Grasmere St Oswald’s Church with the door closed. Grass growing long in the churchyard. No snaking line of tourists queuing up outside the gingerbread shop. Easter and Bank holidays with no visitors.
The Coop did an amazing job keeping the village supplied with essentials and were very proactive in keeping the shopping experience safe. Thank you Tom and staff.
Wouldn’t you just know it. The sun blazed down day after day. Going for fresh air and exercise was a pleasure but one couldn’t help feeling it was such a shame not to be able to share with visitors.
After a very wet start to the year we watched as the river practically dried up.
Spare time was spent making masks to keep family and friends safe.
The traditional Grasmere Sports and Rushbearing cancelled. Then, suddenly little shoots of hope.
No the circus hadn’t come to town, however due to the ingenuity of staff, children were at last able to attend school in a socially distanced way.
Herdwick sheep real and otherwise raised a cheer when non essential shops were allowed to open this week.
Hopefully Hotels, and other accommodation providers will follow soon, along with restaurants and pubs.
Visitors we have missed you. It’s been very quiet which although nice sometimes isn’t always a good thing. Let’s all respect each other, follow the safety guidelines and hopefully the sun will keep shining when you come back.
I always think how much our Japanese visitors must feel at home in our village at this time of year as we do have some spectacular Cherry Blossom throughout the village, framing the views and proving an attraction in themselves.
The Cherry tree in the Churchyard is a particularly beautiful one, especially when reflected in the River Rothay
Outside Heaton Cooper Studio and Gallery is a well established tree.
A beautiful time of year to visit our village, even when the petals start to fall for another year.
Another year nearly gone. Another year where other commitments have overtaken writing my blog. Let’s have a look at what has been happening in the village this year through photographs I have posted on Twitter (yes I do still have time to do that so to keep up to date you could follow @grasmerevillage).
Mixed weather this year. Long periods of sunshine during the Summer then torrential rain in Autumn. Rushbearing Day was beautiful. Grasmere Sports Day was wet, wet, wet.
Our newly rendered church tower looked good in the sunshine, as did our new Farmers Market, which has proved a great hit with locals and visitors alike.
Unlike other places in the World which are talking about building a wall to keep people out, Grasmere has a new wall to welcome visitors.
The entrance to the village at Stock Lane has undergone many reincarnations in the time I have been here so it was interesting to go and have a look at the latest. First a few photos of how it has looked. Note how the Poets well has moved.
We now have a rather poetic entrance to the village, with the building of a couple of slate walls inscribed with poetry by William Wordsworth.
There are also seats on either side of the road, and a much needed litter bin.
Crossing the road to Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Trust should be easier for pedestrians due to the new road layout.
Since I took the photographs earth has been filled in behind the walls so hopefully we can look forward to some floral displays.
Below is a link to the original Cumbria County Council thinking. So far no sign has been put up pointing into Grasmere Village. As far as traffic and pedestrians go the season is just starting so time will tell how well the new arrangement works.
It isn’t often I don’t know where to be in Grasmere! However yesterday I was literally up hill and down dale. The reason for my indecision? The Tour of Britain Stage two was heading though Grasmere.My initial thinking had been to head up Dunmail Raise and get some arty, cyclists flying down the road with the Lion and the Lamb in the background shots. The weather wasn’t playing that way I could hardly see in front of my face for the drizzle. Ok how about just past Penny Rock? Went down there and it was way too dark. Back to the village to look at the Sprint end Stage. They were just setting things up but chatting to the folk there it seemed that a straight with a bend might be the best place to be. Oh by the way, have you noticed we have put our redundant phone box to good use. It now houses a defibrillator. Final decision was to stand just beyond Church Bridge to catch the action, while cunningly positioning husband further down the village. The sound of a helicopter overhead and a several Police motorbikes heralded the cyclists arriving. First through wearing the yellow jersey was Greipel then the others including the peloton followed in quick succession.
After the first three, the riders came quickly through the village https://twitter.com/cragchris/status/772873106297917440
While I like to take still photos, husband was in full slow motion filming mode.The cyclists fairly flew over Church Bridge. I was slightly distracted by an American Coach which had obviously decanted it’s tourists to pick up gingerbread from the Gingerbread Shop. They obviously hadn’t a clue what was happening, some of the comments were hilarious. And then they were past. Many vehicles with cycles on their roof racks followed. Next stop the struggle in Ambleside. Mention must be made of Grasmere’s own Knit and Nat group. They had done a sterling job knitting little yellow jersey bunting. It looked fab if a bit wet on the village green. Another nice surprise on the day was bumping in to Viv who used to manage the National Trust Shop in Grasmere. She now lives “down south” but was having a holiday in the area and knew if there was something on in Grasmere she would spot me somewhere. While waiting for the cyclists we had a good catch up, so you see, I did choose the right place to stand after all.
After a night of torrential rain it was a pleasant surprise that the weather for the 166th annual Grasmere Sports and Show was dry and fine.
Proceedings were given a rousing start by the Adamson Brass Band, always a crowd pleaser.
