggest upstairs room.

0:23:200:23:24

This is fine for me.

0:23:240:23:26

It's got a nice feeling, with the light coming in through there.

0:23:260:23:30

And from there as well, behind the door.

0:23:300:23:33

So far, it's just the kitchen really that's an issue for me.

0:23:330:23:38

Although they feel that the room sizes overall have come up short,

0:23:380:23:42

there is the possibility to extend downstairs

0:23:420:23:44

as the current owners have drawn up plans to build a glass sun room

0:23:440:23:48

out from the current porch.

0:23:480:23:50

Subject to planning permission, of course.

0:23:500:23:53

There are also other opportunities outside

0:23:530:23:55

that would exceed their expectations.

0:23:550:23:59

You may have fallen in love with the house in the last property but you didn't like the land.

0:23:590:24:03

-There was no land to like. Fair enough?

-Fair enough.

0:24:030:24:07

So this property has a bit more land.

0:24:070:24:11

All of this is yours, the mown, green grass bit,

0:24:110:24:17

but there is also the possibility for a small purchase price

0:24:170:24:21

of buying all the two acres right up to the top of the hill.

0:24:210:24:27

So without that big parcel of land,

0:24:270:24:29

how much do you think this property costs?

0:24:290:24:33

250?

0:24:330:24:34

I might say it's slightly more than that.

0:24:360:24:40

270.

0:24:400:24:41

Well, this property is on the market for 250

0:24:430:24:46

and that parcel of land could be yours for £10,000.

0:24:460:24:51

So that makes 260 all together,

0:24:510:24:53

but the vendor's keen to accept offers from you,

0:24:530:24:56

so you could probably get it for around 250.

0:24:560:24:59

Why don't you go have a look.

0:24:590:25:01

You can have a wander up there as well.

0:25:010:25:03

Take a look in, see what you think about the house again,

0:25:030:25:06

what you think you can do with the land and then we'll meet at the end.

0:25:060:25:09

-OK.

-OK.

-Off you trot.

0:25:090:25:11

Priced at just a shade under £250,000,

0:25:150:25:18

this stone cottage is well under their budget threshold

0:25:180:25:21

and offers them a wealth of period features,

0:25:210:25:24

including exposed beams and a stone fireplace,

0:25:240:25:28

three bedrooms

0:25:280:25:30

and a sizeable garden which they could extend to two acres

0:25:300:25:34

if they spent £10,000 on the adjoining woodland,

0:25:340:25:37

all wrapped up in a spectacular setting

0:25:370:25:40

with far-reaching Lakeland views.

0:25:400:25:43

I love all the period features that we have in this property.

0:25:430:25:46

Obviously, the little window seat and the beams.

0:25:460:25:49

But for me, I think the living area downstairs

0:25:490:25:52

is just a little bit on the small side.

0:25:520:25:54

I can see why you brought us here.

0:25:540:25:57

Again, you do need to look at the potential

0:25:570:26:00

as opposed to what's actually here.

0:26:000:26:02

This does offer the potential to become the house for ever.

0:26:020:26:08

Beautiful views but maybe a few too many pieces to this jigsaw.

0:26:080:26:12

-Are you all done?

-We are.

-You're still smiling. That's good.

0:26:120:26:16

Come on, let's go and regroup.

0:26:160:26:17

As evening falls over the Cumbrian hills,

0:26:260:26:29

it marks the end of the first day of our property search.

0:26:290:26:33

With their £300,000 budget, Carl and Leslie want to quit

0:26:400:26:44

the Blackpool suburbs and build a new life for themselves in the country.

0:26:440:26:48

The two houses we've seen so far have proved just how tricky

0:26:480:26:52

balancing the equation of house, land and location can be.

0:26:520:26:56

But for our mystery house, we are throwing caution to the wind...

0:26:560:27:00

Ta-da!

0:27:000:27:02

..and I get a taste of one of Cumbria's sweetest claims to fame.

0:27:020:27:05

Smells nice.

0:27:070:27:09

I've already clocked that Carl has a strong, but probably slightly frustrated, creative streak,

0:27:150:27:20

but I realised yesterday that Leslie has it too. They're both dreamers.

0:27:200:27:24

They're both always looking forward to the next room, the next project, the next house, the next field.

0:27:240:27:29

Really, this move is a lot more than just changing houses.

0:27:290:27:32

It's almost like they're both coming together to start something completely new.

