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…
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.
Where fayries wander
and bright yellow Welsh poppies huddle alongside the hedgerows. In fact I am reminded of Wales here. Though it feels lighter somehow.
The Garden House
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.
The 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.
Careful with those loose stones
A neat track to the shore
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.
A family of shovellers
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.
Now 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.
Into the wood
Finally, 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.
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.
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 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.
In the Churchyard
More Glorious Azaleas
Along the High Street
Just around the corner
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.
First View of Derwentwater
From a Lakeside Beach
Across to Derwent Isle
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.
Along the River Walk
Lots of Welsh Poppies
Siri and Selma must have been here
Once the village school
Reflections in Grasmere Lake
Dove Cottage Garden
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 Packhorse Bridge
Discovering the sheer quiet beauty of Crummock Water where I thought I caught a glimpse of a fayrie – but maybe not.
and Lake Coniston with the steam-driven Gondola and nearby 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.
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.
The steam yacht Gondola is a rebuilt Victorian, screw-propelled, steam-powered passenger vessel on Coniston Water, England. Originally launched in 1859, she was built for the steamer service carrying passengers from the Furness Railway and from the Coniston Railway. She was in commercial service until 1936 when she was retired, being converted to a houseboat in 1946. In 1979, by now derelict, she was given a new hull, engine, boiler and most of the superstructure. She is back in service as a passenger boat, still powered by steam and now operated by the National Trust. Source: Wikipedia.
The Illustrated London News of 7 July 1860 reported after her maiden voyage that the first class saloon was “beautifully finished in walnut wood and cushioned and decorated after the style of the royal carriages of our railways.”
Locomotion Enterprises, a training company in the North-East of England, got the task of building the new engine whilst W Bertram & Sons of South Shields provided a new high-pressure boiler, fittingly to the same design as the Ffestiniog Railway’s locomotive Prince.
If you find yourself in the Lake District then I can recommend a cruise on this beautiful boat.