Another year gone, and a round up of what happened in Grasmere Village in 2016. It was a year many won’t forget in a hurry. We might be a small village but there is always something going on. Especially this year, Prince and Prime Minister, Cyclists and Wrestlers it was all happening this year.
After the stress and strain of Storm Desmond it was lovely to discover that a sunny photograph of National Trust Property Allan Bank graced the front of the 2016 Handbook. A great advert for the village.
Unfortunately things were very quiet in the village. The main A591 closed between Grasmere and Keswick and the village literally a cul-de-sac. Various initiatives like free parking were offered but it really was deserted as you wandered round.
We had a visit from the then Prime Minister David Cameron spotted in the school playground.
Snow on the tops in February and then on lower ground too.
Valentine’s Day visit to the Dove Cottage restaurant was a surprise with a cherry “heart” when I cut my cake. Very appropriate and tasty too!.
Meanwhile the environment agency were dredging the River Rothay, taking care to not disturb the crayfish, and these canoeists were quick to take advantage of a new launching area into the river. Storm Desmond was still having it’s effect.
After a dismal Winter signs of Spring were appearing with snowdrops and Daffodils at Wordsworth’s Grave.
The rubble that was piling up on the Sports Field after all the dredging was a perfect viewpoint for this cheeky Herdwick.
Elsewhere in Grasmere and throughout the central Lakes Herdwick sheep of a different kind were appearing as part of the Calvert Trust Go Herdwick fund raising initiative.
Temporary bridges were built on the A591 and a little mini bus started running between Grasmere and Keswick, my goodness it was popular! It ran along the far side of Thirlmere and became quite a tourist attraction in itself.
We had another famous visitor. Prince Charles visited with a trip to the Gingerbread Shop, Wordsworth’s Grave and St Oswald’s Church.
It certainly made the village busier.
April and things were looking up in the village both visitor and weather wise.
An exciting initiative in May brought coloured lights to the mere. Nocturnal Rainbows as part of Lakes Ignite Art installation.
As the tourist season started properly it was still a case of getting the message out everywhere that Grasmere was open for business.
Grasmere does look great in May, blossom and bluebells.
Bannerigg Woods were a sea of blue.
And then at last! Dunmail Raise was open and Grasmere was connected with the North again. Hello Keswick we missed you.
Diessen Brass Band (twinned with Windermere) performed at NT Allan Bank and the music echoed through the valley.
Grasmere celebrated The Queen’s 90th Birthday.
The village looked lovely with flags flying everywhere.
Grasmere Glee celebrated in the Village Hall.
Kendal Mountain Festival kindly brought outdoor cinema to Grasmere and Glenridding to support the flooded villages. The weather was kind and a great time was had by young and old alike.
July in Grasmere means Rushbearing. A rather wet one this year and the Rushbearing Maidens had a rather soggy walk round the village but kept smiling.
But it wasn’t all rain in July, the sun shone too.
August Bank Holiday and the 166th Grasmere Sports and Show. After a night of rain morning broke fair and a good turnout of visitors and locals alike enjoyed the Sports and entertainment on the Sports field.
Competitors travelled from all over the world to compete.
Fire eating was a popular spectator event.
Cycling came to Grasmere in September when the Tour of Britain sped through the village.
The village was decorated with painted yellow bikes.
Halloween in Grasmere meant an abundance of Pumpkins throughout the village.
Unfortunately Halloween weekend itself was a bit of a washout and the pumpkins on the village green looked a bit bedraggled.
Liked these pumpkins outside the Gingerbread shop.
Nights drawing in and streets empty by 5pm as the clocks change. Locals practice a form of reverse hibernation and suddenly you bump into friends in the street who have had heads down all Summer working hard to make our visitors to Grasmere enjoy their stay.
I was very, very lucky to win a holiday to South Africa for most of November so from 24 degrees to -4 degrees, however what a sight as we arrived back.
What a great welcome home!
December in Grasmere, what a joy.
You never know who will be about, Taffy Thomas former Storyteller Laureate was having a wander round the village with some student teachers.
The shops have a huge array of individual gifts you can’t find in the larger towns.
A wander up the hill to National Trust Allan Bank and the sound of bells were ringing out as the Beetham Bellringers played. Very festive.
Just time to put the Christmas tree complete with Herdy bobbles up and that’s nearly it for another Grasmere year. Grasmere Players Pantomime still to see, always a great family occasion.
Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and Health and Happiness for the coming year.
