Sunday, July 25, 2021

Our last day in Cumbria and the weather was ideal for walking.  This year more than ever the most popular places are likely to be overcrowded so we chose a secluded valley for our walk.

We took the track up into the Wythop valley which joins the path around Sale Fell, leading to the ruins of old Wythop church.  Once the farmsteads around the valley must have provided the congregation for this remote spot. Skiddaw was in cloud as we began our walk.

This was the view from our lunch spot near an ancient quarry.  The cloud has cleared.

And this a farmhouse once in a state of dereliction.  Someone has taken it on and made it weather-proof.

We had a really enjoyable walk, down-hill all the way on the final leg.

We had thought to pick up fish and chips from the harbour for our final evening picnic.  Twenty minutes in a queue for the food to be cooked to order gave enough time for a bank of grey cloud to move in.  This is a maritime climate.  We scooted up the coast and found the nearest parking place.  Just enough time to enjoy the picnic super before the weather closed in completely.  


Saturday, July 24, 2021

After our strenuous walk yesterday, we took a rest day, first doing a little shopping for shoes in Cockermouth and then having our picnic lunch on the shore of Bassenthwaite.

On the other side of the lake is the country house, Mirehouse, home of the Spedding family and much visited by the lake poets and Tennyson in their day.

We walked down to the little church of St Bega, on a promontory near the lake.  This is a very ancient foundation and contains this incised grave slab, which is rather wonderful.

Mirehouse in its setting.

And once again we finished the day with an evening meal, enjoying the view.


Friday, July 23, 2021

On Monday, to Loweswater.  Everywhere rose bay willowherb and foxgloves forming a lovely counterpoint to stone walls.

Through the woodlands along the side of the lake.

An out at the end climbing towards the High Nook Tarn path

We chose to walk along behind a wall to reach the gate at the top of the wood.  Bracken was waist-high here and sopping wet  - as, soon, were we.  At the top of the wood, I took off my trousers and wrung them out before proceeding.  They had dried by the time we reached the tea-room.

We were away for ten days in total.  I had to buy in extra knitting supplies while away just to tide me over. Four pairs of adult mitts and three of children's.


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

On Saturday we took a trip over the fells to Caldbeck, a little village to the back of Skiddaw - miles from anywhere.  We enjoyed lunch at the Watermill Cafe and strolled back to the car along the banks of the river, looking out for the dipper, which we were pleased to see doing its thing mid-stream.  

Caldbeck is full of pretty stone-built cottages and a sense of prosperity.  There is a large church with the grave of John Peel, the huntsman, and several thriving eateries.  It could hardly be more different in tone to Maryport, the post-industrial coastal town where we have our cottage.

However, it was not always so.  The river - Cold Beck - was once the source of power for a range of industries in the village - corn mills, a woollen mill, a paper mill, brewing and a bobbin mill. The fells around Caldbeck were a rich source of lead, silver, copper, tungsten and barytes - mining began in the 13th Century, reached its height in the 17th but did not end until the 1980s.

Just a short walk from the village centre with its tea-room, is The Howk, a gorge with several impressive ruined buildings, once a bobbin mill.  Sixty men and boys were employed here, turning coppiced timber into bobbins for use in the Manchester cotton industry. It once had the largest water-wheel in England - three foot wide and forty-two foot in diameter.

  It is a damp, shady gorge on a bright day.  Among the workers, respiratory diseases from inhaling wood-dust would have been common; accidental fires as sparks caught the wood-shavings would also have cost lives.  Hardly a rural idyll.

In the village, or near it, this substantial barn, with a nineteenth century date.

And in the evening, back to our chosen picnic spot on the Solway.


Sunday, July 18, 2021

On Friday, to Windermere, where we were booked in for lunch at The Gaddum, a birthday treat, courtesy of my elder sister and her family.  This is the restored Arts and Crafts interior of the restaurant. 

The curious name stems from the name of the family who built the house originally, a silk manufacturer from Manchester.  His wife made this her permanent residence, while he used the railway from Windermere to commute, presumably on a weekly basis.

This is duck breast with a side of black cherries and baby beetroot.

A spectacular dessert of a Sunflower cake with a little jug of cherry sauce to pour into the spiral.  This is food for those who like to toy with it.

And this is Peach Melba with the peach cut into batons while the "peach" on the plate is actually a parfait. It was all as delicious as it looks.

On to Holehird gardens, just a mile or so along the lake and up the hill.

A view of the Langdales from Holehird.

Altogether, a grand day out - a lovely contrast to our usual picnic mid-walk.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Before we left for Cumbria, I posted off two parcels of toys for Knit for Peace.  The picture of the ten teddies seems not to have saved, but here are six dollies, knitted to the teddy pattern and given a dress.

On our second day, the weather had taken a turn as Lakeland weather tends to do.  We set off  to walk through Lanthwaite Woods to the foot of Crummock Water, but rain forced us into the Kirkstile Inn where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch before resuming our walk.

The classic view from the beach at the foot of Crummock.  We remembered other visits here, at other seasons.

And, looking up into Rannerdale, with Rannerdale Knotts to the right.


Friday, July 16, 2021

After a gap of sixteen months, we were able once more to visit our cottage in Cumbria and some of our favourite walks.  

A brilliant day weather-wise to start with, so we drove up into Lorton.  Everywhere there was the sound of running water to accompany us, the grass green, but not wet to impede us.

Here, sheep and lambs taking their ease.

At high Lorton, this delightful sheltered garden right on the river.

And an outhouse on staddle stones over the river itself.  Was this the outdoor privy or the wash house in days gone by?

Up a gentle slope, by Cumbrian standards, and across a field.

On the horizon, Hopegill Head and Hobcarton.  We have vivid memories of climbing up the end of this not that long ago.

In the evening, we took a picnic supper up the coast.  Spread out before us, the grand panorama of the Solway Firth with the Scotch Hills beyond.  

We were sitting on our picnic chairs in a little sheltered dell when a lady with dog happened past.

"You just need a big telly, just there," she said, "and you could be watching the football."