I'm a fan of the compact chainset. There are no hills in the UK that you can't get up without a compact. You don't need a triple ring.
When back in London for meetings I still cycle 40+ miles on the fixed so they are not just for short distances. When I first moved to London I was a bike messenger and I'd cycle over 100 miles a day ].
I' suggest then the two things above are linked - for a newbie or inexpereinced road biker I wouldn't write off a triple. It may be a bit more macho to have a compact but have you tried riding "the struggle" out of Ambleside up to the Kirkstone pass - I think you may differ on your opnion on the need for them if you try that
Nice looking bikes - I'll see if i can find photos of mine
Agree on the audax bike option - that or the sportive versions should be appropriate