A Travellerspoint blog

October 2017

Lake District and More

South East to North West England

rain 16 °C
View SA Garden Route & Cape on MAd4travel's travel map.

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2017

Route: Heathrow – Brighton – Lake District – Ringwood – Southwater – Hassocks - Heathrow

As part of our 5-year travel plan we make regular visits back to the UK. This is partly for practical reasons but mostly to keep in touch with family and friends.
On the practical front, we find travelling around the world usually means coming via Europe to get to our next destination, so calling into the UK makes sense. We also need to attend to the usual life issues, such as medical and dental appointments, tax returns, picking up and dropping off travel items (not all destinations need the same items, for example you may need a snorkel & mask in the Caribbean but not in northern Norway, conversely thermals are handy in northern Norway but not in South East Asia), etc., etc.
And on the personal front we want to keep in touch with friends and family, because we may be having an amazing time travelling, but we do miss them. So when we are in the UK we do try and see as many people as possible during our visit. It is also probably a good time, at this juncture, to say a SPECIAL THANK YOU to four groups of friends that are making our stays in the UK so much nicer. So a BIG THANK YOU to Barry & Nandi (plus Oli & Tandi), Martyn & Jane (plus Christopher & Daniel), Rob (plus John) and Gill & Ken, for allowing us to stay with you, we really appreciate it.
So this Blog is all about our most recent visit to the UK. The first week was busy as usual, attending medical and dental appointments and socialising. But for the following two weeks, we continued our exploration of the UK; this time the destination was the Lake District. When we started planning our 5 years of travel, we realised we didn’t know the UK very well, so we try to explore a new place on each of our visits back.

So on a damp dull morning we set off from Brighton, bound for Windermere in the Lake District. The attractive town of Windermere and local eye pleasing scenery rewarded us after an all day motorway drive. Home for the next two weeks would be a period terrace house just outside of the town centre. Because the house had three bedrooms we decided to invite guests to stay. For the first three days we were joined by Anne’s sister and brother-in-law, Catherine and Fred, they were followed by our good friends Martyn & Jane and finally at the end of our stay, by Delphine our niece.

The 3

The 3

Washing up Time

Washing up Time

Friends hiding from the rain

Friends hiding from the rain

Travelers on an old stone bridge by Martyn Budd

Travelers on an old stone bridge by Martyn Budd

For the first three days in the Lake District we had good weather, and was able to get out and explore. The towns of Bowness on Windermere, Hawkshead and Coniston were all explored, together with an amazing hike up to Gowbarrow Fell (see interesting facts for Fell).

Lake Tarn How

Lake Tarn How


Money grows on tree

Money grows on tree

View of Bassenthwaite Lake

View of Bassenthwaite Lake

Recycling of old Phone box

Recycling of old Phone box


Hole in't Wall Pub by Martyn Budd

Hole in't Wall Pub by Martyn Budd

After a beautiful drive over the Kirkstone Pass we arrived at Ullswater Lake and the start of our hike. The first part took us through woodland and past Aira Force falls, one of the highest in the Lake District. We then emerged into out open country and started the steeper accent up to the summit of Gowbarrow Fell. The views were magnificent, especially at the summit, with Ullswater Lake below, and hills and mountains all around. After a brief stop for lunch, we started our decent. The hike up had been wet and slippery in places, but the route down was far worse. We fought our way through bracken, whilst splashing through the many streams that ran of the mountain, before eventually arriving at a muddy slop to negotiate. After that we were back in the woods and on a gravel path. Great fun, even if we did emerge pretty wet.

Scenic Drive in the Lake District

Scenic Drive in the Lake District

Kirkstone Pass 1500 feet or around that

Kirkstone Pass 1500 feet or around that

Aira Force

Aira Force

Aira Force

Aira Force

Scenic view of Lake District

Scenic view of Lake District

Looking towards Helvellyn

Looking towards Helvellyn

Gowbarrow Fell summit 481m

Gowbarrow Fell summit 481m

Going down the Fell

Going down the Fell

In the bracken

In the bracken

On day four the weather turned wet and windy, which restricted our activities. However, we did manage to get out and see a bit more of the Lake District between the showers. These included visits to the following:

Coniston village sits at the foot of the Furness Fells and is famous for its lake. Coniston Water was the venue for many Water Speed Record attempts, by both Sir Donald Campbell (see interesting facts below)) and his father Sir Malcolm Campbell (1885-1948). On our visit it was so windy even the gulls were finding conditions difficult, so it wouldn’t be suitable for any speed record attempts.

