"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 22 October 2010

Hill Top, High Dam, Grasmere and Brathay (in the rain!)

Day 2 - Monday, 18th October

We woke up to rain and, although there were a few dry sunny intervals, the weather for most of the day consisted of light rain.

My daughter wanted to revisit (for the umpteenth time!) Hill Top which is located in the village of Near Sawrey only about half a mile from the hotel. I am a big fan of the Beatrix Potter books and her exquisite drawings too. My daughter is 20 now but its a magical place to take young children especially if they enjoy the stories. Beatrix Potter purchased Hill Top farm in November 1905 and several of her childrens' stories such as The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher, The Tale of Tom Kitten, The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck and the Tale of Samuel Whiskers etc., were set here at Hill Top or in the surrounding countryside.

Hill Top

The gardens/grounds at Hill Top

Although we arrived just after the house opened at 10.30, Hill Top was already packed with people so we didn't linger long. No photos from inside the house - I was told that photography was definitely NOT allowed!

Buckle Yeat

The Tower Bank Arms also features in at least one of her stories. We have had evening meals here in the past and the food is very good and the lemon meringue roulade absolutely delicious.

Cottages in the village

It was still drizzling as we left the village and we decided to drive a bit further south where the weather looked a bit brighter to one of my favourite places - High Dam near Finsthwaite. This is a very pretty tarn at 574 feet elevation which used to provide water power for bobbin making at Stott Park Bobbin Mill close by. I think its prettier than Tarn Hows and certainly there are far fewer people. You can walk through the woods and around the tarn and see hardly a soul.

Leaving the car park there is a steep ascent through woodland to High Dam. The woods are beautiful and very "Tolkien Lord of the Rings-ish".

Just after we reached the tarn the rain set in again! So sorry there are just a few photos I took as we reached the top and none from further round the tarn.

Photos of Low Dam located just below High Dam - the rain had stopped for a while!

A map of the tarn and surrounding area set on top of a giant bobbin

It looked as though it was going to rain for the rest of the day so we decided to drive to Grasmere and stock up on Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread from the Gingerbread Shop. We saw plenty of red-legged partridge and pheasants as we drove through the lanes.

The rain had eased off a little when we arrived at Grasmere so we went a short walk along the River Rothay and spent several minutes watching a dipper (my first sighting this year) and daughter was lucky enough to see a kingfisher although the rest of us missed it.

Views around Grasmere

Shame about the bus stop!

We had a quick look around an art gallery which stocks paintings (prints not originals!!) by Keith Melling who does some beautiful paintings of the lake district and Pendle area. Resisted the temptation to buy one this time. My husband, son and daughter went off to look for a delicatessen that we have visited before and stocks some great cheeses whilst I went of to look at St Oswald's Church.

St Oswald's Church (it had started to rain again!)

William Wordsworth is buried in the churchyard in a plot of his own choosing. He is buried with his wife Mary and nearby are the graves of his sister Dorothy and his children Dora, Thomas and Catharine together with the poet Hartley Coleridge.

Parts of the church date back to the thirteenth century.

This is a processional cross by Geoffrey Hopper which shows the hand of St Oswald lifting Christ's cross.

A stained glass window (sorry Pete still can't get the hang of taking these windows without the use of flash :D)

A statue of Madonna and Child by Ophelia Gordon Bell who married the artist William Heaton Cooper in this church

Wordsworth Memorial by Woolner

The font had a very unusual cover

The tangle of oak beams in the roof is due to 2 roofs being joined together in 1562.

Wordsworth in Book V of "The Excursion" writes of

"... the roof upheld
By naked rafters intricately crossed,
Like leafless underboughs in some thick wood,
All withered in the depth of shade above".

William Wordsworth who lived in Grasmere between 1799 and 1813 at Dove Cottage, Allan Bank and The Rectory called Grasmere "the fairest place on Earth" and who could fail to agree with him.

The rain finally stopped and we decided to stop off at Brathay for a short walk. If you walk along the lane past Brathay Bridge up to Skelwith Fold and turn right there are some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. Sadly, within 5 minutes it poured down again so here are just a few photos of the River Brathay.

Had another nice meal at the Hotel this evening (I am struggling to get through 3 courses - however did I manage 6 in the old days?!) and then played darts in the Claife Crier Bar. We heard a tawny owl hooting somewhere near the hotel tonight.

I am not quite sure what has happened to Blogger but this posting has been set out in a most peculiar fashion - certainly different to the way I typed it!! Not sure if anyone else is having problems but hopefully you can still follow it!

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