A family gathering and a staycation in Grasmere. It’s not often you book in to a Hotel which is just a few steps from your own front door. With people arriving from Scotland, Manchester and London, it was suggested we all book in to a Hotel so no one had to cook or organise anything. It was brilliant! The weather was extremely kind and the Bridge House Hotel couldn’t have been more perfect. Ample parking in the centre of the village, lovely grounds to sit in, and the food… well the food was just amazing. As we had young children visiting the option of a smaller portion of a main meal or a kid’s meal was ideal.
As we were being fed so well, a bit of exercise was needed. With ages ranging from three to eighty three a walk round the lake seemed like the best plan. Having procured bread from the hotel kitchen to feed the ducks, off we set….. and didn’t get far. As we had a few tea lovers with us, we had to stop at Faeryland tea gardens on the waters edge. They have the most amazing range of teas, and everyone enjoyed the selection. There was a brief debate about whether to go out in a rowing boat but we decided to stick to the original plan.
Although the start of the walk is on Red Bank road, it is not long till you come to a house with a red postbox in the wall and just beyond, the path to the lake shore. The sun was blazing down (not often I get to write this) and everyone was desperate to reach the water and have a paddle.
Another young member of the family suddenly spotted Allan Bank the National Trust property in the distance, and had to be bribed with a visit the next day to keep him walking! Loads of fun for everyone and he had remembered a previous visit.
Another distraction was just along the path. Children love this tree.
It was fantastic to see everyone enjoying the sunshine. The beach at the end of the lake was packed with people.
There really is nowhere better than Grasmere when the weather is kind. People were starting to flag a bit, so we decided to come back through Penny Rock woods and walk along the pavement at the side of the lake.
The thought of a drink on the terrace at the Daffodil Hotel kept everyone going. While the older members of the family enjoyed the views and refreshment, the younger ones were still full of energy and found an old boat in the grounds to play on.
“Did you enjoy your walk” I asked ? I think the answer was clear!
Definitely a Glorious day in Grasmere, and a perfect walk for all ages. Even better no meals to make that evening. Who says holidaying in your own village can’t be fun.
A few weeks ago we had a little taste of what Summer should be like in Grasmere.
A certain family member had been wanting to go out on a rowing boat on Grasmere for ages and I had kept saying it was too cold.
Trust me to land myself without an excuse when I woke to the most beautiful sunny morning and went into the kitchen announcing “isn’t it warm today”. That was it, rowing boat day had arrived!
To be honest I had a reason to go out on the lake myself, but once it was agreed that I was taking photos and not rowing I really started enjoying myself.
It was a stunning day weather wise and still early so not many folk about.
We headed out to the Island in the centre of the mere. This got me thinking as we got nearer and nearer, how much it had got overgrown. I can’t remember the last time I saw the farmer taking sheep across to graze on a rowing boat. It used to be a regular occurrence. It was also common for flocks of sheep to be brought down Stock Lane in the centre of the village. Quite often the cry of “sheep!” prompted us to run and close our shop doors, in case they decided to pay a visit. I never had sheep in the shop but I did once have a flock tramp through the house when someone who shall remain nameless left the front gate and front door open!. A very “sheepish” (sorry couldn’t resist that) farmer appeared at the door with a box of chocolates to apologise.
A few more lake users were appearing so we headed over to have a look at the new Waterside Hotel. Formerly the Prince of Wales it is due to open this Summer.
I had been desperate to see what it looked like from the water, and this was the perfect view.
It was good to see what was happening from a different angle.
There will be some lovely views from these windows. Time was moving on so we went round by the Waterside Boathouse and rowed to the top of the lake.
It was a quick row to the top of the lake, and by now the sun was really shining.
Walkers were appearing on the walk round the shore.
The views are stunning in every direction from the lake, it really is the most perfect place to take in the surroundings.
It looked as though lots of people were starting to get the same idea as us, and more boats were appearing as we headed back to Faeryland where we had started from.
Nesting on the bank just before we got back to the landing stage were some swans, we just had time to watch them enjoying the sun.
Then just before we docked we spotted a Heron in the shallows.
Feeling guilty that I hadn’t done a single bit of rowing, I felt it only right to offer refreshments. A pot of Faeryland’s own blend tea.
So a perfect sunny day in Grasmere. No need to open an umbrella. Well not for the usual reasons anyway!
What mixed weather we are having this Autumn. Torrential rain, then warm days and sunshine, and as I write this we are having hailstones, rain, then sunshine. No wonder we talk about the weather so much!
One of the most popular walks from Grasmere is to Rydal water and back and Autumn is one of the best times to do this walk whatever the weather.
Trees are changing colour and the hedgerows are full of blackberries.
Mushrooms are everywhere, so many varieties and more than I can remember seeing for a long time.
