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" A Day Out to the Brockhole Centre "

Date & start time:      13th March 2020. 

Location of Map :     The southern Cumbrian lake of Windermere, Cumbria, Uk.

Places visited :          Local, then Brockhole, Windermere, Low Wood, Thirlmere, Bass Lake Station.

Walk details :              Local outings then our day to Brockhole with a stroll around the grounds.

Highest point :           Packing so much into a nice, relatively sunny day.

With :                            Barbara and Peter (Burgess) John, Ann and our dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     A reasonable spring day at last !

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After a wet February we were hoping for a better March but the weather has not been brilliant.

However the forecast for this Friday was good, a lull between two weather systems,

so after being in touch with friends we headed for South Lakes and to the National Park Visitor Centre at Brockhole.

First, a few local pictures from the last week or so.

Our two dogs on a local walk, with sunshine after rain, when we manage to see a rainbow across the face of Grasmoor.

Wednesday saw a return of snow to our high fells after a night of heavy rain in the valley.

- - - o o o - - -


Wednesday was also the day of the "Lent Lunch"

at the small Buttermere Village Hall (the old School House).

Soup, cheese and bread and plenty of conversations on offer,

as we offer a fund raising donation

in exchange for a simple but very nice lunch.


- - - o o o - - -

Inside the hall is a school photo from 85 years ago.

We believe it includes Tom and Josh Richardson of Gatesgarth and possibly Kath Gibson of Buttermere,

but sadly all are no longer with us.

- - - o o o - - -

Oops !

- - - o o o - - -

This week my eldest daughter also sent me a photo

of local flooding at Pin Mill near Ipswich.

This time the misfortune of the van

was due to a very high spring tide rather than heavy rainfall.


I think the sign writing on the van should be changed to read

" Big on Innovation . . . Low on the Waterline. "


This comparative picture was taken during our 2009 family visit.


- - - o o o - - -

Back to today, when the sun shone as forecasted and we headed out by car to Brockhole on Windermere.

This was the view of Fisher Crag, seen across Thirlmere from the castellated water tower.

The view still natural in its appearance as the "Zip Wire" scheme that would have criss-crossed the lake was rightly abandoned.

We're down at Brockhole, the National Park's Visitor Centre, about two miles north of the town of Windermere.

The old house and grounds are now home to exhibitions, leisure activities, a cafe and restaurant, a steamer jetty

and extensive grounds to walk around.

We have planned to meet friends for lunch but arrive in time to walk around the grounds beforehand.

Here there is a zip wire and a tree top walkway . . . located in a much more suitable environment.

At the lower end of the gardens we reach the lake side . . . two sailing dinghies are enjoying the light breezes on the water.

The floating pontoon reaches out into the lake and provides access to the Windermere Lake Cruise Boats

In the distance we can see snow on the Langdale Pikes.
A money tree  (Boris could do with one of those !)

Visitors over the years have hammered coins into the top of the tree stump, presumably making a wish as they did so.

The Windermere ferry, Miss Cumbria II calls at the jetty as we walk the lake shore path.

There are few passengers on the boat, due to the current lack of overseas visitors we're told.

This is Brockhole's own jetty where you can hire boats in the summer.

Across the adjacent bay are more jetties, with Ecclerigg House set back in the trees.

More activities for Brockhole visitors in the form of a Crazy Golf course.

All tastes are catered for . . . they even have events in the Brockhole Kitchen Garden.

This looks like my garden . . . only bigger, better, tidier, and consequently more productive.

A tray of chard awaits the gardener's magic.

The daffodils are in full bloom on the slopes of the main house.

These are the dwarf variety, more in keeping with the classic Cumbrian varieties of old.

What on earth is this ?

Enter stage right a National Park experimental driving pod . . . a driverless four seater taxi that they are trialing in the grounds of the centre.

It is (apparently) Gps controlled but today had a driver walking behind with a remote, hand-held steering control.

It moved at a slow walking pace and made a high pitched bleeping noise, for safety presumably, otherwise it was creeping silently around.

"Conspiracy Theory" says this is what the new National Park tarmac surface on the Threlkeld Railway track path is all about.

I visited recently, on the last day of tree felling, which has added insult to injury and exposed all the houses to the gaze of future walkers.

If they are planning noisy, bleeping driverless pods on the tarmac track, disturbing even further the peace and quiet of the Greta Valley walk

then they can 'bleep' off.

Ahh . . . the peace and quiet of daffodils once again.
It was approaching lunchtime so we make our way up to the house.

The entrance to the cafe is through the well stocked visitor's shop.

Merchandise to suit all tastes . . . including a present suitable for our grandson's impending third birthday (on a different stand).

The larger garden topiary we viewed from outside is seen again, this time through the windows of the cafe.

On cue our friends arrived . . . Peter and Barbara (Burgess) and friend John from Staveley.

