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moolyn May 25th, 2006 09:10 PM

Moolyn Walks Around the English Lake District: Photos of Spectacular Scenery and a Few Sheep
Almost every other year we visit the English Lake District in June, staying in the village of Elterwater, located near Ambleside and Grasmere. Thanks to Travelnut and Nikki who advised me on posting digital photos, here are some pictures of this amazingly beautiful area plus a belated trip report:

Elterwater is roughly equidistant from Manchester and Glasgow. We find it best to fly to Glasgow and head south if we’re arriving on a Saturday because everyone in England seems to drive north on the weekend whereas the Scots sensibly stay put. Besides, my cousin Alasdair lives in Dunoon near Glasgow and this is a good chance to see him and his family.

Our main lake district activity is walking. Walking in England is more hiking than strolling. We tend to choose routes without too much climbing, preferring distance to altitude. Although I invested in real hiking boots one year, I find that good solid walking shoes, or trainers in British, are perfectly adequate for our level of walking. Over the years we’ve learned to go right out in the morning to walk as long as it isn’t actually pouring. We take rain capes just in case but rarely need them. On rainy days we take our umbrellas and go to town. There’s always a market somewhere or interesting shops or houses or museums to wander through.

Last June, cousin Alastair picked us up at the Glasgow airport and drove us to his daughters’ modern flat near the Merchant city. He’s renovating another flat in an older building nearby so each girl will have her own place. Anna, the elder one has graduated from engineering and Eilidh, the younger one, is an architectural student. She drew up the plans for the renovation.

We walked around Glasgow Green for a while and visited a museum of everyday life in the People’s Palace before I crashed and needed a nap. Afterwards, we walked into the city, had lunch and spent time at the modern art museum. That evening we all had dinner together at Café Gandolfi in the Merchant City.

The next morning, pretty much by then recovered from our jet lag, we picked up our rental car and drove to Elterwater Hall, stopping at Booth's in Keswick for groceries en route. After unpacking we joined the other couples, all Brits, who share our week but in their own flats of course, catching up on each others news. One couple is from Surrey while the other two are from Penrith, further north in the lake district. All are avid walkers.

That first night we ate with the Surrey couple at our local, the Britannia Inn, which always appears on lists of best British pubs. It would probably be a great place to stay as well as to eat.

Sunday was overcast but we headed out anyway, choosing one of the easier circular walks to break us in: from Elterwater Hall to Chapel Style then back through the main Langdale Leisure complex returning to Elterwater Hall before it started to rain.

Scarlett May 25th, 2006 10:26 PM

Thank you SO much for sharing these photographs!
I really wish I could be there right now! :)
I will patiently wait to read more~

SeaUrchin May 25th, 2006 10:46 PM

Such lovely scenery! And you take such outstandingly beautiful photos! Are you Marilyn?

Carrybean May 25th, 2006 10:54 PM

Nice pics of Glasgow. Cousin Alistair is looking a little "fragile."

moolyn May 26th, 2006 05:03 AM

Scarlett and Sea Urchin, Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I am the Marilyn in the photos.

Carrybean, both my husband and cousin were a bit "fragile" that morning due to sampling a few too many single malts. DH claimed jetlag, of course.

I posted the photos in several albums to divide the walks but they all flow into one another so you might not notice the changeover. You can check the location by noting the album title from time to time.

England has such an extensive network of public footpaths all over the country that it’s a walker’s paradise. There are several walks that we take every year, sometimes walking them in reverse as scenery looks completely different when you face in the opposite direction. Because the paths are rough and sheep and cattle use them too you have to watch carefully where to put your feet. I need to keep reminding myself to stop and look around and enjoy the view. Carrying a camera helps me to pause. We usually go out walking after an early breakfast, returning in time for lunch. ( Hint: carry water with you and don’t drink tea with breakfast unless you know that there are toilets at least every two hours along the route! ) In the afternoon we usually go for a scenic drive.

I‘ve come up with a brilliant :D idea on these walks as a result of thinking how much I’d like to take them all year around. It involves filming the walk and hooking the camera up to a TV screen and a treadmill so you can visualize yourself back in the lake district or anywhere else in the world there are scenic walks to film. The treadmill would have to incline according to the grade and the film would have to speed up or slow down as the walker does. It should also present a panorama every time the walker pauses.

