Sunday, 22 April 2012

Lake District

My favourite place on earth.
And although the weather forecast was rain, rain and more rain, it was actually very good walking weather.  We were really lucky - it was a bit cloudy, a bit cool, a bit sunny, a tiny bit showery.  If you've got waterproofs and fleeces, it doesn't matter that much.  It's that thing about there being no such thing as bad weather - just the wrong clothes.

We went to our favourite guesthouse in Keswick.  We've been going to Keswick since our honeymoon, some good few years ago, and I love the place.  It's not so touristy as some of the Lake District towns, but it's got everything we need - pubs, restaurants, a cinema, a theatre, a supermarket, a Boots...  If we forget anything, we know we can pick it up.  I know that makes me sound like an old fogey, but I like the lack of worry. I can relax completely.

Anyway, we went for a walk on Day 1.  Walking from the guesthouse, out through Portinscale, around Swinside, up to the side of Catbells and back via Nichol End Marina, where the cakes are to die for.  This time of year, there are so many lambs about!  
 So sweet!  Bouncing around like there's nothing but joy in the world.  It makes me forget all the silliness going on in the rest of the world.
And we met a pheasant that wanted its picture taken.  Not only that, but it wanted to come with us on our walk.  It followed us until we went to hide behind a bridge, then it waited for another group of walkers and followed them.  We thought it might want feeding, but crumbs of chocolate cookie didn't attract it at all.  Unlike some other dickybirds, but more of that later...  We gave it the slip in the end.

A view from the side of Catbells.  The fell on the right is Skiddaw, and in the middle, you can see right through to Bassenthwaite Lake.  Apparently, that's the only true lake in the Lake District - all the others are meres or waters.  Derwentwater, Windermere, etc.  I forget who told me that...

On Day 2, as usual, Himself had done his ankle in, so we spent the day ambling around Ambleside and Grasmere, trying out the teashops.  One has to take in a little sustenance for the walks, you know.

On Day 3, we strapped Himself's ankle up, caught the bus and walked up to Ashness Bridge.  It's a walk we've done many times before, but as part of a longer walk.  This year, we're not so fit, so we did the middle section of the walk, getting the bus instead of starting in Keswick and walking to Ashness Bridge over the top of Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell.  Ashness Bridge is lovely, and in this picture you can see through to Derwentwater.

Carrying on up the road, there's a viewpoint above Lodore Falls.  Great views over Derwentwater, with Bassenthwaite Lake in the distance again.  In the opposite direction you can see into the Jaws of Borrowdale!  (I love that name - sounds like something from Middle Earth.)

Further up the hill, we left the road and took a footpath along the side of the beck.  Still lovely walking weather.  These slopes are covered in orchids in the summer.

And we're at our target!  The teashop at Watendlath!  There are just these few houses, with a tiny teashop and some farm buildings.  It's paradise.

Paradise for these little ones too, waiting to share our snacks.  Now, these dickybirds are very partial to a bit of cookie... 
...or cake.  I had to eat it with my arm round it, like you do at school with your writing, to stop them just hopping up and taking it.  As it was, they took crumbs from my fingers and ate all the crumbs we sprinkled on the bench for them.  Very happy little birds. 
And well-fed.

After (most of) a rock cake and a cup of tea, climbing out of the valley.  That's Himself, with his new camera in his special camera rucksack.

Over the fell to Borrowdale.

A short diversion up to the top of the fell again.

It was such a lovely walk, we didn't want to come down off the fell.  After a few detours to put off the inevitable, we did descend and waited for the bus back to Keswick, feeling virtuously exhausted.

We visited the cinemas on the very first night and saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  I really enjoyed it.  I've read the book, and the film is quite different.  Both are good - just different.  I would recommend both.  On the second night, we went to the theatre to see The History Boys by Alan Bennett.  Again, I really enjoyed it.  The productions there are always superb.  Anyone visiting that area should definitely go to see something there, even if they don't usually consider themselves theatre people.  We go every time we visit Keswick.  My only complaint about that evening is that somehow (Himself booked the seats) we got seats in the very top of the theatre instead of the ground floor ones we wanted.  And not only were they right at the top, they weren't even seats - they were barstools!  I clung onto the rail for the whole evening - white knuckles!  But despite that, I loved the play.  That just shows how good it was.

There was, of course, a certain amount of holiday crochet.  More of that in another post, I think.  There's a new bear or two, some prototype stitches for a new project and a finished elephant to showcase.  Watch this space!  In the meantime, there are two cats needing to get caught up on their cuddles...


  1. These pics are sooo gorgeous, Ali.
    Looks like you had a marvellous time.

    I've only been there once, years ago, but the Lake District is indeed a beautiful, beautiful place.

    Glad you enjoyed it there!

    1. Thank you! Yes, we had a great time, and I want to go back Right Now. *sighs*

      It is an absolutely beautiful place. I love it. It feels like my spiritual home.