For the third year now we have had a few days away in the Lake District. This is in the county of Cumbria, north west England. We decided to set off a day earlier than planned to take advantage of some decent weather. Turned out to be a good move as mid week it was murky and damp but brightened up on the last day. It would have been nice to have had more sun as we have yet to see the mountain views without a covering of cloud!
The first day we stayed in south east Cumbria and took a short hike up to Hutton Roof Crags. This is a fascinating geological area known as a limestone pavement. Here the rocks are 300 metres thick and 350 million years old. Over the years people have been removing these rocks for building, mill stones or garden features and only about 8sq miles (20sq km) remain in the UK. Now the pavements are fully protected by law. Many rare and interesting plants grow in the cracks and I saw several different butterflies and my first Chimney Sweeper moth (Odezia atrata).
Day two was a search for butterflies and dragonflies. Started at Arnside Knott the 500ft limestone hill in south Cumbria. This year the butterfly activity was quite low and slightly disappointing. We then went over the Kent Estuary to Foulshaw Moss, a raised peat bog, for dragons but the cloud was building and not much was seen except the distant nesting Ospreys.
Tuesday and our daughter the ‘Lemming’ joined us from Manchester by train for the day. She has now finished uni and will shortly be going to live in Berlin. So we had a bit of a ride around in the damp. Started at Bowness on the eastern shore of Windermere. This is the largest lake in England, 11.23 miles (18km) long, 0.93 miles (1.49km) wide and at it’s deepest 219ft (66.7m).
Decided against a boat trip and instead visited the ‘World of Beatrix Potter’ attraction. I used to love reading the stories to my daughter and the models and sets here were superb. Those of you not familiar with Beatrix Potter must really check out her work.
Wednesday and we drove the narrow, windy road up the west side of Coniston Water. High above the village of Coniston at the northern end, on a narrower and windier road, is the popular beauty spot of Tarn Hows. A tarn is a small mountain lake. Tarn Hows used to be three smaller lakes but was dammed to create one large one. This was done in the 1800’s by the rich landowner. Now it is looked after by the National Trust and is a lovely walk of about two miles around. Sadly the views were lost in the cloud.
Last day and Tina wanted to see Levens Hall and gardens where her friend works. Not the usual stately pile, it had some very interesting displays. The gardens were outstanding with ancient topiary and a beautiful selection of plants.
As the sun broke through I managed one last butterfly trip to nearby Latterbarrow which despite being a riot of wild flowers was pretty short on butterflies.