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Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Day Away - Hawkshead and Ambleside

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

Thankfully, we did not have any little "adventures" along our way other than to watch the sheep I never tire of seeing. . . .





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. . . .

In a few days we'd be visiting two of William Wordsworth homes and I wanted to locate Ann Tyson's House where he stayed when he attended school in Ambleside.  It is now a B&B. . . .

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.". . . .
After her return to London in October she wrote, "I was very sorry to come away in spite of the broken weather.  It is as nearly perfect a little place as I ever lived in, and such nice old-fashioned people in the village.....Perhaps my most sentimental leave-taking was with Don, the great farm collie.  He came up and muddied me as I was packing up Peter Rabbit at the edge of dark.  I accompanied him to the stable-gate, where he turned, holding it open with his side, and gravely shook hands.  Afterwards, putting his paws solemnly on my shoulder, he licked my face and then went away into the farm."

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:

History Cupboard
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

18 comments:

  1. Gosh, I just think you've finished your tales of your visit to the Lake District and along comes another! Absolutely fascinating. And you must go again, just to visit the places you missed and see all of it again! I love armchair traveling with you! I've read "The Fairy Caravan" dozens of times and would love to see the sights Beatrix mentions in them. I love the Herdwick Sheep too; they're such solid comfortable sheep! I could just see the Mother Ewe's calling to the lambs, just as they did in the book:)

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    1. Thanks, Erin. My posts are ridiculously long, but how can one leave anything out!?? And you are right--I am only half-way done--I have three more days to tell you about, so thank you for hanging in there and letting me know you are enjoying coming along.

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  2. Cathy, you should be a tour guide. With each installment of your trip I'm feeling like I was walking right along with you & Ken, seeing what you're seeing. I clicked on every link & wandered about for more than 2 hours - so I guess that makes me a virtual tourist. Loved the "follow your heart" photo. HAD to save it. As I have saved about 100 other photos of yours from your various blogs [mostly Morning Musings]. I have over 150 folders in the PICTURES section of my Mac, and one of them has your name on it. I have a folder for the other 2 blogs I read too, but yours is the biggest so far. Very impressed by the number of steps you & Ken logged each day too. WOW. How did your feet hold out? Looking forward to the next installment. Peace.

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    1. I blush, Janet. Such a lovely compliment to have a folder for my photos! Some of these are Ken's. I should give him credit! His fill in what I miss. Any that are long-range are his. My feet never bothered me because I wore my Crocs--except for some rocky paths, they served me very well.

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  3. I agree with Janet! You would make an excellent tour guide. Thank you, yet again, for this wonderful experience. I doubt I will ever get to go to England.

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    1. I'm very happy to oblige being a virtual tour guide, Sandy!

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  4. I read these in the morning before I go to work and then again in the evening when I have more time to gaze at the pictures and dream!
    Thank you for this lovely tour. And yes...more please!!��
    Chris from Texas

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    1. Hi Chris, this is a 3-days-to-read post I think! It took me two days to put together, so I appreciate that you all are taking the time to really look at it!

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  5. If you weren't fit before you came, you were by the time you left, and if you end up going somewhere else you cannot say the signs are not there pointing your way back! Yes, that sheep was shedding it's wool; apparently, it is not uncommon for them to experience a form of alopecia after giving birth.

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    1. Deborah, you are my answer lady it seems for all things British. Thank you for adding to our knowledge. And, yes, the signage was great for this walk--it was only just recently put in--but also, being along the road, it would be hard to get lost. Just wait till we get to Grasmere!

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  6. Fascinating post; thank you for putting it together. It should be a good record for your of your trip. I can't believe how for you walked and all the flights of stairs you went up. You must have been exhausted, but it's amazing how the body renews itself.

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    1. Hi Dotsie! Ken's FitBit calls any climb in elevation "stairs" so what it was measuring was the incline we walked up in addition to any stairs we took while out and about. We weren't exhausted at all amazingly. I think we were too energized by the beauty of everything to feel tired. We sure slept well, though.

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  7. Meant to comment on your previous post that I'm currently reading Susan Wittig Albert's, The Tale of Hill Top Farm. Your photos and descriptions are really helping to bring it to life; such fun! The Bridge House is simply fascinating ... those little winding stairs to the upper level! I'm so enjoying everything you're sharing. Thanks again.

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    1. Hi Sharon. I want to reread these books now that I've been there for the same reason. I've read them twice already!

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  8. It's all so lovely, Cathy. Such good hikers you both are! I'm always amazed when we travel how energetic we can be. Thanks for taking me back to my "second home." ♥

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    1. Martha Ellen, I always get energy when I'm enthusiastic about something. I'm sure if I had to walk from my house anywhere for 2 miles I'd be complaining about it!

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  9. So many wonderful buildings, shops, historical homes and restaurants in such a small area; one could spend a week just enjoying it all without traveling 5 miles! I enjoyed your tour. Ken looks very comfortable in those walkin shoes. It must have been a special experience to walk the very streets you had featured in your story. I would love to examine B.P's watercolor paintings up close. Were they much larger than the illustrations in the books? I seems they were, according to your photographs.

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    1. Yes, Jeri, the watercolors were larger and the color much better than the printed books. Ken's shoes are crocs also. They make some regular looking shoes now. And you're right about how close everything was. We are early risers. If we could have gotten breakfast at 7:00 we could have been out and about much earlier. Why do they wait till 8:30 to serve breakfast in B&Bs and Inns?!

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