Saturday, April 19, 2014


As the weather improved, so we planned more adventurous walks.  From the car park at Mirehouse, on the shores of Bassenthwaite, we began the ascent of Dodd.  This must be one of the most civilised Wainwrights:  plenty of parking, tea-room and toilets right there - and a broad, tarmacked forestry type road virtually to the summit.  We began in woodland, and were startled to see two young women coming down with a baby in a pushchair.


 The summit has wonderful views of Keswick and Skiddaw, and is marked by this memorial to two scouts.  We would have liked to know more.

Dodd summit.

 All over the Lake District one comes across benches and other amenities bearing memorial plaques, often marking the location as special to the lost loved one, sometimes memorialising where they met their end.  One of the most moving we saw was engraved on a piece of slate next to a footbridge, dedicated to someone who did not reach twenty.  The words; "And death shall have no dominion" could be just made out on the weathered stone.  Memento mori, indeed.

Bassenthwaite from Dodd

On the way down, we called at the osprey viewpoints and were very pleased to get a sight of the two birds in their tree across the valley.

Keswick and Derwentwater from Dodd

Our second expedition, Barrow, was said to be on a par with Catbells, where groups can be seen queuing to ascend all through the summer.  We set off from Braithwaite, a village near Keswick.  It was a dull day but not rainy, nor particularly breezy.  Just ahead of us was a large family group: several generations, two young girls and a small infant in a back-carrier.  As we climbed up the broad ridge, the wind seemed to get up and we battled to stay upright.  When the oldest member of the party ahead fell over, buffeted by the wind, we very rapidly saw how challenging it can be on the mountain, especially for those responsible for others.  Fortunately, they were able to turn around and make a quick descent to more sheltered sections.  We carried on, but were glad to reach the pass at Barrow Door, where we could descend.

My husband on Barrow summit

For our third walk we played it safe, walking around the Newlands valley.  This was absolutely delightful:  almost level paths, lots of sheep and little farms, hedgerows just coming into bloom and birdsong.  Oh, and ice-creams at the farmhouse at Little Town where they offer "Licensed accommodation".  It looked especially lovely at the end of a six-mile hike.

In the valley is a lovely little church with a tiny schoolroom attached to one end.  This only ceased to be the school in the 60s. What a great life, one thought, being the sole teacher in such a place for twenty years.  However, the school log tells a different story: recording in mid-February that at last they could write for the first time since Christmas as the ink had been frozen.  Regular inspectorial visits observed that student behaviour was a problem, with constant chatter disrupting work.  Not much change there then.

Memorial in Newlands Church

And this, just off the needles and resting after a wash.  It is an imaginative use of the two trees motif, adapting a throw published by Nicky Epstein and offered by Detroitknitter on Ravelry.  I used the charted trees in Barbara Walker's "Third Treasury" instead of the line by line instructions.  The yarn is a cotton/acrylic mix, just right for a summer-born infant, I'm thinking.

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