Monday, September 14, 2015

The Lake District

In our family, we are lovers of lakes and mountains (which makes living in Tennessee very handy), so we knew we wanted to spend some time in England's Lake District.  Oh my goodness!  The beauty of the place was breathtaking.  The mountains look like velvet.  They were covered with grass, ferns and blooming purple heather - only a few of them had any trees at all.  This means that as you hike, you have a continuous view instead of only getting that rewarding view at the end of a long uphill climb (as we are used to in Appalachia).

We spent one long day hiking up to one peak (fell, as they call it here) and then across the ridge top to several other fells before descending through a quarry.  It was perfect hiking weather.  Unlike the Smoky Mountains, there was no haze.  This mountaintop experience was truly the high point of our trip.

Another cool thing is that we were able to start and finish this hike by just walking out the door of the place we were staying.  Evy, our airbnb hostess, and her family have done lots of hiking, but she said that the best one was right outside her door. She also gave me a great idea for motivating kids who are sometimes reluctant hikers (especially when that view is a long time coming). It's too late for me to use it with my kids, but I am spreading the word. She had little dog tags printed with the name of the fells or hikes.  When they reached the summit, they would open a bottle of pop, have a bite of candy, and a little medal ceremony.  She said her boys (now college age) still have their medal collections as one of their prized possessions.  Maybe this same approach would also have worked with reluctant water skiers!

A lot of writers came to the Lake District for inspiration, and I can see why.  I could even write poetry in a place like this.  We visited the homes of Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.  This was a special memory to me as I remember studying Beatrix Potter's books and life when Rebecca was a first grader.  This field trip was a long time coming!  Here is Rebecca at Hilltop Farms, where Beatrix Potter lived.

Actually, this is where she lived until she got married.  Then she lived in this house pictured on the right that is across the street from Hilltop.  She used Hilltop as her own space for gardening, drawing, etc.

Our guide told us she feared her husband would want her to change something.

Hilltop is in Near Sawrey.  We took a walk from Near Sawrey to Far Sawrey and back again.  I just love the names of these places.

Then we headed to Wray Castle.  Beatrix Potter actually lived there while visiting the Lake District as a teen.  Here I am pretending I own the place:

It had a gorgeous view of pasture and lake.