Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lake District Saga

Where to begin?!  It's been three days since I had computer access to post our adventures and they have been three days packed with sights and sounds.  On Monday morning, we boarded a coach for the Lake District in Cumbria, which is to the southwest of Northumberland where we are based.  The weather looked promising as we pulled away from the Castle, but as we got closer to our destination of Grasmere, the weather turned very Lake District like:  low clouds, mists and light rain, then periods of brightness with the sun seemingly about to break through.  Our first stop in Grasmere was at the Glenthorne Guest House  where we started the check in process.  Glenthorne is a Quaker run facility which offers an oasis of quiet and peacefulness in the midst of our busy schedule.  We also enjoyed two delicious cooked breakfasts and two three course evening meals.  (Click to find out more about Glenthorne.)

Rydal Mount, home of William Wordsworth, was our first afternoon site.  We toured the house first, hoping that the weather would improve before we hit the garden.  Clearing didn't happen, so we just forged ahead with walking the grounds and photographing. 

The rain and mist actually gave a special atmosphere to many of the plants and flowers.  We encouraged students to return to Grasmere by walking the Coffin Path from Rydal Mount, and despite the less than stellar weather, everyone trooped down the Path.  We found out later that some of the students took unintended detours out on to the fells (the steep hills of the Lake District) but everyone eventually made it to the village.

Our second afternoon site was the Northern Storytelling Centre, where storyteller Jean Hilton, entertained us with stories from many countries.  Because of the damp weather, we could not sit in the Storyteller's Garden, so we gathered indoors in the Listening Room, where the electric fire and cups of hot tea kept us cozy as Jean entertained.

Tuesday was Beatrix Potter Day.  We visited Hawkshead in the morning, where we toured the Beatrix Potter Gallery which is housed in the former law offices of Beatrix's husband, William Heelis. Many of the featured drawings were from The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse, which is celebrating it's 100th anniversary this year. After the Gallery, many of us enjoyed shopping in Hawkshead.

Hilltop Farm  in Near Sawry was the afternoon destination.  We got there in time for plenty of photography, village exploration and gift shop browsing before our scheduled entry time in to the house itself.   After everyone had been in the house and  thoroughly enjoyed it, we returned to Glenthorne just in time for afternoon tea.  The sun also came out, making it ideal for photography, and shopping in the village of Grasmere.

This morning, we packed our bags and boarded the coach for Keswick, which is located on Derwent Water. It is one of the Lake District's busiest tourist towns.  Many of us visited The Derwent Pencil Museum  where we learned that author/illustrator Raymond Briggs used Derwent colored pencils to create the illustrations in The Snowman The informational video included a clip from the video of The Snowman.

Many of us also found that along with a beautiful lakeshore, featuring the award winning Hope Park garden, there is also an excellent chocolatier in the High Street. Check out Ye Old Friars of Keswick--they deliver via post.

One more time on the coach, with a destination of Housesteads, a Roman fort ruin along Hadrian's Wall. The scenery along the way was breathtaking, as were the narrow roads!! We arrived just in time for a brief squall, but undaunted we climbed to the top to explore the ruins and the wall remains. The vistas were breathtaking.

Tomorrow is our last day here at the Castle.  We will have a formal group photo taken at 9 am, then enjoy some photo sharing in class.  The rest of the day will be spent in tying up loose ends and trying to fit everything into those suitcases we arrived with 18 days ago.  Tomorrow evening will be our group banquet at Lilburn's, a local restaurant.

1 comment:

  1. The Lake District was beautiful and the walk down the Coffin Path, after the light showers offered some of the best photos of the entire trip.