A – Z of Locations: K is for Kirkstone Pass

During this year I shall be posting photographs from places around the UK, many of which have not been published before. Where I have previously blogged about a location I will provide a link to the post, though you won’t be able to comment on it as I restrict comments to six months.

K is for Kirkstone Pass

The Kirkstone Pass with an altitude of 1,489 feet is the Lake District’s highest pass that is open to motor traffic. The A592, which follows the route of a drover’s road used by farmers, runs from Windermere to Patterdale, but we took the short three mile winding road from Ambleside through the mountains, known as ‘The Struggle’ which leads to the Kirkstone Pass Inn.

The steep twisty road is totally paved but curvy, narrow and very steep, hitting a harsh 17% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Due its steepness it was traditionally known as ‘The Struggle’.
The Struggle
The Kirkstone Pass Inn stands close to the summit of the pass. Formerly an important coaching inn, it now caters primarily for tourists. It is the third highest public house in England.

Continuing past the inn towards Ullswater, you find yourself looking at this spectacular view.

Brothers Water is in the Hartsop valley and is a small lake in the eastern region of the Lake District. Once called Broad Water, it lies at the northern end of Kirkstone Pass, affording picturesque views on the descent towards Patterdale.

The Pass is only to be driven in good weather. It can get dangerous in the winter when covered with snow and ice.

A – Z of Locations: G is for Grasmere

During this year I shall be posting photographs from places around the UK, many of which have not been published before. Where I have previously blogged about a location I will provide a link to the post, though you won’t be able to comment on it as I restrict comments to six months.

G is for Grasmere

Is there any landscape more beautiful in England than the Lake District? Known for its glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and historic literary associations. Throw in a few market towns, lakeside walks and cruises, good food and fresh air. Lots of fresh air.

Reflections in Grasmere Lake

It has links with the Lake Poets: William and Dorothy Wordsworth lived in Grasmere for 14 years and called it “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”

W Wordsworth

For a walk around Grasmere click here

Black and White Sunday: Countryside (and an ideal dwelling)

Grasmere ‘Cottage’

The Lake District lies in north-west England and is one of the most beautiful regions in the country, if you like lakes and hills. High hills as seen behind this pretty house which is located on the banks of Grasmere lake. Surrounded by a pretty woodland garden, this sturdy stone-built house has curved sash windows, an extended roofline and a covered verandah. I could see myself sitting on that verandah on a swing seat piled high with cushions, a cat curled up in the sunny spot, a table cluttered with garden magazines, potted plants and coffee cups…

Lambs gambolling in the fields

…admiring the view

Lake Grasmere

Please visit Paula to see other representations of this week’s challenge.

Circumnavigating Grasmere Lake

Whilst in the Lake District last month – time flies – we did a couple of lakeside walks. One, around the pretty picture postcard village of Grasmere is about 3 miles long which is long enough for me, especially as on this day, rain threatened.  The lake is one of the smallest and a full circuit should not take long unless, like me, you stop to take dozens of photographs. The start and end of the walk is on the road, but it is fairly level once you reach the lake shore and there is a lovely lakeside beach at the southern end.

After wandering around the lovely village for half an hour or so, we headed off along Red Bank at the west of the village (near the church) and up hill where stunning homes nestle amongst the woodland filled with vibrant pinks and mauves of rhododendrons. DSCF7167

Where fayries wander

Selma and Siri's Lakeland cousins perhaps?
Selma and Siri’s Lakeland cousins perhaps?

and bright yellow Welsh poppies huddle alongside the hedgerows. In fact I am reminded of Wales here. Though it feels lighter somehow.

One, the wooden Garden House, appealed to me, but I dare say the price is high as well as the terraced garden, but oh, what a view.

DSCF7188The road continued meandering around bends, with no sight of a lake.


Then, a glimpse, through the trees and not long after we found the rough track leading down to the shoreline.

And a lovely house by the side
And a lovely house by the side

The views once we reached the shore were amazing. Lush green fells rearing up all the way around the lake, the village now shrouded in cloud and to the south, just a glimpse of the beach we were heading to.



And neat wooden boardwalks to help us safely over the streams that feed into the lake.

