Thursday, 20 August 2015

A holiday in the Lake District

I recently spent a week on holiday in the English Lake District, along with my wife Jane and our daughter Emma and her husband and two children. Anyone who knows this place knows that the weather will be a prime consideration! The rainfall levels in Cumbria are amongst the highest in the UK, so one has to expect a few rainy days, even in August. We had a mixture of sunny days (though never hot) and rainy ones. Jane and I are not much into strenuous fell-walking these days, but the younger members of the family (suitably equipped with waterproof clothing) spent a fair proportion of the week exploring the Great Outdoors - which is really what a holiday in the Lakes is all about. Even for us "Oldies" there is plenty to see though, and we did, albeit mostly from the car. On the good days I took quite a few photos, some of which I'll publish here.

This is where we stayed - a self-catering "cottage" midway between Ambleside and Skelwith Bridge, aptly named Halfway House:

This property has lots of significance for Jane, because as a child she used to holiday in a bungalow in the grounds of the same house. Unfortunately it turned out to be a bit disappointing. Nothing too major, but just a few niggles: it was very damp and musty, and poorly-equipped. For instance it had a dishwasher that not only fell apart every time we used it, but was also too small to accommodate dinner plates! Anyway, despite this, we as a family made the most of it and laughed-off the difficulties. We had lots of lovely family meals; we played games with the children; we drank a little wine in the evenings, used a telescope to look at stars and meteors, and enjoyed the view of the adjacent River Brathay...

View from the cottage, with Brathay Pool in the foreground.
One of the great attractions of the Lake District is that distances (as the Crow flies) are short, and there is a lot to see without major expeditions. Each day we went out and saw something different. Here is a small selection of photos representing this.

Sizergh Castle (National Trust), near Kendal

Sizergh Castle again

Blea Tarn, with clouds obscuring the Langdale Pikes

Aira Force (aka waterfall) , next to Ullswater

Castlerigg Stone Circle, near Keswick - The Lakes' version of Stonehenge?


A Herdwick sheep, the archetypical Lake District breed
A farmstead above Grasmere
Fungi (Chanterelles?) at Dalemain House, near Penrith

The Beatrix Potter "experience", in Windermere (Lara and Holly loved this!)

My Father-in-Law's memorial stone in the Daffodil Garden of the church in Grasmere
Two little monkeys on a rock [Lara (6) and Holly (3)]

Seat Sandal, looking North from Allan Bank, Grasmere

While we were away Jane celebrated her 60th birthday. To recognise this occasion we all went out for a meal and a tour of the Lakes Distillery near Bassenthwaite. This new venture has recently begun small-scale production of Vodka, Gin and Whisky, using the ultra-pure water from the nearby River Derwent. Here is an (illicit) photo of one of the stills in which the distillery makes whisky.

We were slightly disappointed to find that since the distillery is very new, it has not yet produced any of its own whisky (it has to be matured for at least 3 years), but Gin is already coming off the production line. Here is the evidence:

Now that we're back home, I shall hopefully be out in the garden a bit, and more blogposts will follow...


  1. You're back - yayy! Love the photos that you've posted, I've never been there but it does look very impressive, especially the castle. I would also have loved the Beatrix Potter experience; I'm just a big kid at heart. I had to chuckle at you sneaking photos in that distillery - why the secrecy I wonder! Hope you enjoy the souvenir bottle - and happy birthday to Jane!

  2. What a beautiful place, just as I remember it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time & some lovely gin too!

  4. That is some really beautiful countryside.

  5. A great trip by the look of it Mark,
    My daughter had a few years in St Annes school in the Lakes whilst we finished our tour of Brunei.
    I remember it well.
    Your little monkeys look adorable and what a great way to finish the trip... with a bottle of gin!
    Cheers ;D

  6. Belated happy birthday to Jane. I kid you not the last cottage we rented in the Lakes was haunted. Even Martyn changed his attitude after the strange happenings.


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