Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Day 22: Beatrix Potter and Ullswater

It did indeed snow overnight. While there was no snow in the streets of Keswick, there was a good covering on the Fells.
By 9am the air was really clear and we decided to proceed with our excursion to Beatrix Potter's home and the Beatrix Potter Gallery. We picked Christine and Eddie up from their B&B at 10 and headed off to Hawkshead and the Beatrix Potter Gallery.
Hawkshead is dominated by the church - and lower down, in the lanes and squares, by 'authorised' Beatrix Potter merchandise.

 Inside the Gallery, on the ground floor, was an excellent interactive display that I spent some time viewing. It told the story of Beatrix Potter's life as well as exploring her collections of shells, butterflies, moths and dragonflies.
Upstairs was a display and collection of her paintings, drawings and other objects. I decided not to go up the steep, narrow staircase. 
While we stopped for tea and  coffee it hailed - covering the table outside the window of the teashop.

By the time we had travelled the two and a half miles to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's house at Near Sawrey, the sun was out and the air clear.

The ground, however, remained pretty wet underfoot.

The part of the house open to the public is the section that she used as a studio. She apparently largely lived in the gabled extension  she built for that purpose.

I really liked the part of the house that is open to the public. It is surprisingly uncluttered. It is furnished with really beautiful single pieces of solid wooden furniture. It includes three spinning wheels of different kinds.

This room upstairs contains four enormous painting by her brother, Bertram

 and a few lovely pieces like this vase.
 Her four-poster bed has a pelmet and matching curtains that she embroidered herself.

There are samplers that she seems to have collected, rather than worked.

I did not ask the attendant whether this triptych of ducks embroidered  (as far as I could tell) in silk, were stitched by Beatriz Potter herself.

She was, apparently, an accomplished needle-woman and was working on this needlepoint piece at the time of her death..

There are many revealing quotes throughout the house.

Her doll's house also provides insights into her imagination and creativity.

It was lovely to peek through the windows at life inside.

I had a quick look in the vegetable garden, which surely bore the stamp of Farmer McGregor.

I came away with the sense of a very complex, interesting and sophisticated woman.

While Christine, Eddie and I visited the house, Sue and Alf went for a walk. We had arranged to meet up at the Tower Bank Arms Pub for lunch.

However,  food at the Tower Bank proved to be rationed, and they had no more to serve when we arrived. We therefore waited out a bit more sleet and a flurry of snow before moving on.

We took the car ferry across to Windermere,

through Troutbeck

and on to Kirkstone Pass, where we finally stopped for a very late lunch at the Kirkstone Pass Inn.

This was a welcome stop. We were by now quite hungry, it was starting to snow and the hostelry was warm and friendly.

By the time we came out, it had stopped snowing,  The view down the pass towards Windermere was still grey and misty, but in the other direction, towards Ullswater, was far more promising.

There was still snow on the ground as well as the hills.

It was a truly lovely drive down to and around Ullswater. We were a triffle squished with 5 of us in the car. It was ccomfortable, but not conducive to taking photos. These were taken through the windscreen from the back seat. No amount of editing currently available to me removes the rear-vision mirror!

Back in Keswick we had a brief rest, watched the sunset and met up again in our favourite corner of the Pack Horse for a farewell celebration. I had coffee and ice-cream.


Christine and Eddie head home tomorrow. We have had a wonderful time together - so easy, and a lot of laughs. How lucky and blessed are we to be connected and able to get together.

The forecast for tomorrow is for snow all day. God speed and safe travel to Christine and Eddie. Sue, Alf and I plan on visiting the Keswick Museum.


  1. Hope your back and legs are standing up well to the cold. Thank you for sharing this wonderful trip.

  2. Hope your back and legs are standing up well to the cold. Thank you for sharing this wonderful trip.

  3. GlAd you're enjoying it, Robbyn.back and legs fine thanks - knee replacement has helped and I'm managing sciatica.

  4. Gosh, it is dramatic country, isn't it? But some of those photos look very cold! At least all the pubs and inns look convivial. :D

  5. Yes, it is dramatic - quite amazingly so. It WAS cold, especially on the pass, but for the most part we were inside a car or a building. Tomorrow its forecast to reach 8C - a big improvement on 2C today!