Guy18 May 26th, 2006 07:31 AM

Moolyn, Thank you so much for these unbelievable photos. I leave for the Lakes, Yorkshire, and the Peaks district very soon so you've completely whetted my appetite.

I'll unfortunately have just one day in the Lakes. Can you tell me the logistics for finding your Chapel Style walk? How long is it? I would love to fit it in. Thanks again, moolyn.

moolyn May 26th, 2006 08:34 AM

Guy 18, I'm so glad you noticed my photos because you were one of the main reasons I decided to belatedly share. I posted my album of our Rydal Water Walk on your thread last week but it wouldn't open for you. I just learned the correct way to post photos online yesterday.

All tourist information offices in the lake district have pamphlets and books of local walks and will give you whatever directions you need to get to the starting point.

For the Chapel Style Walk you simply need to get to Elterwater with a map of the route. There's parking there but Sheila told me she drove to Elterwater one time and left without stopping because she couldn't find a place to park.

I'd recommend the Rydal Water Walk for you instead as you want to go to Rydal Mount anyway. Besides, it's much more spectacular as you climb higher and it's closer to Ambleside where you're staying. It's the walk we almost always choose to take visiting friends on. Or there's also the short, steep 2k one from the middle of Ambleside to Stock Gyll.

I'll try to report as far as the Rydal Water Walk for you this weekend.

Tries2PakLite May 26th, 2006 09:20 AM

What beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing them. They make me want to pack up and leave tomorrow -- after acquiring a good pair of hiking boots/shoes.

moolyn May 28th, 2006 08:06 AM

Little Langdale and Colwith Force

This is one of our favourite walks. Starting out like the previous one on the road behind Elterwater Hall you procede relentlessly uphill past Howe Banks, not veering northward towards Great Langdale like the previous one. Once you reach the top of the hill you descend into pictureque Little Langdale through farm fields and a farm yard. Crossing the main road, a single track in this case, you head towards lovely little Slater Bridge, using a couple of stiles on the way. At Stang End Farm we encountered some other walkers who informed us that the barn we’ve passed many times was formerly a spinning gallery where industrious Little Langdale women once gathered to spin wool from fleece from local sheep. This is the halfway point of the walk.

From there we walk through woodlands to Colwith Force. A force is a waterfall. We observed many toppled trees and fallen branches on our route, the results of a windstorm the previous winter. Continuing past more farms and even a B&B we reached Skelwith Bridge. Once there was a cozy tearoom there with an adjoining shop that featured articles made from the appealing silver green slate form the adjacent Kirkstone Quarry. Now there is a fancy restaurant and an upscale store but there are still accessible toilets so we always stop. The path continues past the quarry workshop and I dream of having counters and floors made from Kirkstone slate. Not Possible: it’s much too heavy to carry and would be far too expensive to ship. So I’ve settled for slate coasters instead.

Our route takes us paste another waterfalls, Skelwith Force. This one is near the road and close to parking and an easy footpath so there’s always other people there, unlike secluded Colwith Force. Continuing on our way we walk through a woodland scented with wild garlic or onion before reaching Eltermere and then Elterwater village. Because the day was so nice and sunny I took a few more pictures of village houses built out of local slate. Usually one or more of the walls is whitewashed. I love the way housing construction materials vary from region to region in Britain, depending on whatever is readily available locally.

Rydal Water Walk

Having collected our British friend, Joyce, at Windermere Railway Station the day before, we chose a walk that would give us a chance to stretch our legs but let her take it easy. Accordingly, we drove Joyce to Rydal Mount to tour the house and read in the garden until our return. Althought there is parking for visitors to Wordsworth’s former home, we parked instead on the road just below Rydal Mount, beside Rydal Church. The church supplements its maintenance fund by asking for donations for parking on an honour system. Usually we park at White Moss Car Park, a little farther along the road towards Grasmere but that involves a steep climb up a dry stream bed right at the beginning. The climb seems much easier part way through the walk after we are well warmed up.

We’ve walked this route many times but prefer doing it in a clockwise direction. From Rydal Mount and Church we walked downhill, along the main road just a short distance towards Grasmere then crossed the main road and proceeded across a little bridge and along the south shore of Rydal Water. About halfway along the lake, at about the point parallel toLittle and Great or Heron Islands, we took the high road, up to the caves resulting from earlier mining. The view is spectacular from this height in all directions. Continuing along onto Loughrigg Terrace we were able to enjoy a superb view of Grasmere. There are several routes descending to the footbridge at the end of Rydal Water. We took the most direct one but there are easier, more gradual ones as well.