Lake District walling

Lake District walling

Coniston

Coniston

Coniston Water

Coniston Water

Coniston View

Coniston View

Coniston by Martyn Budd

Coniston by Martyn Budd



We called in to the village of Grasmere, just outside Ambleside. The main reason for the visit was to see Dove Cottage, the home of the famous poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), a fellow poet and literary critic. The visit was brief as the rain started to fall again almost as soon as we stepped out of the car.
Grassmere

Grassmere

Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage

A visit to the 4500-year-old Castlerigg Stone Circle, made for something different. Although the stones are arranged in a similar fashion to Stonehenge they are smaller. However, where Castlerigg trumps Stonehenge is it location, perched on a plateau above Keswick, it provides stunning views of some of England’s highest peaks and most beautiful valleys.
Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Day 11 dawned sunny and calm, so a hike was in order. We headed for the Langdale valley, an area recommended in the guidebooks as being one of the most beautiful in the Lake District. They weren’t wrong, but where isn’t it beautiful when the sun is shining? What made this hike particularly nice was the variety of scenery. We passed by traditional stone buildings, shared our route with Lakeland sheep, walked alongside fast flowing rivers (or Becks), climbed up into mountain woodland and all the time being flanked by outstanding fell scenery. It couldn’t get much better.
Weir on the Great Langdale Beck

Weir on the Great Langdale Beck

Great Langdale Walk

Great Langdale Walk

Great Langdale Walk

Great Langdale Walk

From then on it was back to the wet with a few sunny breaks. We did managed to see a bit more of the area though, but mostly only from the car. The Lake District is a beautiful part of England and we will be back to do it justice.

After two weeks in the Lake District we headed south. Our destination was Ringwood in the New Forest, and very comfortable apartment just outside of town. We discovered this place early on in our travels and try and return there several times a year. So much so, Alison the owner has become a friend more than a landlady. We had four nights and three days in Ringwood. For the first two days the weather was wet, so we took advantage and got some admin done. But on our last day it was warm and sunny so we went for a walk in the New Forest National Park. The walk took us through woodland and up on to heathland amongst the free roaming ponies. It was just what we needed, after two days stuck in side.

New Forest encounter

New Forest encounter

New Forest Autumn

New Forest Autumn



Our last few days before leaving for South Africa, were spent catching up with friends and family. And did include a very nice day on the River Medway, aboard the Flamingo, our friends Martyn and Jane, their boat.

The Medway

The Medway

Flamingo on a picnic

Flamingo on a picnic

Personal Observations & Interesting Facts

Beatrix Potter
Amongst other famous people, Beatrix Potter was born in this neck of the woods, in the early 20th century. Helen Beatrix Potter was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist best known for her children's books featuring animals, such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Her books were very English in their style and a hit with young children all through the 20th Century. But, as per the proprietor of a Beatrix Potter shop, things have changed. Now 50% of all Beatrix Potter merchandise goes to Japan, 30% to China and just 20% to the rest of the world. That same proprietor also kept us amused with her description of her Chinese customers, who storm in off the coaches, grab as much as they can and then fight to get served first. The Japanese, she said, were much more reserved in their purchasing antics.

Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter

Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter

World Water Speed Record
Lake Coniston is where Sir Donald Campbell lost his life attempting to break his own Water Speed Record, in his boat Bluebird. The fatal attempt was in 1967, whilst he was trying to raise his own record from 276mph. Every indication, before the accident, suggested a speed of at least 320mph was possible. Which is ironic, as todays speed record only stands at 317mph, set by Australian Ken Warby in 1978.
Just recently, the remains of Bluebird have been extracted from the lake and are in the process of a rebuild. Once completed, a 100mph demonstration run is planned on Lake Coniston, probably in 2018.
Bluebird Donald Campbell

Bluebird Donald Campbell

Supermarket
During our stay in Windermere we catered for ourselves most of the time. Our preferred supermarket was Booths; a chain providing high quality produces to the northern counties of England. A bit like the Waitrose of the north. But what was interesting, was the prices, noticeably lower than the South East. Our good friend Hayley has always said, “its cheaper up’t north”, and she is right.

Beer Choices

Beer Choices

Fell and Becks
The Lake District is a land of “Fells” and “Becks”. Both these words are Norse in origin, namely a legacy from the first Viking invasion of 793AD (not the second invasion of 1066, when they had adopted a slightly different language). A Fell is a high and barren landscape feature, such as a mountain range or moor-covered hills; and a Beck is a brook or stream. However, after all the rain we have had, Langdale Beck looked more like a ragging river.

Tourism
Over the past few years we have noticed that the face of tourism is changing, and in a big way. Today there are many more Asian tourists, especially from China. This has had the effect of boosting tourism income but at the same time pushing up prices, as demand exceeds supply. All this is not good news for us, but no complaints, we are happy to welcome our new travellers to the wonders of the world. What brought this thought to mind was some literature on display in Bowness-on-Windermere, the Jehovah Witnesses were targeting both English and Chinese speakers.

Chinese Literature in the Lake District

Chinese Literature in the Lake District

Posted by MAd4travel 02:04 Archived in England Comments (0)

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