Thursday, June 25, 2009
Lake District (Monday 22 June)
A big day today mainly concentrating on the area between Coniston Waters and Lake Windermere. We took some good photos of Coniston from across the Waters and enjoyed the foresty on the way. The drive, as usual, was great. I love these country lanes and the dodging of livestock and oncoming vehicles. You can rarely stop somewhere to photograph a great scene though - lookouts are as rare as parking spots. The big pain in England is finding somewhere to park when you arrive and then finding the money to pay for it - often 2 pounds ($4) for an hour. The surprise this day was that the parking in the village of Near Sawry was very scarce but free! This is the location of Beatrice Potter's Hill Top farm where she usually did all her writing and from where she managed up to 14 farms in the area. Many of her stories and illustrations come from the cottage and the gardens there. She left all her property to the National Trust but all her farms, like most National Trust farms, are still working farms. Tenants of her old properties, as per the terms of her will, pay a relatively nominal rent but must farm the local sheep breed, Herdwicks. Here we see Vija standing outside the Hill Top Cottage looking for Peter Rabbit. We also took in Wray Castle at High Wray (photo). It was previously owned by one of the co-founders of the National Trust. It's a brilliant looking building but apparently the National trust are not interested in exhibiting it. They are looking for a tenant though if anyone is interested. Another of our stops was at Grasmere where we visited the Wordsworth Museum and the early family home "The Dove" where Wordsworth lived in his most productive period (he always lived in the Lake District). The house had been an inn previoiusly but it is very small and it is hard to credit that Wordsworth, his wife, four of their children, his sister, and a sister-in-law and occasional house guests (especially Coleridge),, resided in the home at the one time. They moved on when the fifth child ws imminent.