Young runners first and there were plenty of entrants for the sprint and fell races.
Meanwhile the crowds were being entertained by Andy Jester who was keeping everyone amazed by a bit of nifty fire balancing and eating.
Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling is always an important part of Grasmere Sports and this year the 11 stone World championships were held in Grasmere. I spotted competitors from Scotland who call their style “backhold”. There were also competitors from Brittany France recognisable by the word Gouren on their tops.
Icelandic wrestlers also took part. Their style is called Glima. Glima was the most widespread sport in the Viking age, and was practiced by both men and women. Glima was so important to Viking society that their god Thor was also the Viking god of wrestling.
Time for a cup of tea or coffee, thirsty work this Sports watching!
A new addition this year was Thelma the Tiny Tearoom, while old friends were also doing good business at the Coffee Bug. Too much choice.
Elsewhere on the field our very own Taffy Thomas the Storyteller was keeping everyone entertained.
Further along the field the hounds were going through their paces.
Hound trailing is a very popular event. More information can be found here. http://www.houndtrailing.org.uk
Animals of another type were also attracting attention. Herdwick and other breeds of sheep were shown and discussed.
It’s always good to see children taking part in the good old classic egg and spoon, Sack race and three legged race.
and parents like to get involved too. Balancing a bean bag was very popular with parent and child teams.
Of course the main feature at Grasmere are the Guides Races. An amazing feat as runners head up and down the fell side. This year there was a bonus £500 to run for, for both men or ladies beating the current records. No records broken this year so the money rolls over again to next year.
I really don’t think there is a finer sight than all the runners streaming up the fell side.
It was an exciting race to the finish!
Well done Sam Tosh, Simon Bailey and Rob Hope.
The ladies weren’t far behind.
Sharon Taylor, Steph Curtis and Ruby Sykes ran a brilliant race.
I noticed one of our oldest residents Mary watching the race. Wonder what she thought of the two tigers next to her? Mind you there have been reports of a large black cat like animal at Penny Rock so watch out!
While the race was on I had been keeping an eye on a special bunch of runners. I had met them earlier as they prepared to race for the Rosemere Cancer charity http://www.rosemere.org.uk
Fresh and raring to go, they still had a smile on their faces right at the end!
A friend of mine Alison comes up from York especially to help at Grasmere Sports. She took this great photo of the Guides race flag the night before.
So it will be the 167th Grasmere Sports Next year to look forward to. We do however have another sporting event passing through the village this Monday. The Tour of Britain is cycling through Grasmere this Monday. Can’t wait as several Olympians will be taking part. Just got to decide where to watch it.
Grasmere Rushbearing 2016 was rather a wet one. It became obvious fairly early on in the day that the rain wasn’t going to ease up.
With good spirit everyone dressed for the weather and started to parade through the town.
I thought the owner of Bridge House Hotel in the centre of this photo looked rather happy about something and later discovered she had become a Grandmother for the second time very early that morning!
Normally everyone gathers on the village green to sing the traditional Rushbearing hymns but the ground was a bit soggy so a stop was made on College Street instead.
I couldn’t help feeling a little sorry for the Rushbearing maidens. While everyone else had the benefit of a waterproof coat they had to tough it out in traditional costume.
I noticed more than one person dashing in to Lucia’s for a takeaway coffee to warm up with.
Time to head back to St Oswald’s Church
I think umbrellas brighten up the parade on a rainy day.
Taffy Thomas the storyteller always has a good view point from the Storytellers Garden.
Back at church and time to get inside and dry off before a welcome cup of tea.
Now all the time I was watching there was one thing that I kept thinking. How heavy must the cloth the Rushbearing Maidens were carrying have got as it was absolutely sodden by the end.
So well done girls you did a great job!
Anyone who wants to see photos of sunny Rushbearing parades need look no further than this blog. You win some and you lose some but no matter the weather the show goes on.
Could hardly not blog about our latest visitor to Grasmere, Prince Charles the Prince of Wales.
After a very quiet village for several months it was wonderful to see such large crowds lining the streets as Prince Charles came to Grasmere to show his support for the Lake District after the December floods.
The local schoolchildren were very excited as they were led to the front.
Next to arrive was a painted sheep! Throughout the summer you can spot these individually designed sheep in various places. Raising funds for Calvert Trust http://www.goherdwick.co.uk Pick up a Trail map from various outlets and see how many you can spot.
And finally a car appeared round the corner
Flags were waving and there was an air of great excitement.
The Prince of Wales took his time and chatted to locals and visitors alike. Most amazing thing of all, till that point there had been a grey sky and drizzle all day, he arrived and the sun came out.
Prince Charles was accompanied on his visit by Claire Hensman who is the Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria.
By this time the schoolchildren were getting really excited. Prince Charles headed over to them and he spoke to every single one. I was very impressed by how relaxed he was taking his time after a very busy itinerary all day.
The Prince also noticed a lady holding a large England flag and headed over to her to chat.
The sun was still thing and Prince Charles next went to the Grasmere Gingerbread shop.
