Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Lakes in February

Hello and welcome!
Today I thought I would share some photos with you from our recent travels to the Lake District. Some of you know this already, but between Hubbie & myself we take a lot of photos. I mean seriously LOTS. I am going to try and whittle down our hundreds from this trip so that you don't fall asleep, but be warned, this is going to be a photo heavy post ;-)

OK then, this is the wee cottage we stayed in for the week...
...and this is the beautiful view from the front door. 
One of the places I most wanted to visit in the area was Hill Top, the former home of the author Beatrix Potter. It is owned by the National Trust & inside it is as though Beatrix has just popped down the lane to run an errand. Her possessions & furniture are still in situ, her letters & drawings are strewn on desks, oil paintings by her brother & drawings by her father & mother hang on the walls. Her "little books" are on display in various rooms, left open at specific pages so you can see where she used a particular view from a window in the illustration on that page. Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside the property due to copyright issues but we did take some outside...
Hill Top Farm.
This is the gate into the vegetable garden (as seen in The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck), and here is the vegetable garden itself. Rather bare at this time of year of course, but I was happy to see the terracotta pots & the watering can Peter hid in!
Within a few hundred yards of Hill Top you can see a variety of properties Beatrix used in illustrations in her books, and also a very familiar letterbox used by a certain rabbit!
Next we traveled on some very narrow roads around Coniston Waters... 

For me this is another place that will always be inextricably linked with a beloved book, or rather a series of books - Swallows & Amazons written by Arthur Ransome. He went to school in Windermere, lived in the area later in his life, and is buried in the churchyard at Rusland. Five of the books in the series are set in the Lake District & in the photo above you can see Wild Cat Island (or Peel Island as the OS Map calls it ;-)). 
In our travels around the area we saw many of these...
They are Herdwick sheep, a breed almost exclusively found in the Lake District. They are born black (you can see a younger one behind the white one above) and with each passing year they get whiter. With these rather distinctive faces they are cute right from the get go! We also saw a LOT of these...
... dry stone walls absolutely covered in lush mosses - can you tell this is a wet part of the British Isles?!
Many of the small towns and villages have old fashioned buildings now inhabited by modern businesses...
There were a huge number of outdoor clothing stores, Costa coffee shops, & Tesco Expresses pretty much everywhere we went! 
One place where we seemed to leave 21st century life behind was Hardknott Pass. Even this sign doesn't really prepare you for the "road" ahead! (And to be fair we saw a lot of signs warning of "narrow route, unsuitable for caravans" etc. on other roads we traversed during this week!)  
Now why, you ask, would we take on such a road? Well Someone remembered something about stunning views (apparently you can see the Isle of Man on a clear day) and a Roman Fort that she'd seen on a tv program? She forgot the bit about it being at the top of the steepest road in England!!! I took one photo on the way up... 
...then shut my eyes as the poor car labored to climb the 1 in 3 gradient complete with hairpin bends & potholes lurking to take out the bottom of your vehicle... Finally over the top and down the other side we found the Roman fort and pulled over. This is the view back up to the top (yes that narrow winding ribbon is the road) ... 

Only the Romans would build a fort away up here! Actually for them it controlled a key route to the sea port of Ravenglass from their garrisons at Ambleside & Kendal, but your mind boggles at the physical labor required to build a Roman fort 1,200ft up in this countryside! At least they didn't have to worry about a surprise attack from this side of the fort... 
On another day we headed north to the pretty town of Keswick & it's neighboring lake, Derwentwater where we enjoyed a trip around the lake on a launch... 

This is the Victorian built Lodore Falls Hotel on the southern banks.
Thirteen miles further west we visited Aira Force, one of the most visited waterfalls in the Lakes. The name comes from Old Norse and the area is full of interesting history, including links with Wordsworth (the falls are mentioned in three of his poems). 
So are you still awake??? 
Well done you!!! ;-)
I think you can tell we had a great time exploring the Lake District, but I'm glad we went slightly out of season as the narrow roads were easier to navigate without the hoardes of caravans & bicycles that the summer brings! My next post will update you on some crafty projects I have been working on, until then it's so nice to be home! 


  1. We love the Lakes and have had many happy times there! But I still haven't been to Hillside House!

    1. Hello! It certainly is a lovely area of England. I have been to the Lakes before (many moons ago!) but had never managed to get to Hill Top so it was top on my list for this time round. Hope you manage to get there one day :-) Have a lovely weekend,

  2. Oooh memories!!! I Adore the Lake District, it's just pure bliss... I even had my honeymoon there :) Who needs a tropical island?? Your pictures are stunning & it makes me want to pack and go there for the weekend!!!

    1. Hello Mii! Oh wow it would be a lovely place to honeymoon :-) Yes, I would take it (and a few other places I can think of) over a tropical island! Glad you enjoyed the trip down memory lane, have a lovely weekend wherever you spend it :-)
      Helen x

  3. You definitely live in a place like heaven!

    1. Hi Roberta! Some parts of England are very pretty but we are blessed to have glorious scenery up here in Scotland where we live too :-) I've heard Italy is very beautiful also, maybe one day I will see for myself... Have a lovely week,

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Steph, Hubbie is pretty good with that camera eh? Have a lovely week,
      Helen XOX


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