Ripples in the rain
Ripples in the rain
Lakeside Path
Lakeside Path

The path follows the shoreline until you reach the southern end, where you head up slightly into woodland, before coming out onto the beach. This must be a lovely place for a picnic in the summer months. It was, however, a little drizzly today.


But with beautiful reflections in the mirror-like surface


We found more people at this end of the lake (and discovered later that there is a car-park not too far away), some sitting admiring the view, others walking their dogs,  and other fit people climbing up the fell behind us.


DSCF7257Now we had to decide which way to go. There was no obvious sign, so we headed over the wooden bridge and into the woodland. Only to get lost. Later we realised that we should have simply followed the path alongside the river as that led to the road and car-park. It was awfully wet though.

DSCF7261Into the wood

DSCF7264Finally, after doubling back on ourselves a couple of times, we found a way out of the wood and onto the very busy A591 road which leads to Windermere. Fortunately we only had a few metres to walk before hitting the pavement which took us back into Grasmere. Can you spot that lovely house overlooking the lake?


A last view of the lake at the northern end.


If you enjoy a walk, short or long, then you may enjoy visiting Jo’s Monday Walk where you are in for a treat.


Just Back From… The Lake District

I don’t know why I haven’t been back to the Lake District since I was a young girl, apart from gallivanting around the world, raising four children and not being able to afford holidays for many years. Then again, I am  not one to go back to the same place very often. Cornwall currently being the exception.

Keswick Town Centre

So to celebrate the OH’s recent significant birthday I decided that it was time we headed north again and booked an apartment in Keswick, one of the most northern lakeside towns in the National Park. It so happened to be where I spent my last holiday with my parents, but that being over 40 years ago I wasn’t expecting to recognise anything. And I didn’t except for the Moot Hall. Wasn’t pedestrianised then though.

The Moot Hall

The apartment turned out to be fine. Within walking distance of the town and therefore shops and pubs and restaurants and also 10 minutes walk down to the lakeside for lovely late evening strolls. And a parking space! A real bonus in this town. Stepping outside the front door the views were wonderful in every direction.

The Churchyard Opposite

With no real plans in mind, just to take each day as it came and decide where to go and what to do, we ended up having a very relaxed week, with reasonably fine weather. Only one day with heavy rain. A few light showers. Lots of gorgeous views that blew the mind, some delightfully gentle walks around lakes and one stiff climb up a hill for a stunning view that made the effort worth while. And hearing a cuckoo for the first time in years.

Grasmere is probably Cumbria’s most popular village as it was the home of William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and the place of his burial. It attracts coachloads of visitors and walkers too as there is a fairly easy walk circumnavigating the lake. A pretty village, geared more towards the tourist market than locals, it nevertheless has a timeless charm about it.

Houses around Grasmere

I can vouch for the gingerbread – it is delicious! There is a walk around the lake, but I’ll post that separately.

Driving through Borrowdale and over the Honiston Pass where a slate quarry provides a place to stop and exclaim at the astonishing views. You can get a slate name plate made while you wait too if you want. We need a house first though. Stopping at local pubs for lunch of  home-made pies or thick, spicy Cumberland sausage. Admiring the lovely Herdwick sheep with their black lambs.

Ashness Bridge and Herdwick Sheep

Discovering the sheer quiet beauty of Crummock Water where I thought I caught a glimpse of a fayrie – but maybe not.

Crummock Water
Crummock Water
A Pied Wagtail and a fayrie?

and Lake Coniston with the steam-driven Gondola and nearby Tarn Hows.

Tarn Hows

Heading over to Ullswater, reached by driving over Kirkstone Pass. The ‘Struggle‘should have given the game away when we decided to turn off at Ambleside “I don’t want to go up that really narrow, windy road” says I. Too late.

And then there was the  Castlerigg Stone Circle, only a mile or so from Keswick,  with panoramic views and the mountains of Helvellyn and High Seat as a backdrop and where the light on the surrounding fells took my breath away.

Castlerigg Stone Circle
Castlerigg Stone Circle – View

I can see why people return here time and time again. We saw but a tiny portion of the Lake District, but enough to whet our appetite and consider another holiday there in the not too distant future.