0:27:320:27:36

Then when I think about their commute, how realistic is it

0:27:360:27:40

to travel for an hour-and-a-half every morning, back and forth to Blackpool,

0:27:400:27:44

when what they really want, I think, is something totally new?

0:27:440:27:49

We need to force their hand and the mystery house certainly does that.

0:27:490:27:54

We're going to see the mystery house. What do you think that will involve?

0:27:580:28:02

Just so long as it's not a terraced house in the middle of town,

0:28:030:28:08

that's my only stipulation.

0:28:080:28:10

Hoping that it will be a detached property. But not too remote.

0:28:100:28:14

For our mystery property, we're staying on Cumbrian soil

0:28:160:28:19

with the Lakes 25 miles away,

0:28:190:28:21

and heading to Alston in the North Pennines.

0:28:210:28:25

Reputedly the highest market town in England at over 1,000 feet

0:28:250:28:28

above sea level, it provides them with great walking terrain

0:28:280:28:32

for their new outdoors lifestyle.

0:28:320:28:34

Five miles from Alston, our mystery barn conversion challenges them

0:28:340:28:39

to think about turning their back on the commute to Blackpool,

0:28:390:28:42

and gives them a taste of how they could earn an income from running a holiday let.

0:28:420:28:47

So, I appreciate I've taken you on quite a hike

0:28:470:28:50

but luckily I've brought some Kendal mint cake to keep you fired up.

0:28:500:28:54

-Thank you.

-It's good, high energy.

-Thank you.

0:28:550:28:58

And it's this property here.

0:29:000:29:03

The whole stone-built, from the 1700s,

0:29:030:29:08

old miners' cottage in a beautiful location.

0:29:080:29:12

-Detached!

-Detached.

-Excellent.

0:29:120:29:15

From the outside, I love the stone-built property.

0:29:150:29:18

And the location is absolutely mind blowing.

0:29:180:29:23

So this is actually two holiday lets joined together.

0:29:230:29:26

So you need to decide what you're going to do with it.

0:29:260:29:29

Sounds like a positive challenge.

0:29:290:29:32

'Now they've taken the bait, we'll explore the larger cottage,

0:29:320:29:36

'whose two bedrooms and living areas are set out over three storeys.'

0:29:360:29:41

Come on in.

0:29:440:29:45

Bearing in mind it is a sort of upside-down house -

0:29:480:29:51

to take advantage of all the views,

0:29:510:29:53

the bedrooms in both cottages are downstairs.

0:29:530:29:56

Yes, I completely agree, I would have all the bedrooms downstairs.

0:29:560:30:00

You need to appreciate the view,

0:30:000:30:02

so there's no point having your living room downstairs.

0:30:020:30:05

-I'd probably keep it the same.

-Outside, you ticked all my boxes.

0:30:050:30:09

-It's just Leslie you've got to convince now.

-Oh, right. One down!

0:30:090:30:12

Tacked onto the side of the property is a laundry room used by holiday guests,

0:30:140:30:18

and downstairs there is a good-sized bathroom

0:30:180:30:20

along with a separate sauna.

0:30:200:30:22

But I think Leslie is going to be convinced about the upstairs kitchen

0:30:220:30:26

when she sees its main focal point.

0:30:260:30:29

Ta-da!

0:30:290:30:30

That's what you call a fireplace!

0:30:330:30:35

This is what you call a period detail.

0:30:350:30:39

-It is a period detail.

-It is a period detail.

0:30:390:30:42

It is an old miners' kitchen stove.

0:30:420:30:46

What do you think of the bones of the kitchen?

0:30:460:30:49

It's bigger than the last one.

0:30:490:30:53

The size of the kitchen is fine.

0:30:530:30:55

It's really good. I could imagine, you know, modernising this,

0:30:550:30:58

and look at the view.

0:30:580:31:00

-Is that a positive poker face?

-THEY LAUGH

0:31:000:31:03

Let's have a look upstairs.

0:31:030:31:05

'We've notched up brownie points from Leslie for the kitchen,

0:31:050:31:08

'so time to admire the views from the upstairs living room.'

0:31:080:31:12

Up the stairs to the view!

0:31:150:31:18

-Wow.

-Makes sense to have the sitting room upstairs.

0:31:190:31:23

It's better than I was expecting.

0:31:230:31:26

I was worried there were going to be smaller views

0:31:260:31:28

that we had to stick our heads out of.