For those who don't know Peter, he started the Online Fellwalking Club and is the originator of the famous Tubular Fells maps.

Leave you camera out and the tables are turned . . . on Ann and myself this time.

We enjoyed a very nice lunch from their interesting menu.

Pity about chicken stock in the seemingly vegetarian Red Pepper Soup . . . why ??  . . . at least they told us before we ordered, so full marks for honesty.

- - - o o o - - -


The other reason we planned this visit was to see the exhibition of photos

by Loweswater photographers John and Rosamund Macfarlane.


"A celebration to mark the 85th birthday of landscape charity

Friends of the Lake District (1934 – 2019).


"Words and photographs reflect echoes of ‘lost’ Lake District scenes.

Landscape-related words from the past sit alongside the ‘new’."



John and Rosamund have taken modern photographs to compare

to old Lakeland scenes reflecting the changes in the 85 year life of

the Friends of the Lake District society.


- - - o o o - - -

After saying goodbye to or friends, Ann and I headed upstairs to view a modest but interesting collection of comparative photos.

Each was accompanied by the thoughts from the Society, related to what they feel is their role in protecting all that is best in The Lakes.

Small but noticeable changes to classic scenes . . .
. . . and changes to Cumbrian farming practices.

Their son, the celebrated author Robert Macfarlane (Mountains of the Mind) had also gathered old Lake district dialect words

which have again been illustrated by John and Rosamund.

A storm crossing the fells was known as a "Moor Gallop".

A "Roosh", which we pronounce as 'rush', means a collapsed wall . . . a term Ann and I still use today.

After an interesting time in the gallery we head back to the car.

By the way, the exhibition is open till the end of June 2020.

A small diversion down to the town of Windermere for a little retail therapy . . .

. . . and where we spotted this beautifully decorated camper van.

Heading home now, with a brief stop at Low Wood as the views were lovely in the sunshine.

This was the view across to the snow covered top of Coniston Old Man and Wetherlam.

Likewise the high fells around the Langdale Valley.

Click here or on the photo above for a larger annotated panorama

Hopefully we have named all the fells correctly.

Also on the way north we stopped briefly to watch the Miss Cumbria II arriving at Waterhead Pier.

- - - o o o - - -

Heading up and over Dunmail Rise, this was Helm Crag as seen from near the Swan Hotel.

The top most rock structure seen from this angle is known as the 'Lion and the Lamb'.

To celebrate the re-opening of the back road around Thirlmere we turned left at Wythburn.

This is the Binka Stone, a very prominent rock outcrop scoured clean by the glaciers of old.

The signpost marks the start of a long and ancient fell path, via Blea Tarn, over to Watendlath.

Looking north along the length of Thirlmere to Lonscale Fell, Great Calva and the slopes of Blencathra on the right.

They rise above the sunny fell side of High Rigg at the far end of the lake.

 Dalehead Hall Hotel, once home to the Leathes Family who I believe gave their name to one of the original Wythburn lakes, Leathes Water.

The lakes were subsequently dammed and the water level rose to become what is now the present day Thirlmere.

A short walk to stretch the legs and exercise the dogs off-lead

which brought us views of the snow covered Raise Fell and the Helvellyn Ridge beyond Browncove Crags.

- - - o o o - - -


You think it looks nice and inviting up there ?

Lovely snow, easy walking, perhaps even a gentle breeze ?


Think again . . .

This was the National Park 'photo of the day' on 13th March

showing Raise Fell summit as a very different place.

Not somewhere to be without full winter-walking gear !


- - - o o o - - -

The back road around the lake gave us views of the ongoing pipeline work for the new West Cumbria Water Project.

One last diversion before home . . . to the Bassenthwaite Lake Station, Dubwath, at the head of Bassenthwaite Lake.

With the owner's permission I went into the proposed station car park to take a "latest photo".

The station roof is starting to be re-built and the Station Master's House is soon to be habitable once more.

That's Simon's shadow next to mine in the photo.  More pictures on the link at the foot of this page.

He took me round to see the train waiting at the platform.

It needs a short section of rail and then it can be moved forward fifteen feet or so to where we are currently standing.

That will line up the restaurant car with the station cafe entrance to make things easier when they open, hopefully before the end of the year.

Please don't hold them to that date . . . watch this space for future news.

What is also new this week is a rather nice set of crossing gates.
Time to head off . . . via the old road to Wythop Mill and home.

The finger post is the one opposite the Pheasant Inn

One more of life coincidences is that the new folk who have of the Pheasant are friends of John and Lisa McCreton

who just happen to own our retriever Dylan's litter mate and brother, Mac.  It's a small world.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . longer Spring days so as to fit everything in.

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Previous walk - 6th March 2020 - Anglers Crag and a Gather

A previous time here - 11th January 2020 - The train Now Standing . . .

Next event - 20th March 2020 - Self-Isolation for Loweswatercam