Over the footbridge we walked through a wooded area then across a field. Be sure to look carefully in the grass through this area if you’re here in May or June. When cousin Aladair and his wife accompanied us on this route they pointed out hundreds of tiny, native orchids that we’d never noticed before. After crossing back over the main road at the White Moss Car Park, we climbed up the steep, stony slope to find a lane that that turned into a track then a path that led us through several wickets. We walked eastward alongside the hill through the woods towards Rydal Mount. Many trees and branches were down as the result of a windstorm the previous winter. In rainy Britain there is no need for tree roots to dig deep so windstorms can be pretty devastating.

After finding Joyce at Rydal Mount, we crossed the road to explore the grounds of Rydal Hall and then have tea at the adjacent tea room while viewing the falls.

ilovetotravel29 May 28th, 2006 08:10 AM

Beautiful posting!!!

cigalechanta May 28th, 2006 08:34 AM

Great photos. I love sheep(and goats)
One of my travel thrills was going to the sheep dog trials. You had good weather. I wish I had taken photos, yours are so clear.

SandyBrit May 28th, 2006 09:24 AM

LOL at your hint to not drink tea at breakfast unless you know there are toilets at least every two hours along the route.

Glad you decided to post and enjoyed your excellent pictures. Thank you.


Guy18 May 29th, 2006 02:36 AM

Thanks, Moolyn, for the recent post with all of the directions. I've printed them out, and I will make good use of them.

I leave straight for another trip to the Georgia mountains after I return from the UK (I's a rough life:) ), but will provide a detailed trip report sometime in July. Look for it!

moolyn May 29th, 2006 08:52 AM

2Pak: You don't have to take special hiking boots for this level of walks. Regular athletic walking shoes are fine and will HelpU2PakLiter.

Thanks, ilovetotravel29!

Chigalechanta, I'll write more about sheep in my next post.

Sandy, It's probably best to drink no tea at all before going for a walk, especially it you're lol a lot.

Guy 18, Have a wonderful trip! I look forward to reading your report.

We checked out White Moss House on the way back to Elterwater after the Rydal Water Walk. Although we didn’t end up eating there this time, it looks like a lovely place to eat and/or sleep:


This morning was quite overcast so we decided to take the Chapel Style walk again but in reverse for a change. Then we headed to Kendal, stopping for lunch at a place we had often noticed from the main road, the Barn Shop and Tea Room at Low Sizergh Farm. If you time it right (or wrong), you can watch cows being milked as you eat in the loft overlooking the barn.

Fortunately there is now a Kendal bypass because the main highway formerly went right through town and it took forever to drive from one end to the other. Even now it's tricky to get in and out because of the one way street system. But we managed to find the Museum of Lakeland Life in the centre of town. We learned that lakeland life centered around the raising of sheep and the processing of wool for many generations.

One room in the museum is devoted to Arthur Ransome who wrote the Swallows and Amazon books about a group of children who sailed around the lakes with very little adult supervision and had lots of adventures. It was this series that originally stimulated my interest in visiting the lake district. I must have been about 10 or 12 when I read them.

Loughrigg Tarn and Skelwith Bridge

Again this walk started right from our doorstep. Instead of going uphill, however, we followed the road into the village then turned towards Skelwith Bridge. Before reaching Skelwith Force, we crossed the main road and climbed uphill, over a stile, and widely circled Loughrigg Tarn. Tarns are the ponds found at the top of mountains, in the lake district at least. The tarn is on the other side of Loughrigg than the terrace we walked along on the Rydal Water Walk. After circling the tarn and passing a campground we stopped off again at Skelwith Bridge. This time I remembered to take photos of the restaurant/shop complex and Skelwith Force as well as several different views of Eltermere, including swans.

moolyn May 30th, 2006 03:08 AM

In case anyone is still reading this thread I'll post our final walks.

Elterwater Rug Maker

When we first started coming to Elterwater there was a small shop in the village selling equipment and supplies for weavers, spinners and knitters, the northern branch of Fibrecrafts of Surrey. I used to fondle the fleece and yarn and admire the equipment. Sadly, when I returned the year after I finally was inspired to take a weaving class at the Ontario College of Art, I found the shop had closed as the owners had retired!

