19.05.2015 - 19.05.2015 12 °F
Day 18 was a watery day in Cumbria.
We went on water walks and drives. Water gushed down Aira Force, our first National Trust stop for today. The sometimes steep climb through and up sodden ground was enveloped in trees, ferns and wildlife, all enjoying the cool air and morning sunlight. The sunlight was making the water sparkle in the tiny trickles of streams as opposed to the white water being created at the larger waterfall areas as huge amounts of water pushed through tunnels, archways and over rocky areas. As we came to the end of the almost hour long walk, the sky began to open up and rain fell. Many people were arriving to see the waterfalls and the rain seemed to escalate their excitement to go on through. Later in the day we researched why there were a number of fallen logs with thousands of coins wedged in the surface. We discovered they are known as wishing trees.
Winding our way through the dales, clouds stretched down and created a blanket effect over many of the peaks. The hills, peaks, grass lands, fields and water combined created a colourful display. We followed the length of the Ullswater and then wound our way up through Kirkstone Pass to Windemere. We hung a right into Ambleside and then up past Wray Castle to Hill Top Farm, our second Trust stop.
Beatrix Potter's first propery purchase is on display showcasing the furniture and 'trinkets' she lived with. There is still no electricity to the house but the windows let in enough light to show off her collection of paintings splendily. She obviously had a love for grandfather clocks, as there were a number in her house, despite the confined space. From the top window you could see the house she later moved to when she married. Hill Top remained her get away retreat, after she married.
We headed back to Hawkshead which was in the offices of her publisher. This was obviously a C17 commercial property that was once two properties, built for those under 5 ft 8in! On display were pieces of artwork, the Potter Family collections, eg butterflies, moths, eggs, rocks, cromwelian cannonballs cabinets and of course scatterings of books and sketches.
We walked through Hawkshead, a town of slate brick cottages. St Michael's and All Angels Church was tucked on a hill at the end of a street with heating pipes running around the seating. It was built in 1597, although the organ was relatively new. As we stood in the rain outside the church, the hills stood in the distance with a mixture of rain and sunshine on them making them look like green velvet with a silvery sheen. More photos.... The church had a sarcophagus of a Victorian colonel, Graythwaite, next to the sarcophagus of a mediecal knight.
Next we headed through Hawkshead to Coniston and went South passing Coniston Water. The Gondola, a water steam boat, was making its way down the lake. Half the villages we passed had Thwaite in their name. In fact, the whole area has Thwaites galore! Hardly surprising then we turned east at Haverthwaite and then north to Newby Bridge passed the steam railway and along Windemere back to Penrith. Many showers of rain fell and at one stage hail entertained me bouncing off the car bonnet, while Rob held his breath and breathed a sigh of relief as one full size coach after the other squeezed past us. He actually had to pull in the wing mirror to avoid losing it. That's how close they were!! Earlier in the day some of the mud build up was removed from the side of the car by hedges lining the road, when we had to cuddle up to them to make way for another stream of traffic that did not fit. Rob considers B roads are named B for Bloody Awful and should not be for tour buses. He would however permit local buses. He was also voicing concern about an elderly lady who was standing on the road in our lane, watching a wide truck coming down the opposite side of the road. The look of horror on her face when she turned around and saw us matched our look of horror when we saw her, as we came around a blind bend and came face to face.
We took a leisurely stroll before dinner to the ruin of Penrith Castle, that had been home to Richard, Duke of Cumberland, who later became Richard III. A notice board at the ruin site alerts people to the fact that climbing on the ruin rocks may be dangerous as falling could be harmful!
I borrowed a few chosen words from Ian's repertoire this afternoon when I discovered the new 1T special wireless blah blah blah portable hard drive that I purchased to store all my photos on is on the blink, literally. I used the "***** useless Mongrel" line and continued to spit the dummy but Rob did a Kirsty and used logic to assured me all my photos will be able to be retrieved...If Rob is mistaken, the man at JB does not have long to live! I have 2 and a half weeks of photos on there and one of them will be my new one for my office so I can feel relaxed at work when I return....and I am now not relaxed incase I don't have the photos. Rob suggested a long walk to cheer me up (and get me away from the IT Black hole I was in). Bl**** technology.
Rob has given up and fallen asleep and I have just heard from Jenny. She has booked her ticket to Cardiff so we can do some retail therapy on 9th June.
Night everyone. Although I am heading to bed, your alarms will be sounding soon to get up, so have a good day.