0:31:280:31:30

I do really like it.

0:31:300:31:32

I can see if our furniture was in here, facing out to that view,

0:31:320:31:35

it would just be wonderful.

0:31:350:31:38

OK, now, you might be wondering where you sleep.

0:31:380:31:42

Is that the surprise?

0:31:420:31:43

No, it's not downstairs. Because there is a room here.

0:31:430:31:47

They do have one room upstairs, which is the master bedroom.

0:31:530:31:57

-It's quite romantic.

-It is, actually.

0:31:570:32:01

And then, in the morning, ta-da!

0:32:010:32:06

It's the view.

0:32:080:32:09

'Now we've seen the house they can call home,

0:32:090:32:12

'we'll go and explore the second part of our mystery proposition.

0:32:120:32:15

'These two holiday lets combined are currently bringing in

0:32:150:32:19

'an annual income of around £20,000 based on just a 20-week occupancy.

0:32:190:32:25

'The second cottage also has a double bedroom downstairs,

0:32:250:32:29

'and benefits from a Victorian fireplace and flagstone floors

0:32:290:32:33

'with a spacious modern bathroom opposite.

0:32:330:32:36

'But it's time for a game of compare or contrast

0:32:360:32:39

'as we take a look at the main living area upstairs.'

0:32:390:32:42

Coming through to the sitting room again with a beautiful view.

0:32:460:32:50

And with the kitchen all part of it.

0:32:500:32:56

That definitely passes!

0:32:590:33:02

'While they mull over which side of our mystery house

0:33:020:33:05

'to take as their own, we'll head outside,

0:33:050:33:07

'where they get more than they could have ever expected.'

0:33:070:33:11

Ah, it's the big moment.

0:33:130:33:17

These two cottages together come with a parcel of seven acres of land.

0:33:170:33:21

Oh, my God.

0:33:210:33:24

-I don't know what to say.

-OK, well, let's talk money.

0:33:250:33:30

I'm going to say 340.

0:33:310:33:33

I'd certainly say it's worth that, but I'm going to hope it's 320.

0:33:350:33:41

This is on the market for...

0:33:410:33:46

£300,000.

0:33:460:33:48

THEY CHUCKLE

0:33:480:33:51

-You could afford it.

-Neither of us know what to say.

0:33:510:33:54

Well, why don't you have a wander around,

0:33:540:33:56

while you think about it,

0:33:560:33:58

-and when you've found some words, we can talk afterwards.

-OK.

0:33:580:34:03

Aww! Now, that was a very, very long punt,

0:34:060:34:10

bringing them all the way here.

0:34:100:34:12

You know what? It seems to have paid off.

0:34:120:34:15

Bang on budget at £300,000,

0:34:170:34:19

our mystery house is the ultimate test for them to sever work ties to Blackpool.

0:34:190:34:23

But if they are brave enough to go the distance,

0:34:230:34:26

they will get two houses in one, providing a two-bedroom

0:34:260:34:30

and one-bedroom cottage, both with upper-storey living rooms

0:34:300:34:34

from which to soak up those incredible views.

0:34:340:34:37

And along with the ready-made holiday let business,

0:34:370:34:39

there are over seven acres of land

0:34:390:34:42

to fulfil Leslie's dream of self-sufficiency.

0:34:420:34:45

So we could either be in the other property and rent this one out,

0:34:450:34:50

because that would give us more income,

0:34:500:34:52

or we could stay in this one, depending on the job situation.

0:34:520:34:59

I think this property is absolutely amazing.

0:34:590:35:02

It's got a fabulous location, it's detached,

0:35:020:35:06

the decisions are which part of the property do we potentially live in?

0:35:060:35:11

This property is too good to be true, to be honest.

0:35:110:35:14

There are no negatives.

0:35:140:35:16

The only problem as I see it is which side of the house

0:35:160:35:21

do we want to live on?

0:35:210:35:23

As the teachers would say, it is an A+, top of the class.

0:35:230:35:27

There's your little gold star.

0:35:270:35:30

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was a good mystery house.

0:35:300:35:34

-Have you found words to express your joy?

-A few!

0:35:340:35:38

Good, well, let's share them in the car. We're going home.

0:35:380:35:41

Cumbria's mountainous landscape is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

0:35:510:35:57

In 1869, it also inspired a sugar-rich foodstuff that today

0:35:570:36:01

you are likely to find in most mountaineers' pockets.