The first tree that changes colour in Grasmere every year seems to be the one in Grasmere Garden Centre beside the church.
Grasmere daffodil garden with it’s pathway of visitors names is littered with falling leaves, getting ready for Winter rest before bursting into bloom again in the Spring.
People are making the most of the last of the lighter evenings.
There were a couple of people swimming in Rydal Water when I went past.
It was a perfect evening for it. I contented myself with opening conkers while I watched them. Much less energetic!
The evening light was starting to fade.
So just time for a few more photos before heading for home.
Autumn in the Lake District, Given the right weather you just can’t beat it.
Written on a Macbook. Some photos taken with iPad. RIP Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011
Not a particularly inspiring day for a walk, a bit grey and gloomy, however as you will see I did manage to find a bit of colour in Grasmere.
Just a quick walk on Silver Howe today as rain wasn’t far away. I headed up towards Allan Bank.
Owned by the National Trust, it is now a private residence, however it has had a few notable tenants. Built by Liverpool Attorney Mr Crump this new and large house dominated the view up the Easdale Valley. Wordsworth had seen Allan Bank being built when he lived in Dove Cottage and had called it “a temple of abomination”. He had to eat his words a few years later as his family had outgrown Dove Cottage and it was to Allan Bank that they moved. They were not happy there, it was draughty with smoky chimneys which blew back into the house.
Dorothy Wordsworth however did have a few good words to say about the view from inside Allan Bank looking out “Wherever we turn there is nothing more beautiful than we see from our windows, while the treasures of Easdale lie as it were at our door”.
And Coleridge liked it so much he stayed for 8 months. Two of Wordsworth’s children were born here, Catherine in 1808 and William in 1810. As you walk past, see if you can spot the open ended tunnel hidden in the grounds.
The weather was still fairly miserable so I headed up the lane towards Wray Gill on the slopes of Silver Howe.
After climbing carefully over the slippery rocks, I turned to head down back to Grasmere.
On a clear day the views from here are spectacular with Grasmere, Rydal and the surrounding fells stretched out before you, a lovely place to sit and have a picnic.
If you head down and over the stile and veer to your right you hit the path down off the fellside. As I was getting chilly now I was looking forward to seeing if Faeryland Tea Garden was open for the season, as the path comes out directly opposite.
Result! Not only was it open, but was thoughtfully selling hot mulled apple juice. Deliciously warming apple and cinnamon, what could be better. As I thawed out I sat and looked at the one bit of colour I had seen all day, the rowing boats bobbing on the lake.
Faeryland sells the most amazing range of teas. Who would think somewhere in Grasmere would be selling such delights as, Russian Caravan tea, Nonsuch Nilgirin black tea, Organic Khartoum Hibiscus tea, Lovers Leap Estate ceylon tea, Pai Mu tan white tea, or indeed, Kama Sutra chai! Even better if you can’t manage a visit to Grasmere in person, they are all available on Ebay.
I love this time of year in Grasmere, everything is getting spruced up for the season. Just think how many people will enjoy a row on the lake in these boats this year.
Although another mulled apple juice was tempting, it was time to head for home, with a quick nod to the faeries on the way past.
Postscript. Today 23rd March 2011. Fire broke out in Allan Bank last night in the roof and first floor. At the height of the fire there were five appliances in attendance. No one was injured. The damage has still to be assessed. It is thought to have been started by an electrical fault.
The first snow of the winter arrived, and as I was early for work I decided to walk round the lake. What footwear, was my first thought, however as the snow was really thick I just put my snow boots on as they are warm, waterproof and have a good grip and it is just a low level stroll.
Starting off at the Garden Centre opposite the Church, the road to the side is called Red Bank Road.
I knew there wouldn’t be much traffic as the snow was so thick, but I wasn’t prepared for such a wonderful walk. Off up Red Bank I went, stopping to look at Faeryland Tea Gardens.
You can hire rowing boats here during the summer, but these boats were not going anywhere in a hurry!
Further up the lane it was almost like being in Switzerland the snow was so deep.
After passing this house you carry on up the lane past a house with a letterbox in the wall on the left, then the views become more open before you come to a stile to cut down to the lakeside.
The morning light was gorgeous with the sunshine reflecting on the snow.
When you get down to the lake there is a little boathouse and a bench to sit on, bit chilly for hanging about at this time of year, but lovely in the summer.
The rest of the walk is straightforward with a path running along the side of the lake, it can be very busy in Summer but I only met one other person, and this little chap!
Now there is a story behind this, as I approached the other person all I could see were several robins all flying at her repeatedly. I couldn’t work out what was going on. Turns out she always takes a handful of bird food out on her walks and these greedy birds were looking for more. It was like a scene out of Mary Poppins!.
