Tag Archives: Cumbria

Mountains and More @ The Lake District!

So here I am, in the Lake District for a week visiting family – and friends – and based at Troutbeck.  It’s deep in the Lake District.  Of course, the Lake District is famous for mountains, lakes, steamboats, views, daffodils, poets, slate mines, sheep – and tourists.  Seen them all, well, except daffodils, and maybe poets.  The Lake District is contained entirely in Cumbria, and Cumbria is so famous for its mountains that people forget about the coast, but it’s beautiful, especially on a sunny day…  This is it!

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THE Lake District place for coffee is to bring your own and sit on the seat overlooking Tarn Hows ~ with views of the Langdale Pikes…

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And Coniston Old Man and Wetherlam…

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THE place for lunch is the Bluebird Cafe on Coniston Water, where you can watch the steamboats

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Other highlights ~ a wonderful trip to St. Bees, on the west coast of Cumbria, with views over to the Isle of Man.  Two of my Taiwan friends came to St. Bees to start the 309 km (192 miles) Coast to Coast Walk, so we went over to meet them for the day of their arrival. Drove a whole circuit of the Lake District, took the northern route over via Keswick and came back by the southern route via Sellafield and Newby Bridge.  Quite a trip, very spectacular.  St. Bees beach (see top 2 photos) is the official start of the Coast to Coast Walk….

We ended up at the St. Bees Priory drop-in coffee morning, where we met lots of lovely local people who entertained us with tales of the St. Bees Man (fascinating stuff – but gruesome, especially over coffee and cake!).  Also met a lady who had learned all about the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (Formosa) when she was a child in the then-Presbyterian Church (now URC) just up the road in Whitehaven.   Ah, it’s a small world!

The west coast of Cumbria is really very remote, but in the 19th century, it was very famous for its theological college, there being only 3 at the time: Oxford, Cambridge and, yes, St. Bees…

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St. Bees Priory is the huge sandstone church with an impressive main entrance…

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And inside pretty impressive too…

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Where else? Well, apart from visiting lots of lovely friends, I did give the sermon during the Sunday service at Jesus Church, Troutbeck on Sunday morning, and a talk about Taiwan on Tuesday afternoon more locally… thanks to everyone for their warm welcome!

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And I mustn’t forget the local pub, the ‘Mortal Man’…

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And now? Preparing to set off down south tomorrow. But do spare a thought for my Taiwan friends on their Coast to Coast Walk over the next 2 weeks.  The weather has been very unsettled so far, with rain and sun and cloud and wind in equal amounts ~ so wish them well!

Kendal, Cumbria

Kendal, Cumbria is a beautiful town on a sunny day!  Happened to be there today, down by the parish church, and along the river where there were tons of seagulls getting fed….

Then for the last 20 minutes I raced up to Kendal Castle and back –  it took 7 minutes to run around the top of the castle and in and out of every ruin – and then back down to the town to get to the car before the parking ran out!

Never been to the castle before, it’s best-known for being the ancient home of the Parr family, the most famous of which was Catherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s 6 wives, 3 of whom were called Catherine – only glad I wasn’t one of them.  Catherine Parr was the only 1 of the 6 to outlive her husband, and Henry VIII was already her 3rd husband ~ and after his death she went on to marry a 4th husband, who ended up outliving her.  Just a bit complicated!

Great views from the castle of the whole town, and in the 7 minutes I was there, even got to see a rainbow over Kendal.  Pretty spectacular!

Dentdale, Cumbria

The ‘Visit Cumbria’ website says that Dent is maybe the finest of the Cumbria dales, even though until 1970 it wasn’t even in Cumbria, but in the West Riding of Yorkshire. And like Sedbergh, it may be in Cumbria now, but it’s also in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  Ah well, the best of all possible worlds!  Anyway, Dent is just over the hills from Sedbergh, so near in fact that I have only been there, well, once. Yes, just once. And even then, only to Dent Village.  Isn’t that just the way it often is?!

Dent is also famous as the birthplace of Adam Sedgwick (one of the founders of modern geology) and in the old days for its knitting, and for Dent Train Station, the highest in England – happens to be on the famous Settle-Carlisle Railway Line….

So today promised not to rain, which in dear old England is quite something, so off we went after church for a visit to the top of Dentdale, to Dent Station and down to the village of Dent…. even saw 2 trains at Dent Station, going in different directions of course, and arriving within 5 minutes of each other – the only 2 trains of the morning, I hasten to add!

Quite beautiful, even on a cloudy day!

Kirkstone Pass, Cumbria ~ and Wordsworth was right!

Ah yes, the Kirkstone Pass, the highest pass in the Lake District at 454m – and there at the top is the welcome sight of the Kirkstone Pass Inn ~ where yesterday the log fire was so welcome and the pumpkin soup was just wonderful!

Up from Troutbeck and down to Ullswater ~ stunning!

It was Wordsworth who said about the Kirkstone Pass: “Who comes not hither ne’er shall know, how beautiful the world below…” So so true!

Morecambe Bay ~ just amazing!

Huge, vast, ginormous in fact – there’s no other description, absolutely endless miles and miles of sands and water, stretching way beyond the horizon.  Unfortunately the sands are famous for being as dangerous as they are beautiful, but viewed from the safety of the road, well, yesterday they were spectacular!

So near, and yet so far!  From the Howgill Fells above Sedbergh, Morecambe Bay glitters in the distance every time the sun comes out and the clouds lift, but it’s always one of the those places we pass by, and never go to.

Enough is enough, and yesterday was the day!  Inspired by a weather forecast that said that the fells would be wet and windy while the coast would be sunny and showery, and also of course by this past week’s BBC series of Autumnwatch broadcast from the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss, off we went on a little explore!

Only 30 minutes from Sedbergh and we were at Arnside village driving along Morecambe Bay itself and stopping for tea right by the railway bridge.. then across the Cumbrian border into Lancashire, to Silverdale and Leighton Moss for walks around the reedbeds, and in the cafe to escape the rain…

After lunch, back round the bay into Cumbria via Grange-over-Sands and Flookburgh to Cartmel, famous for it’s large and ancient priory, horse races, restaurants and home of the sticky toffee pudding. We arrived in a rainstorm followed by a stunning rainbow just as we were parking at the racetrack. The end of the rainbow was actually hitting the racetrack main building – the pot of the gold eh?!

Great day, marvellous scenery, yummy afternoon tea, AND a glorious rainbow!