0:36:010:36:05

I'm talking of course of the world-famous Kendal mint cake,

0:36:050:36:09

and I've come to the town from which it hails

0:36:090:36:11

to visit one of the oldest surviving mint cake companies,

0:36:110:36:14

and to meet its owner, Peter McCafferty,

0:36:140:36:18

to find out more about its origins and its enduring appeal.

0:36:180:36:22

-Look at that. Glittering.

-Fantastic.

0:36:230:36:26

I quite like the idea of a sort of sweet-makers war,

0:36:260:36:29

confectioners battling it out on the streets of Kendal. Is that the case?

0:36:290:36:33

Yes, everyday(!) It's really vicious.

0:36:330:36:35

You're not the only people to make it, are you?

0:36:350:36:38

There are only three companies that make Kendal mint cake,

0:36:380:36:41

and we are competitors, but we are friendly competitors.

0:36:410:36:44

So often if we run out of chocolate,

0:36:440:36:46

we'll approach one of the other companies and say, "Can you help us out until our delivery?"

0:36:460:36:50

And vice versa, if they run short, like last week they ran short of something,

0:36:500:36:54

so we let them borrow some glucose.

0:36:540:36:55

I know you're going to be biased,

0:36:550:36:57

but is this the best thing about Kendal?

0:36:570:36:59

There are some very good things about Kendal.

0:36:590:37:02

-Kendal mint cake is one of the good things about Kendal.

-So diplomatic.

0:37:020:37:06

Brilliant.

0:37:060:37:08

'This homegrown product is very well travelled,

0:37:080:37:10

'having accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary's team

0:37:100:37:13

'on their ascent of Everest,

0:37:130:37:15

'as well as Shackleton's Antarctic expedition.

0:37:150:37:17

'It's even the fuel of choice for some gold medal athletes.

0:37:170:37:22

'Despite its illustrious history,

0:37:220:37:24

'the way it is made has remained unchanged.'

0:37:240:37:27

It's like Willy Wonka!

0:37:270:37:29

'The process starts by adding a huge amount of sugar

0:37:310:37:34

'to a water, salt and glucose solution in a copper pan.'

0:37:340:37:38

-So that's 30 pounds of sugar?

-Yes.

0:37:400:37:44

'It's then boiled for around 20 minutes

0:37:440:37:47

'until it reaches the right white colour,

0:37:470:37:49

'when the sugary fondant is added and stirred in.

0:37:490:37:53

'Next, it's time to add another essential ingredient.'

0:37:530:37:56

This is the mint, we pour in the mint now.

0:37:560:37:59

That's a special blend of Californian mint,

0:37:590:38:01

the very best mint in the world.

0:38:010:38:03

Oh, that's nice.

0:38:040:38:06

Then you give it a good stir.

0:38:060:38:08

What David is doing now is stirring the fondant.

0:38:080:38:11

The reason we have the fondant,

0:38:110:38:13

that just encourages the mint cake to recrystallise.

0:38:130:38:17

So that just sort of speeds up the setting process.

0:38:170:38:20

'Once the mixture has thickened and started to crystallise,

0:38:200:38:24

'it's ready to be poured into the moulds to set.'

0:38:240:38:27

David is making that look easy but that is actually quite hard.

0:38:290:38:33

If you have a go at that,

0:38:330:38:34

you'd find there would be a big splodge everywhere.

0:38:340:38:37

So you just...

0:38:370:38:39

Well, maybe not, you might be an expert.

0:38:390:38:42

You might be a natural.

0:38:420:38:44

David, your job is toast!

0:38:470:38:49

'This batch will typically make 190 bars.

0:38:540:38:57

'It is left for a full day to set

0:38:570:38:59

'and breathe before it goes through to the wrapping room.

0:38:590:39:02

'With exports to Canada, Australia and America,

0:39:020:39:05

'it's heartening that such a traditional product

0:39:050:39:08

'can hold its own in the competitive sweet market.'

0:39:080:39:11

Even by Escape standards, that was an epic mystery house.

0:39:180:39:23

Not only did they totally love it against all the odds,

0:39:230:39:25

it seems to have blown the other two houses out of the water.

0:39:250:39:29

Let's find out what they really think.