Although the sun was coming up, the far end of the lake was in shadow and it was bitterly cold, the ducks had found some unfrozen water to swim in though.
Through the woods and back on to the main road at Penny Rock. Penny Rock, so called because a penny was added on to the rates to cover the cost of blasting through the rock to build the Turnpike road to Grasmere. Although the Rydal sections of the road were made about 1770, this section was not made until about 1831. As you leave Grasmere going up Dunmail Raise towards Keswick look to the left and you will see The Toll Bar Cottage, a reminder of the direct tax which used to be levied on all road users.
To be honest, it was this bit of the road that was the worst to walk on, while the snow on the other side had been crisp and untouched, this side of the lake is on the main road and obviously the snow ploughs had shoved all snow from the road to the pavement.
It was also in the shadow, so much colder.
Now I know the purists are going to contact me saying “There is no such thing as Grasmere Lake, it’s a Mere” well just to put the record straight. Obviously I know that but sometimes it is difficult to distinguish Grasmere as in Village, from Grasmere Lake. Hence my use of the word lake.
Just time to cut round by Dove Cottage and then back into the village.
More snow is forecast later this week, so looking forward to more wintery walks.
I quite often get asked “which way to the Lake”. The answer depends on whether people want to walk round it or just have a look at it. The lake is clearly seen from the main road for a quick photo stop however, walking down the side of the Garden Centre opposite the Church and up Red Bank Road takes you to the far shore and some great views.
The weather forecast is notoriously wrong in this area, after a forecast of rain I woke to beautiful blue sky. I had left it a bit late to go round the lake before work, however had time for a short walk. Heading up Red Bank you pass the Gold Rill hotel before reaching Faeryland, the first glimpse of the lake.
Faeryland is where you can hire rowing boats and enjoy a well earned cup of tea after your exertions!. And not just any old tea either. Who’d have thought you could sit on the shores of Grasmere enjoying a pot of Organic Tibetan Wild Lavender Tea or Organic Kyoto Cherry green tea?.
Carrying on up Red Bank road with Silver Howe on your left you pass Nicholas Wood and come to the stile down to the lake shore.
You reach the lake beside a little boat house and to the right of this is a handy seat to contemplate the view from. And what a view!.
A few minutes sitting here sets you up for the rest of the working day.
From here you can walk along the shore of the lake past Deerbolts Wood to continue round the lake or carry on to Rydal Water. Unfortunately work was calling so I had to head back with one last look over my shoulder.
If you do decide to hire a rowing boat, you can get a Fishing permit in the village and pass some time trying to catch pike, perch and trout. Now about that cup of tea….
One of the best things about living in the Lake District is that if you wake up early and it’s a nice day, you can fit in a walk before work.
It is often repeated that there is only one lake in the Lake District, so saying I went for a walk round Grasmere Lake would be wrong. As the name suggests it is a Mere. When the poet Gray visited Grasmere as one of the earliest tourists in 1769 he described it as “One of the sweetest landscapes that art ever attempted to imitate…”
The mist was rising off the water when I arrived and there was not a sound other than the birds and sheep. Even the traffic on the main road hadn’t started yet. Species of birds ever-present on Grasmere include Black Headed Gull, Coot, Mallard, Mute Swan and Canada Geese. Many attempts have been made over the year to cull the Geese around Grasmere and Rydal Water, because they compete with sheep for grazing, but they continue to flourish.
Several spellings of Grasmere can be found through the years. Gressimer,Grysmyre,Gressmere but the probable origin is Grisemere meaning “Lake of swine” . One of the early uses of the forest was the herding and pannage of pigs. Hard to believe such a stunning setting could be named after pigs!.
I had approached the weir from “Penny Rock” a sharp corner on the road which opens out into a view the length of the lake, on the road from Ambleside to Grasmere. The turnpike road through Grasmere was made about 1770 although the road by Penny rock was not made until 1831. Having to blast through the rocks at this point was so expensive that it added a penny on to the rates, hence the name Penny rock.
The hillside at the moment is tinged blue with all the bluebells, a wonderful sight.
The reflections on the lake were beautiful this morning, I just missed a heron flying past in this shot, will have to be quicker off the mark in future.
Some facts about Grasmere Lake. The lake is 1540 metres long, 640 metres wide and at it’s deepest 21 metres.
The view above is looking in the direction of Deerbolts Wood and Silver Howe. Roe deer as the name suggests frequent the area. When they see you they head off up the fellside in leaps and bounds revealing their pale rump patches.
Time was marching on, so work was calling, but what a lovely start to the day. Priceless.