Saturday, May 12, 5:54 a.m. Woke to fog blanketing Near Sawrey. . . . .
By 8:50 a.m. the sky was blue with just a few clouds passing by. We had another great breakfast at Tower Bank Arms (we each had what we had yesterday). We were now ready for our day away from Near Sawrey. We would go to Hawkshead and Ambleside. . . .
We had a full day ahead of us and didn't want to wait for the 10:27 bus, so we headed down the lane to the Claife Community Bridleway. We started at "You Are Here" and would walk the 2 miles to Hawkshead, then after visiting the Beatrix Potter Gallery, take a bus to Ambleside. . . .
"Went to Hawkshead on 19th.. Had a series of adventures. Inquired the way three times, lost continually, alarmed by collies at every farm, stuck in tiles, chased once by cows." -B.P. 1882 on walk from Wray Castle to Hawkshead
After half a mile the path ended and we had to walk in the road. . . .
We never lacked entertainment. . . .
Soon there was another off-road path along Esthwaite Water. . . .
It wasn't very long but you could walk down to the water's edge in places. . . .
The view across the lake and the mirror image created by the still water was stunning. . . .
This fairy door was quite large! Maybe it is a door for a larger woodland creature. . . .
We were half way to Hawkshead when we left the path and walked on the road again. We made sure we were always facing traffic, which meant we had to stop and think about what side that was! Cars and lorries drove much too fast along these narrow, twisting roads, with views often blocked by stone walls. . . .
The tenacity of this tree to continue to put out leaves was a testament to the hardy woodland souls of these ancient trees. . . .
The Bridleway resumed a little further up the road on the lake side. . . .
Was this a bad shearing job? She looked like she was molting. . . .
I wonder if this is a shepherd hut? . . . .
Almost to Hawkshead. . . .
This is where we go off to the left. If you kept going straight you could walk to Wray Castle in less than an hour where Beatrix and her family first spent their Lake District holidays. It would have to wait for another visit, though. . .
Hawkshead is a very old village. It has more touristy shops than I'd expected. It was first owned by the monks of Furness Abbey in the 12th century. After the dissolution of the monasteries it became a market town. We easily found the Beatrix Potter Gallery which is housed in the former law office of William Heelis, Beatrix's husband. But first we had to purchase our ticket in this little building just before you come upon the Museum. . . .
Next to the ticket office was this doorway with the sign "Bend or Bump" above it. Ken obliged me with a size comparison. Hobbits must have lived here at one time! . . .
The building dates back to the 17th century. William had his office here from 1900 till his death in 1945. The Heelis family maintained a law office here until 1987 after which the National Trust acquired the building for a Beatrix Potter museum/gallery . . . .
The Gallery had a few artifacts from William's law practice. . . .
This would have been his upstairs office. . . .
There were displays of Beatrix's art and a few letters and photographs. . . .
This is the view from Hill Top's Hall/Fire House looking towards the staircase and new kitchen. . . .
This old photograph (bottom) shows the Queen's Head Hotel where we would be having supper that evening. . . .
From Beatrix's journal when she was 18. . . .
The original art shows the vibrancy of her watercolors. Her little books do not give justice to her paintings. . . .
|The Tale of Pigling Bland|
|The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck|
|The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse|
|The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse|
This portrait of Beatrix by Delmar Banner, a neighbor, was painted in 1938. The original hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London. In the basket on the bench was a supply of Herdwick wool and little pipe cleaners twisted together for children to use as a frame for wrapping the wool around to make their own little sheep. . . .
In one of the rooms was a longcase clock by Thomas Lock, circa 1780. . . .
Looking into the children's play area. . . .
Many of the exhibits were meant to engage the child visitor. . . .
A reproduction of the original Peter Rabbit letter to Noel. . . .
We had time before we had to catch the bus to Ambleside so we strolled through the village and did some gift shopping for our grandchildren. You can see the back of St. Michael and All Angels Hawkshead Church dating from the 15th century . . .
We walked through side streets that dead-ended and found cottages like Lantern Cottage which is a holiday let. . . .
It was a 21-minute bus ride to AMBLESIDE at the head of Lake Windermere. There was a pre-Roman settlement here, but the town dates back to 1650 when it was granted a charter to hold a market. We had lunch at the Copper Pot. . . .
It was a lovely day to eat in the garden out back, although I sought out the shade. I noticed Brits do not seem to mind sitting in the sun. I suspect it's because they don't usually see it very often. . . .
