Posted in Cumbria, daily walk

A dramatic trip to Keswick

The weather has finally turned more autumnal, with dark clouds sweeping the tops of the mountains and occasional sharp showers. It seemed perfect for a trip to Keswick, so yesterday morning we set off early to beat the crowds and headed north over Dunmail Raise pass and past a shockingly low Thirlmere. We may not officially be in ‘drought conditions’ in this region, but my goodness we’re still short of rain.

We got to Keswick just as some of the cafes were opening so darted into the Honeypot for coffee and a toasted tea-cake between us. Suitably fortified, we then marched through the town and Hope Park to the lake, and along the shore as far as Friar’s Crag. This famous viewpoint was really living up to its name, with stunning views out across the lake to Grisedale Pike, Causey Pike, and Borrowdale.

Keswick has long had a reputation as an arts and crafts town, as far back as the early twentieth century when it housed the Keswick School of Industrial Arts and had its own artistic style. There are still many gorgeous shops and galleries, and we pottered round several of these including Viridian Gallery where we got a few inexpensive goodies. My treat was a couple of life sized wooden cherries to add to my ‘fake fruit’ collection. They’re in bubinga wood, which I’ve discovered from Google is an African hardwood. It’s a lovely rich mid-brown and the cherries look great on my fruit bowl. I just hope no one tries to eat them!

The moody skies were great for photography. The picture above shows Cat Bells and Maiden Moor (don’t you just love some of these mountain names?) looming over Derwent Water, but I took a load more…

Posted in Cumbria, daily walk, scenery

Two go to Friar’s Crag

Saturday brought another sunny but bitterly cold morning. For the first time in ages we drove to Keswick for a walk down to Derwent Water and along the shore path as far as the well-known viewpoint of Friar’s Crag.

The ‘Crag’ is a small rocky promontory overlooking the lake which was acquired by the National Trust in the 1920s and has been a popular destination as a viewpoint ever since. It’s not far from the town – about a fifteen to twenty minute stroll past the Theatre by the Lake and the boat landing strips, and makes a pleasant stroll whatever the weather.

Everything looked absolutely stunning with beautiful views across the lake to mountains still dusted with snow, and spring flowers bursting out everywhere. I’m still a bit short of useable legs so I couldn’t manage my usual mooch round the market and shops, which was annoying as Keswick has particularly good shops! But we’ll save that for when the post-Covid exhaustion has finally disappeared. And in the meantime, there was still plenty to enjoy.

The photo above shows Causey Pike (the one with the knobbly bit on top) across Derwent Water, with higher and snowier fells in the distance.

Posted in Cumbria, Events, Photography

Two get hailed on in Keswick

We’d booked to go on a ‘dark skies’ event in Keswick on Saturday but it was cancelled on the day due to the terrible weather, flooding and state of the roads. We decided to hit the town anyway as it’s a while since we last went and it’s a good place for a mooch round and a walk to the lake, even on an unpleasant winter’s day.

And unpleasant it certainly was! The drive over was exciting to say the least, with rivers overflowing, water cascading out of everything, and Windermere lake overtopping the road at Waterhead. We’ve never driven through a lake before! We arrived reasonably safe at Keswick, got out of the car, and nearly got blown straight back in again. The wind had strengthened to gale force and was bitterly cold, and as we walked round the town the skies began to darken.

We called into Brysons tea room for a cuppa and a slice of local delicacy ‘plum bread’ (no plums, just currants, but it’s lovely) and to thaw out. By the time we came out again it was spitting, but we thought we’d do the short walk to Derwentwater anyway, if only to see how high the water level was. Bad move! Roughly half way there the heavens opened in an almighty, torrential hail shower, so heavy that it was turning the lower slopes of Skiddaw completely white as we watched. The wind was much too strong for an umbrella, and my winter jacket doesn’t have a hood. Dave did his best to shield me but it was clear it wasn’t letting up and that stuff hurts! So we turned round, battled the wind back to the car, and drove (sloshed) home again…

The photo (above) is of Hope Park in Keswick. No, that isn’t a brand new boating lake – that was flood water, deeper than I’d ever seen it there before.

Posted in Cumbria, Nature, Photography

Two go for a misty walk in Borrowdale

At this time of year it’s worth seizing every opportunity for a walk, even if the weather isn’t very promising. Yesterday was misty, bordering on foggy, and cold, with snow still lying on the fells. But the sun broke through the low cloud every now and again and the pavements weren’t icy, so off to Keswick we went.

The drive over was really dramatic, with snow-clad mountains looming at us out of gaps in the fog, and everything in shades of monochrome. Helm Crag and Steel Fell looked particularly awesome, but annoyingly, by the time we found a layby to park up, the mist had shifted and the view had vanished again.

After a fortifying coffee in the Theatre by the Lake’s café, we strolled along the shores of Derwentwater, stopping to take photos of the amazing views. Normally we stop at Friar’s Crag and head back to mooch round the town, but this time we went much further, along a pleasant (if muddy) path which alternates between the waterline, fields, and marshy woods. All the way along the scenery was jaw-dropping, with fells like Grizedale Pike, Causey Pike and Walla Crag overtopping the mist, and the lake a mill-pond painted with reflections.

In the end we got almost as far as Calfclose Bay (I wanted to get a photo of the so-called Hundred Year Stone) but realised our parking ticket was running out, so had to dash back to shove more money in the machine. Then we treated ourselves to a delicious home-made veggie chilli in the café at posh gift shop Treeby & Bolton. Sadly, the store itself was closed, so we couldn’t buy a glass snail. But there’s always next time, and I have these amazing photos to remind me of the day.



Posted in Local stuff, Photography

Two go exploring in Keswick

We had a lovely crisp sunny autumn morning yesterday, so hopped in the car and headed for Keswick nice and early before too many crowds got there.

Keswick is one of our favourite Lakeland towns. A few years back it suffered badly during the Foot & Mouth crisis, and it’s been hit by flooding several times as well. Luckily it’s managed to bounce back, and is now home to a wide range of shops and cafes, many of them on the artisan side. On top of that the scenery is stunning, with a walk down to the shores of Derwentwater, and the Skiddaw fells looming over the rooftops.

We started with a mooch round the Saturday market stalls, then had a quick coffee at the Wild Strawberry (not so much wild as livid, to quote the old Not the Nine O’clock News sketch), and then walked to the lake. Here, instead of going to our usual spot by the landing stages, we turned off over some National Trust land to get a different range of views/photographs. I also managed to snap a few interesting bits and bobs around the town, which will no doubt turn up on my Instagram account in the days to come!

By now it was getting pretty crowded and we were running out of time on the car park ticket, so we grabbed some nice grub from the market and set off through yet more sunshine and scenery for home.

Strange wicker sculptures framing the view across Derwentwater:


Seagulls perched in a line: