Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Trip Report: The Lake District (Part 2)

Back in March, we left you in the middle our week-long Lake District trip--If you need a recap, here's part one and here's the photoalbum.

So, where were we....Tuesday we headed to Bowness-on-Windermere to catch the ferry across the lake. The lake is only 11 miles long so it's not that big of a deal to drive around it. By why do that when you can pay 3 quid to take a ferry? Once on the west side of the lake, we headed to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's Lake District home from 1905. The famous author of The Tales of Peter Rabbit wrote many of her subsequent books in the house (right) and so fell in love with the area that she bought up plots to protect against development. (Rene Zellewegger played the author in the recent movie Miss Potter and the house's gift shop had the movie on its TV) This is where we learned about the restrictions on building in the national park; the village looks much the same as it did when Potter lived there.

After that it was on to Grizedale Forest, for a 4-mile jaunt--what we would call "hike," what most others call "walk,--through a gorgeous forest. Throughout the trail we followed were many large sculptures (top picture)--this site indicates we didn't come close to seeing them all. We enjoyed our walk and left fairly exhausted. We headed north to the small village of Hawkshead, which we fell in love with. A quick walk (doesn't take but 15 minutes to walk around, and that includes stopping in 3 shops), and a quick half pint at the Kings Arms, and we were on our way to our next destination: The Drunken Duck Inn. Gorgeous venue, lovely bar, beautiful restaurant, OK food. Remember, we're tough customers when it comes to fine dining. I'll take sausage and mash, fish and chips, or a cheeseburger in a pub any day of the week and be beyond content, but starch my napkin and the food better be other-worldly. They definitely make the effort and the food was beautiful to look at, but it was at the expense of taste. Still, though, it was gorgeous.

Wednesday was the day I was sure I'd get to do nothing but read, but instead we went and did a few things. We drove to Staveley to and had lunch at the Eagle and Child (OK, this is the one pub lunch we probably didn't earn, but it was so tasty -- Cumberland sausage for JT and chicken and mushroom pie for me -- mmm.) We bought a bike rack at the fancy bike store. From there we went on to Grasmere, another picturesque village. This one has two claims to fame--William Wordsworth (his home, grave are there--and a museum now, of course) and its celebrated gingerbread . We visited the grave and enjoyed the gingerbread (kind of like homemade graham crackers but sweet) A trip back through Kendal so I could buy a book I had been looking for.

So, failing at doing nothing on Wednesday, I thought Thursday's forecast of constant rain would keep us in for the day. Apparently, though, you don't ever have to be right about the weather to be a meteorologist around here. After a couple hours of early-morning rain, the clouds gave way to gorgeous sunshine. So, we set out on what was supposed to be a quick walk up the big hill behind our cottage. Once we got to the top, we were energized by the walk and the weather and thought we'd keep going and make a big loop. Somewhere a long the way, though, we lost the path and ended up wandering for a total of two and a half hours. We had a good time, though, and met some funny sheep.

After lunch, we headed to Sizergh Castle, where the Strickland family has lived for about 750 years--and several family members continue to reside there. Dinner was a long-planned return to the Watermill Inn, and once again it did not disappoint. We came home and when we got out of the car, looked up and saw an infinite number of stars in the relative darkness of this remote area. It was a nice way to bring our little trip to a close. We're already thinking about a return trip, and how it could easily be a weekend jaunt, particularly if we don't get caught in a 20-mile backup on the M6 like we did this time.

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