In recent years the shop has been taken over by a local rug maker, Jane Exley, owner of the Woolly Sheep Rug Company. Jane graciously welcomed us to her studio/shop and demonstrated how she uses an electrical gun type contraption to tuft her rugs. Jane exclusively uses wool from local Herdwick sheep for all her rugs. Herdwick lambs are born with dark fleece that lightens as they get older. Fleece taken from Herdwick lambs and sheep give Jane dark and light brownish greys to start with but she also has some yarn commercially dyed in colours of her choice. We talked about how it was Beatrice Potter herself who championed this hardy breed and established its home in the lake district. You can read more about the Herdwick breed on Jane’s website:

Most of the inspiration for the patterns of Jane’s rugs comes from nature. I especially liked her series of small pebble rugs that took their patterns from eroded slate pebbles with quartz bands that Jane picked up in her walks. From then on I had another reason to keep my eyes on the path as we walked around, pebble collecting. I came home with some beauties.

Walk Around Buttermere

We drove to Buttermere via Borrowdale past Derwentwater. This is the area depicted in the novels of Melvyn Bragg (Maid of Buttermere) and Sir Henry Walpole (Judith Paris).

It’s a very easy walk. In fact, you often encounter baby strollers and even wheelchairs on the paved sections near the north end of Buttermere. But the scenery makes it well worthwhile and the terrain is more challenging around the south end of Buttermere. We walked in a clockwise direction. The first part of the path crossed a pebbled beach and it took forever for me to make it across because I had to search through all the pebbles for ones with quartz banding! There were lots with stripes but rings were very rare.

Memorial benches are found everywhere in the lake district and are a very useful way to remember loved ones I always feel. Just after rounding the south end of the lake we came across an especially lovely one made from slate, in memory of a very young man who must have loved walking in this area. Soon after this, we passed a group of workmen and volunteers who were repairing the paths.


A few years ago, during the foot and mouth crisis, walking was severely restricted in the lake district as well as all over England. We had to be very creative to find places to walk other than roadways. That was when we first discovered the path along the canal in Ulverston, the shortest, deepest, straightest canal in Britain. It seemed like the perfect place to take our friends John and Mary who didn’t want anything too strenuous.

Ships once used the canal to take their loads into the heart of Ulverston from Morecombe Bay but now the bay is silted up and ships can no longer get to it. There is a large pharmaceutical plant along one bank but open country on the other side, however, and it is quite a pleasant stroll. I especially like the not quite memorial benches with red squirrels on the sides that have been donated by various local groups. We ate an excellent lunch at the Bay Horse pub at the canal foot before driving into Ulverston to poke around town.

We returned to Elterwater via Hardknot Pass, described in the Good Guide to the Lakes as the lake district’s most exciting road because of its steep grades, sharp bends and sheer drop on one side. Much better to drive through here during the week in June than on a summer weekend!


Brantwood, on Lake Coniston, is the former home of John Ruskin and our flat in Elterwater Hall is called Ruskin so it was inevitable that we should finally visit there. Both the house and grounds are open and we lingered inside until the rain had passed before walking through the garden built along the side of a hill. There were panoramic views of the lake from both house and garden. High on the hillabove Brantwood is a stone throne known as Ruskin’s Seat. Back in our flat we have a window seat that is everyone favourite place to read. We call it Ruskin’s Seat too.

That evening we ate dinner again at the Britannia Inn but in the restaurant rather than the pub this time. It’s the same menu and same kitchen but if you book ahead and are prepared to eat at least two courses you can dine in posher surroundings.

Nikki May 30th, 2006 05:47 AM

I'm glad you got the kodak link to work. I really enjoyed seeing your pictures.

sheila May 30th, 2006 01:09 PM

Actually it was Windermere we spent a day trying to get parked in the rain, in.

Nice photos of Glasgow. It looks just as I recall- wet and overcast:)

ilovetotravel29 May 30th, 2006 01:31 PM

Your fotos are breathtaking! And the sheep are just too, too adorable!

moolyn May 31st, 2006 02:32 AM

Sheila, You started me working on this when you assured me that people would be interested.

Nikki, Without your advice about Kodak photo sharing I could never have posted.

ilovetotravel29, Thanks again!

Tries2PakLite May 31st, 2006 10:02 AM

Moolyn -- lol, and thanks for the good advice. Anything that can make my suitcase lighter is a very good thing!

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