Rachel's 60th Birthday Bash in the Lake District
Skelwith Bridge, UK
September 25th 2021
Welcome to only my second blog of the year. Hopefully 2022 will generate a few more outings from home with camera in tow.
Anyhow the baby of the family, my wee sister Rachel was hitting the Big Six - 0, so a family gathering was in order. Due to the foreign travel situation Rachel's preferred villa and pool option somewhere near the Med was fraught with risk! Sadly, the NZ and Japan-based members of the family would also be missing. However Brian arranged a rental in the Lake District near Skelwith Bridge not far from Ambleside and seven of us were able to be present.
I arrived on Monday 13th September and we had a walk near Rydal Water and then headed for the village of Grasmere. William Wordsworth's grave was visited and copious amounts of the delicious local ginger bread were purchased. Wordsworth apparently described Grassmere as "the loveliest spot that man hath ever found." The whole area is certainly very picturesque.
Tuesday 14th was the day of the big birthday. Presents were duly opened and we had a Zoom with family in Auckland, Wellington and Tokyo followed by walking around Elterwater and Little Langdale. Caroline arrived in the late afternoon so more presents were opened before we left for dinner in Windermere at Lindeth Howe. On returning to the house we had a further Zoom with big brother Donald and Anna in New Zealand. There are plenty photos to give you a flavour of the day.
On Wednesday we had a Scottish breakfast/brunch and then headed to Lake Windermere where a boat trip had been booked by Brian. We had a short sail over the Lake to Wray Castle which was built in Victorian times in a gothic style of a medieval castle. Its' quite an imposing structure on the outside although the interior needs developing as a tourist venture. The views over Lake Windermere from the castle were well worth catching with the camera. We got back on the next boat and were taken over to the opposite shore where we visited Brockhole. This centre has a lovely visitor facility with gardens as well as a myriad of activities on and off the water. After a nice afternoon tea looking over the gardens a game of crazy golf was the most energetic activity the majority of us could work ourselves up to. However, whilst waiting for the boat back Cazz and Tim had a wee swim in the Lake. Looked chilly!!!
On Thursday the group split into two. The girls went out for an afternoon tea treat whilst the boys headed into the hills. Listed in the top ten walks in the Lake District by the National Trust we tackled the route from Ambleside to Troutbeck via Wansfell Pike. The initial walk out of the town offers a wee detour to Stock Gyll Force, a waterfall which is worth seeing. Then there is a steep ascent up to Wansfell Pike. I think that physically this was the most challenging hour of the week! However we scored with the weather and the views at the top and on the subsequent descent back to Ambleside are well worth checking out on the photo album. We stopped at Troutbeck post office for a welcome ice cream and lemonade on the way back down. In the evening we ate out at Dodd's Restaurant in Ambleside which is an Italian bistro. Highly recommended.
On the final full day I took a trip with Rachel and Brian to Coniston Water where were took a stroll around fields which seemed to be populated by mainly black sheep and finished up with an ice cream along the front. In the evening we had dinner at the nearby Skelwith Bridge Hotel. Fab food. I can recommend the wild boar burger!
Overall this was a long overdue family get together. We missed our overseas family and hope to be reunited with them sooner rather than later. Congratulations to Rachel on her milestone birthday and thanks to Brian for all his organising which made the event so enjoyable. A great success!
I think a visit back to this lovely area of England's green and pleasant land will be in my retirement plans.
The photos will tell the rest of the story.
All the Best