Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Lakes! (Part 3)

The Lakes District is shot through with beautiful hiking trails, and late April is a beautiful time to be there. Bertie is not much of a hiker, but we went out one day for a nice long walk above Grasmere. This is Wordsworth country, but we were neither overwhelmed with daffodils nor taken with the urge to proclaim odes to anything. It was a lovely day! Although the Lakes District is called 'lakes,' there is only one actual lake in the area: Bassenthwaite Lake. We did not visit it. The others are meres, waters, and tarns. The area has been settled for thousands of years, so there are lots of linguistic foundations at work in the names of landmarks.

Happy family at the beginning of the trek!

Look, Dada, geology!!

While we didn't see any daffodils, the lower hills were blanketed in bluebells.

Having a little break on a bench, and making Ian look tall.

Looking north.

The steps up to the peak of Loughrigg Fell (Luffrig). We did not go to the peak but continued on around it.

We had the stroller with us, but Bertie was a trouper and declined to use it after the first few minutes. We used cheese, crackers, candy, and apple juice to keep him going instead!

There were sheep everywhere!

A boy can hike far if he has apple juice and a stick...

Loughrigg Tarn. It was so pretty.

Towards the end we made it back to Grasmere and threw rocks in the lake. A friendly fellow hiker had an RC hovercraft and let Bertie drive it for a minute!

Looking roughly north across the water.

The last snack to get us back to the car. It was an amazing day!

North of Ambleside, and in fact near the northern boundary of the district, is Derwentwater. Above Derwentwater there are prehistoric standing stones, something like Stonehenge but much, much smaller.

We took a cruise on Derwentwater in one of the historic boats.

Bertie got a pinwheel for the ride!

Again, it was so pretty there.

We also visited the Castlerigg stone circle. This is the mock-up, showing what it would look like from above and if everything were upright.

This is how it looks from the ground. For scale, there is a white paraglider just below the rim of the mountains behind it, nearly in the middle of the picture. The stones are not particularly huge, but the area is.

Bertie providing a different kind of scale. He thought (and thinks) that the idea of "rocks standing up" is pretty funny.

Looking roughly southwest from the stone circle.

Our final big outing in the Lakes was to Ullswater. It is also Wordsworth country, but we did not have the energy for a hike (and the daffodils were past anyhow).

Another big water (pointedly not a lake!), another historic boat.

Waiting on the pier.

Bertie got a little cold and windblown on the way back. The wind was so strong and the water so choppy that our boat was the last to set out that afternoon.

No fewer than three Royal Air Force jets flew very low over Ullswater while we were on our way back from lunch. They were extremely loud and incredibly close.

I'd go back and spend longer!

The Lakes! (Part 2)

We ventured out over very small and winding roads to Ravenglass on the coast. We visited a very interesting regional zoo and an old castle (real this time) with a birds of prey exhibit. We finished the day with a ride on a narrow-gauge railway up into a lovely valley.

The zoo was large and a bit overwhelming. We met a "help-talking bird," a very accurate description of a peacock!

We met primates.

And then we met and fed a giraffe! It was thrilling!

I love the face on the little girl behind me in this shot!

From the zoo we headed to Muncaster Castle, which has had something on this spot since the 14th century. The family still occupies part of the house, though the property is open to public visits. It's lovely, and the gardens were blooming like mad. This shot is looking from (roughly) the front of the house to the northeast.

Did I mention the gardens?

Ian giving scale to the big old tree.

One last landscape shot - from here...

In such a picturesque and idyllic environment, everything was lovely for the family as well!

But we had to take some bumpy roads to get there!

Muncaster Castle is home to a birds of prey exhibit. I believe all the birds were hurt and are in the exhibit because they cannot survive on their own. This is an Australian kookaburra, a long way from home.

This is a local owl. Bertie loves birds and was totally interested until we got there. Then he pitched a fit and whined through the whole show.

As we left the birds, he finally saw something interesting!

And he immediately took possession.

We rode the 'Lal Ratty' narrow gauge train up the Eskdale Valley. It's a legitimate commuter train, though at our time of day it was mostly hikers and tourists.

Waiting just as patiently as any commuter for the train!

Our train was a diesel, not a silly steamy! But we were happy to pass the steamies en route!

Look at that big, happy dog who gets to ride the train to go for a hike!

More landscape shots! I know I probably wouldn't like to live there full-time, but it was amazing to visit! And I'd go back in a heartbeat.

The Lakes! (Part 1)

And now for a blast from the past - the long overdue post(s) about our trip to England's Lakes District last spring!

We stayed in a holiday cottage in the village of Ambleside on the northern tip of Windermere. It's a delightful place!

The view looking roughly north from our cottage on a clear, cool morning. This is a horseshoe formation (and may be called The Horseshoe). That's snow, and we were there in late April! It was about as far from Cabo Verde as possible....

Views from the Windermere to the north and west of Ambleside.

The Romans were here! The Lakes District is such a lovely place that it's been settled for thousands of years. This old Roman garrison at the northern tip of Windermere is evidence of that. The stile protects the site from grazing sheep who live in the field.

Bertie was in his element.

Views around Ambleside. It's a sort of commercial hub, chock-a-block with outdoors stores and outfitters. This is a jumping off point for all the hikers and climbers who come to the Lakes for the peaks. Although the Lakes District is now a site of natural beauty, protected and respected, it used to be a mining and quarrying zone. There are lots of rocks, and lots of building with rocks.

This is a building on a bridge, probably put there for tax evasion purposes hundreds of years ago.

And even though there was snow on the mountains, there were flowers all over town.

Because Ambleside is an established holiday destination for national and international travelers, it has something for everyone. Bertie was delighted with all the activities geared towards people his age!

We played in a nets course, way above the ground! We had to get into burlap sacks to slide down the net tunnels - and even with the help of the burlap, the larger members of the party sometimes got stuck!

Rolling on fitness balls on the elevated nets course. Bertie didn't know what to think!

We did a dragons and fairies scavenger hunt at a local home and garden store.

We jumped on pits at a really lovely children's park.

Ian and Bertie 'fished' in a local stream.

And of course, we threw rocks into the creek!

Beatrix Potter loved the Lakes, and she built a castle just for children. Wray Castle is a short boat ride (romance!!) from Ambleside, and we spent a good long day there.
Wray Castle!

Looking roughly north from the terrace of Wray Castle, back towards Ambleside. It was a beautiful day!

And we had cheese for lunch!

Our first stop was a room with soft but sturdy child-size building blocks. A previous visitor had lost a He-Man sword, and Bertie couldn't believe his luck! We made a toppled castles until the child came back for his sword.

After the disappointment of losing the sword, we found helmets and other swords. We demanded to know Ian's business several times in the castle dress-up room.

We visited Farmer McGregor's garden and got swept into a complicated and long-running vegetable crisis with two little girls who were playing there.

Then we found the mini bowling set. Bertie kind of understood the purpose, but he didn't see any reason not to get full points every time. If the ball doesn't take down all the pins, the belly and arms certainly will!

Then we made a crown, working very hard with the color orange.

And claimed this stump in the name of the Princess!