R&R in the Lake District Continued

Where was I? Oh yes, Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s home in the Lake District. You can see why the Romantic Poets had good reason to be romantic.

When last you heard from me, Heather and I had just visited Dove Cottage and were venturing onward to check with our friend Mandy Marshall, over at her shop Herdwick Ltd.

Oh, look! Images are available again! I love when technology works.
Goodies made from the venerable Herdwick sheep. Their wool is quite coarse and not good for next-to-skin wearing. It does make a nice, tough tweed, useful for all kinds of wares.
By the way, this is a Herdwick sheep — tough little buggers that spend their summers up on the high fells (something between a hill and a mountain) of the Lake District.

We had a beautiful wander around Grasmere that day, found an Indian restaurant in Coniston for dinner and swore we’d take the next day off to take a walk. Why walk? Because Heather is already planning a walking tour in the Lake District for next spring. (Remember that sabbatical thing? Ha ha ha ha ha ha… sigh.)

After a hearty breakfast and a couple hours of computer time (cause there’s never NOT something that requires immediate attention) we donned our walking shoes and set off. Not for any of the big hikes. There is huge elevation gain involved in most of the Lake District trails. For my sake, Heather chose a gentle route that crossed to Coniston, looped up around the valley and then returned us to Bank Ground Farm. On the first truly sunny day in a week, we were off! Here is some if what we saw:

Lots of sheep in green fields. These are Herdwicks but there are also many Swaledale out and about..
Beautiful stone cottages, farm buildings and walls.
The sound of running water (most of the time).
Steep hills even though there weren’t supposed to be any on this walk.
Soft places to recover from those steep hills.
Genuinely beautiful surroundings, all in all.
Plus, the ever important picnic lunch.

The next couple days included a couple of farm visits and a bit more time catching up on desk work.

There was some purchasing of yarn.

Whoops. Did we buy that yarn? Where are we going to put it?

Also, things to help us recover from the yarn purchasing efforts.

Afternoon tea and scones in the Lake District, of course.

And then we had to repack to prepare for our next tours — mine in Copenhagen and the Faroe Islands, Heather’s in Wales.

How does stuff multiply so quickly while traveling??? Mom and Dad, be on the lookout for a package I’ve mailed home. It might be filled with yarn, books and a full needlepoint kit from Wemyss School of Needlework in Scotland… Because there’s just no room in my luggage for all that stuff.

Before leaving the Lake District review, I must comment on two things.

Item one: Why have Brits still not figured out how to put hot and cold water together in the same faucet? You may alternately freeze and/or scald your hands as you wash. We’ll have none of that pleasantly warm wash water available. That’s for wimpy Americans!

Item two: Brits love their dogs. Seriously LOVE. And can’t leave them at home when going on holiday, apparently.

All dogs welcome, all of the time, everywhere.

The Lake District was full of people on holiday and fully half those people had dogs with them. Dogs were everywhere— at the restaurants, in the camping areas, on the hiking trails, at the pubs. I’ve never seen so many dogs.

Three in this photo, including that one ON the table.
The proportion was sometimes as high as two of three holidaying family groups was with dog(s).
Some had very special accommodations.

Okay, enough with the dog pictures. You get my point. And I love dogs as much as the next person. But this was really over the top. Brits and their dogs… <shakes head> A true love story.

So our time in the Lake District drew to an end… but we had a couple of wonderful stops on the way out of the area. Found out about a fairly intact stone circle just a half hour away from Bank Ground Farm. Not only was it beautifully preserved, but it was almost deserted and stood on an incredible location, surrounded by the high fells. Castlerigg Stone Circle.

And we stopped at one more farm, owned by our friend Alice. She keeps a rare breed called Manx Loaghtan, originating on the Isle of Mann. Lovely things with a light cinnamon-colored fleece. Ah, sheep. If only there was grass in New Mexico, I could keep a few…

Alice with her lovely ewes.
Manx Loaghtan are not small enough to stuff in my luggage.

After our time with Alice, we jammed on the main highway down to Manchester where, as you heard already, I had a crazy, crazy, crazy afternoon and evening of getting to Copenhagen. Nonetheless, I leave you with this picture which I think summarizes our Lake District days. Cheers!

5 comments

  1. Trip scouting at its finest. Thanks for taking me along. I’ve been quietly nagging Heather about a Hebrides walking trip …but a Lake District edition? Count me in. I’ll schlep all the backpacks I can carry for that opportunity. Or maybe I’ll bring my Maisie pup and she can assist with that.

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