0:39:290:39:32

I'm quite excited to hear what you have to say,

0:39:370:39:41

because you've been playing poker face,

0:39:410:39:43

and you've had all sorts of crazy ideas left, right and centre.

0:39:430:39:47

So, it's time to gather the threads together.

0:39:470:39:49

So, spinning back the clock to the first house.

0:39:490:39:52

This was the almost-perfect house that didn't have the dream garden.

0:39:520:39:56

What do we feel about that now?

0:39:560:39:58

I still really like that property.

0:39:580:40:00

The downside of that is obviously

0:40:000:40:03

the back garden wasn't as big as we would have liked

0:40:030:40:07

for potentially growing vegetables, et cetera.

0:40:070:40:11

But the actual property was beautiful.

0:40:110:40:13

Now, the second house was pretty remote.

0:40:130:40:16

What you think about that one in retrospect?

0:40:160:40:19

The location was good again.

0:40:190:40:20

I was relatively happy, I think it was the house that probably

0:40:200:40:24

didn't fulfil the ticked boxes.

0:40:240:40:27

I mean, to be honest, you weren't too keen on the house.

0:40:270:40:30

I think the layout didn't work properly for me downstairs.

0:40:320:40:34

I didn't get a nice feeling downstairs.

0:40:340:40:37

Having said that, upstairs the bedrooms and the bathroom

0:40:370:40:40

were more than adequate for me.

0:40:400:40:43

Now, the mystery house certainly gave you space to be adventurous.

0:40:430:40:47

The house itself is just too good to be true to be honest with you.

0:40:470:40:52

The river at the bottom, the view, you know, the B&B.

0:40:520:40:58

I think we're both in agreement for the mystery property.

0:40:580:41:02

Like you said, there is a lot of opportunity to decide in which

0:41:020:41:07

property we actually want to live.

0:41:070:41:09

And which property we could use as a B&B as a source of income.

0:41:090:41:15

Initially when we first went there,

0:41:150:41:17

it was a lot further out than we had anticipated.

0:41:170:41:22

It was a real long shot because it was so far away from Blackpool,

0:41:220:41:26

totally uncommutable, and we wondered if it would ever work for you.

0:41:260:41:31

It all boils down to the interview I've got next week, as it happens,

0:41:310:41:35

for a position just outside Carlisle.

0:41:350:41:39

-Oh, right! That's handy.

-So, I mean, again, fate has intervened here.

0:41:390:41:43

This is all falling into place.

0:41:430:41:45

Ker-ching! So it looks like the mystery house came up trumps.

0:41:450:41:49

And will you go back and look at it? What will happen next?

0:41:490:41:52

I think we'd definitely like to go back for a second viewing.

0:41:520:41:55

To speed things up, we're probably going to put our house to let,

0:41:550:41:59

just to speed the process up.

0:41:590:42:00

Well, I really hope things work out.

0:42:000:42:03

You've been great to show around because you're so creative and thinking ahead.

0:42:030:42:07

Sometimes five steps ahead.

0:42:070:42:09

It is a real joy to see that you found somewhere that you can keep on doing that.

0:42:090:42:13

-I hope it goes ahead. Good luck with your interview.

-Thank you.

0:42:130:42:17

I am so pleased about the way this show panned out,

0:42:230:42:26

because we often start off saying, "This is a challenge

0:42:260:42:29

"and there's going to be a compromise

0:42:290:42:31

"and no-one will really be pleased,"

0:42:310:42:33

but, actually, the mystery house pleased everyone.

0:42:330:42:35

It pleased Carl, it pleased Leslie, it certainly pleased me,

0:42:350:42:38

because in one swoop, Carl's news about getting a job 25 miles away

0:42:380:42:44

made all the pieces fit together. Property perfection.

0:42:440:42:47

If you want to see more of that,

0:42:470:42:49

make sure you tune in next time for Escape To The Country.

0:42:490:42:53

Once Carl and Leslie have explored new possibilities for work

0:42:530:42:57

in the area, they are hoping to make an offer on the mystery house.

0:42:570:43:02

If you'd like to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales,

0:43:040:43:07

Northern Ireland or England and would like our help,

0:43:070:43:10

please apply online.

0:43:100:43:12

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:310:43:34

Email [email protected]

0:43:340:43:37

Alistair Appleton house hunts in Cumbria with an active young couple looking to spend up to £300,000. Away from the property search, Alistair gets a taste for the delights of Kendal mint cake at a local factory.


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