After my filling breakfast I only needed a bowl of soup and bread. . . .
|Good advice especially in a foreign country|
Then we set out to find the Armitt Museum where Beatrix Potter's original nature art could be found. Stock Ghyll runs through Ambleside. I didn't realize at the time that the Stock Ghyll Force (waterfall) was only a 30-minute roundtrip walk from this point. . . .
So I will have to content myself with this little waterfall. . . .
We came across a used bookshop. I found a Vera the Mouse Christmas activity book by Marjolein Bastin. Her children's books are so hard to find in the U.S. Then at the museum for £1 I found a book with two walks in England on their used book shelf. Was this a sign that I would be returning? . . . .
The Museum featured Beatrix Potter's interest in natural science. . . .
As well as her picture books. . . .
Linda Lear has written "Beatrix Potter - A Life in Nature" which goes into detail about this part of Beatrix's life.
On the way back through town we found the 17th century Bridge House. It stands over the Stock Beck and was built so the owners could access their land on the other side. . . .
At one time it housed 8 members of a family. . . .
It was too crowded inside to get a good photo, but you can view the inside at the link above. I did get these drawings of it from an earlier time period to give you a glimpse of how it look back then. . . .
We needed to get back to the bus stop for our ride back to Hawkshead where we had dinner reservations. Once we arrived the ice cream shop across from the bus stop looked very inviting. It was a very warm day! . . .
There was live music outside The Sun Inn. . . .
I noticed that the bobblehead of Queen Elizabeth (purple dress) in the shop window across the street was keeping time with the music. . . .
We strolled to the end of the village. These clematis, which were all over many of the buildings here and in Near Sawrey, were about to burst into bloom. I've never seen so many blossoms on one plant. Does anyone know the variety? . . . .
This was the view at the end of the main street. . . .
I wanted to make sure I found Wordsworth Street. . . .
As well as a self-catering cottage. . . .
I went back to the Peter Rabbit and Friends shop to purchase the gifts I'd seen earlier. Ken sat outside just around the corner at the Honey Pot and had tea. . . .
This was the lane along the side of the shop. I love all the vines on the building. . . .
I'm including this sports car photo that he took (because he loves cars) for two reasons. You can see the Peter Rabbit shop with the bay windows, but also--see that red "phone booth"? It's another Defibrillator station. . . .
We had a little more time till our dinner reservation so we strolled down to the other end of the village where we'd arrived. This is when I noticed this was the entrance to the grammar school that Wordsworth had attended. . . .
It was also the entrance to St. Michael and All Angels church that you can see in the distance. . . .
The school dates back to 1675. . . .
If this seems like a strange clock, it's because it is a sundial. . . .
This view from the Grammar School grounds shows where the buses come in. . . .
I was missing Gabriel, my Westie, so much I asked to photograph this little fellow. . . .
It was dinner time so we headed for the Queen's Head Inn, an early 17th century inn . . .
I had the fish and chips. It was good, but not any better than what I get in the U.S. . . .
|Robinson's Bitters; Pulled Beef Wellington braised ox cheek, Lyonnaise potatoes, chantenay carrots, green beans, mushroom puree & red wine jus; Real ale fish & chips, mushy peas, onion rings;|
We passed the Kings Arms Hotel on our way out of the village. You may recognize the scene on the right from Beatrix's story "The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse". . . .
We walked back to Near Sawrey the way we came. . . .
Because we were on the Bridalway we could see over the wall along the lane just before getting to Near Sawrey. This is Ees Wyke, (then called Lakefield). It is where Beatrix and her family stayed on their first visit to Near Sawrey in 1896. It was the summer she turned 30, before her first book. She was still very much into fungi and described her finds in her journal. On July 23rd she wrote: "Drove along the Graythwaite road through oak coppices, a blind-road, the least pleasing the neighbourhood. The wood scattered with poor specimens of the poisonous Agaricus phalloides, and not without a suspicion of adders. It is too dry for much funguses." Her mention of adders reminds me of our encounter with the warning signs for adders. Three days later she and her brother were to come upon one in the heather and bracken cutting across from Stones Lane to Ees Wyke, "....came across a small but very lively viper, which we killed with a stick...They are exceedingly pretty." On turning 30 on the 28th she writes, "I feel much younger at thirty than I did at twenty; firmer and stronger both in mind and body.". . . .
Today's walks: 8.74 miles, 18,528 steps, 21 flights of stairs
Here are some sites you might enjoy visiting to learn more about Beatrix Potter:
Linda Lear Interview
The Lakeland Legacy of Beatrix Potter
The Hidden Adult Themes in Beatrix Potter's Stories
P.S. Click on photos to enlarge
Up Next: Coniston Water and John Ruskin