Wednesday 27th, Iona, Simon and Lucy arrived home from their couple of nights away camping. It was Lucy’s first ever camping experience and I think she really (really) enjoyed it. Todd, Deb and Harry arrived Thursday so we vacated our bed and headed to a nearby Travelodge for the night so we could spend some time with them (it was the first time we’d caught up with Todd). We had lunch at a very posh fish and chip place (chandeliers hanging from the ceilings) then had a light dinner at Iona and Simon’s that night, then breakfast there before we headed to Bowness in the Lake District where we’d booked for a week.
On Saturday morning, we headed up and over Kirkstone Pass (lucky me got to drive that one) passing Brother’s Water and Ullswater as we made our way to Haddrian’s Wall at Birdoswald Roman Ruins. That part of the wall is one of the most intact and also has the ruins of a Roman fort and a Victorian farmhouse on the same site.It was all really interesting and so easy to visit all three. On the way home, we stopped off at the Lanercost Priory. Quite interesting, but when you’ve seen one priory…….
Sunday morning, I woke thinking I might be able to hear drums, they got louder and louder and finally we realised it was a pipe band that had come down the hill from us and gone on by. We did see them later down at the pier here in Bowness, but stopping on impulse and parking is almost impossible around here-parking is at an expensive premium no matter where you go! The band looked amazing-tall bearskin hats, the long beautiful tartans and jackets-like they’d stepped out of an old painting.
The band got us up and going for our day out which started at the Stott Park bobbin mill on a little beck just off Lake Windermere. Another English Heritage property, it was really interesting and it was well worth taking the hour or so guided tour of it. The young bloke that showed us around was really good at his job and brought it alive. The fact that it’s all in working order is great too!
We had lunch at a pub in Ulverstone which turned out to be the worst meal of my stay so far. My first choice of steak and ale pie wasn’t available, and as it was close to end of service, I ordered scampi and chips and salad. No scampi killed, in fact, none were harmed, in the making of my lunch I’m sure, and one cherry tomato quartered, three slices of cuc and some shredded iceberg lettuce do no a summer salad make!
On we went to the heavy horses (mostly Clydesdale crosses) riding centre thinking a beach ride on one of these big things would be great. But at 100 pounds each, it wasn’t to be! I almost BOUGHT a miniature pony in Tassie for $350 I wasn’t paying $200 to ride a horse lol. After a drive out to Haverigg harbour on the Irish Sea, we stopped again in Ulverstone to buy some meat for dinner. We were rapt to find a guinea fowl for 5 pounds and some delicious venison and pork sausages as well.
On Monday, we spent the morning in Windermere-Russ taking a look around while I used the wi-fi at the library to catch up with e-mails, bills and family and friends on Facebook. In the afternoon we took a boat cruise on Lake Windermere to Ambleside. From there, we took a steam train to Haverthwaite and back, then returned on another boat. What a wonderful way to see the biggest lake in Britain! We had our beautiful guinea fowl for dinner, stuffed with bits and pieces collected along the way (onion bread, craisins, pine nuts and mixed herbs etc). It was probably the best game bird I’ve ever eaten!
On Tuesday 2nd, we drove to Ambleside, then on to a number of lakes and waters including Grasmere, Thirlmere, Derwent and Bassenthwaite. Who knew that Derwent pencils were made in Derwent, and the pic on the pencil packet or tin was right there in front of us? I only wish now I’d gone to the pencil museum to find out more.At one of the lakes we were amazed to see jets from the local RAF base performing manoeuvers low over the lake right in front of us. We hear or see the jets and propeller driven fighter planes every day but this was amazing!
Yesterday, we crossed Lake Windermere on the vehicle ferry to visit Esthwaite water and Gizdale Forest Park (which is about to celebrate 15 years of the Gruffalo in the forest). Gizdale forest Park has an amazing zip line circuit of 7 zips and other various activities that you spend up to 3 hours on. It all comes at a very reasonable cost of 30 pounds but as we’d done it before in Thailand, we decided we didn’t need to do it again. They had an amazing photographic exhibition on display too, so we spent a good deal of time checking it out.
We came home via Coniston and the east (and extremely beautiful) side of Coniston Water and Newby Bridge. We made ourselves roast beef and yorkshire puds for a delicious dinner to end a great day! I should add-for anyone who remembers him, Sir Donald Bradman set his world water speed record on Coniston in Bluebird, then crashed and died there attempting it again. His body and the wreck of Bluebird were recovered from the lake in 2001.
Today is computer day. Russ has shopped and is now walking home to our lovely little apartment about 1.5 miles away while I sit here in the library .
Tomorrow we drive back to Manchester then fly to Switzerland for 5 nights to visit our friends there in Basel.
I’m adding a slide show of photos-normally I’d put them in chronological order, but today there are too many and not enough computer battery to do that. Sorry!