He seemed to be enjoying a joke with owner Joanne Wilson, then disappeared inside for quite some time. It appears he was having a try at slicing gingerbread in the kitchen, however the Gingerbread recipe is a secret! Even to Royalty.
Now here is where the local knowledge comes in. Up until now I’d been balancing on the church wall, but jumped backwards into St Oswald’s Church grounds. Meanwhile everyone was waiting for Prince Charles to re-appear out of the front door.
But he didn’t he came out through the back door and made his way across the graveyard to Wordsworth’s Grave. He was met here by Michael McGregor Director of the Wordsworth Trust and I got a great view.
It was wonderful that the Daffodils were out at Wordsworth’s Grave and Prince Charles took a little time for reflection.
Prince Charles then headed through the graveyard towards the church where he was viewing an art installation by the local schoolchildren. Chatting to various locals on the way.
He spotted Grasmere Tea Gardens across the river and asking who owned it gave everyone sitting outside a cheery wave.
Stuart Cunninghams a local shop also got a chance to chat about business after the floods.
Then into the church.
The Prince of Wales visiting was what we all needed. Everything was feeling more positive, people on the streets, Easter this weekend and the clocks changing this weekend too. Just the A591 to re-open at hopefully Whit Bank holiday and we can all breathe a sigh of relief and try to make up for the business we have lost. Grasmere is well and truly open.
A beautiful Spring day. As Allan Bank in Grasmere (a National Trust Property unlike any other) was open, I decided to take a wander up the hill and see what they were up to. This is the fifth year the property has been open and a while since I have written about it.
The property is a short walk from Grasmere (disabled parking on site) and has the most glorious views of Grasmere. The sun was shining and the daffodils were out. Lambs in the surrounding fields. Paradise!
Grasmere school children were enjoying the grounds as part of their Forest Schools activities. It looked as though they were having an Easter egg hunt.
The Art Room had been changed around over the Winter. Anyone adult or child can just sit down and use the art material provided to paint the amazing view out of the window.
In the kitchen cafe one of the volunteers (they are always looking for more) Janet was making Easter floral arrangements to decorate the tables. Tea and coffee are by donation and you can wander around the house, tea in hand.
Or if you are lucky grab a seat beside the roaring fire in Wordsworth’s Study, pick up a book and relax.
Allan Bank was once the home of Wordsworth and his young family but was also the home of Canon Hardwick Rawnsley one of the co-founders of the National Trust. This is the 150th Anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s Life and Canon Rawnsley was an inspiration to Beatrix when she was a young girl. He encouraged her creativity and also encouraged her in her love of the countryside.
Scattered around the house were cushions with quotes. I particularly liked the ones in the play room.
The play room was just waiting for little Easter visitors with books and toys to enjoy.
Allan Bank isn’t just for children. Upstairs is the Chorley Hopkins Mountaineering Library with a wealth of books on Mountaineering both in the Lake District and beyond.
Just along the corridor is a craft room where visiting crafters sometimes demonstrate lace making, printmaking etc. There are lots of vintage board games in here too. Looking out of the window you can quite often see the resident red squirrels but none today.
Just time for a quick look in the little shop, but the grounds were calling. Sunshine in the Lake District can’t be wasted.
In the grounds there is a fabulous woodland walk with great views. It is steep in places but well marked and resting places to be found. I had a little seat to look at the mere.
Next further up the path with a glimpse of Helm Crag in sight.
And finally Helm Crag in all it’s glory.
Something that hasn’t changed this year, or for a long time before is the old Victorian viewing tunnel in the grounds.
Time for a last cup of tea and tempted to cake by Sophie to round off my visit.
For more information about Allan Bank Grasmere see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allan-bank-and-grasmere
Follow them on Facebook. National Trust Allan Bank or Twitter. @AllanbankNT
My previous Blogs with the history of Allan Bank.
Well at last the rain has gone and things are looking a bit more seasonal in the village. Snow overnight and blue skies this morning mean January is looking more hopeful weather wise.
At the moment car parks in Grasmere are still free to help the local economy recover, however I visited all three car parks today and there were only a handful of cars in each. Roads were clear and it was a beautiful day. A slight worry.
Grasmere in weather like this is wonderful to visit.
Even if you don’t come to walk on the fells the village is like a winter wonderland.
Even a little wander round the riverside walk is a delight in the snow.
I was actually going to get my shopping from the Co-op, who could have a better trip to the shops!
Not a lot of people around here either. What a shame.
Can’t believe what everyone is missing. Shopping bought and still “wandering lonely”!
As I always do, went by the Wordsworth Graves to see if the snowdrops were out yet. Still “wandering lonely”.
Grasmere is open! Roads from the south are clear of snow it’s one of the best times to visit and we are ready to welcome you. Yes some shops are still recovering from flooding but we will all look shiny new for you very soon. The Grand at Grasmere has a brilliant new look. Lots of hotels and holiday homes have real bargains at this time of year and if you are worried about slipping in the snow, Mountain Warehouse were featuring a bargain in snow grips, so no excuse!