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A Year in Grasmere Village 2016

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.

JANUARY

National Trust Allan Bank

National Trust Allan Bank

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.

Broadgate Grasmere

Broadgate Grasmere

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.

David Cameron Grasmere

David Cameron Grasmere

We had a visit from the then Prime Minister David Cameron spotted in the school playground.

FEBRUARY

February in Grasmere

February in Grasmere

Snow on the tops in February and then on lower ground too.

Snowy Grasmere

Snowy Grasmere

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!.

Valentine's cake

Valentine’s cake

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.

Canoeists River Rothay

Canoeists River Rothay

After a dismal Winter signs of Spring were appearing with snowdrops and Daffodils at Wordsworth’s Grave.

Daffodils and snowdrops

Daffodils and snowdrops

MARCH

The rubble that was piling up on the Sports Field after all the dredging was a perfect viewpoint for this cheeky Herdwick.

Grasmere Herdwick

Grasmere 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.

Grasmere Go Herdy

Grasmere Go Herdy

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.

Keswick bus queue

Keswick bus queue

We had another famous visitor. Prince Charles visited with a trip to the Gingerbread Shop, Wordsworth’s Grave and St Oswald’s Church.

Prince Charles

Prince Charles

Prince Charles Grasmere

Prince Charles Grasmere

It certainly made the village busier.

APRIL

Spring in Grasmere

Spring in Grasmere

April and things were looking up in the village both visitor and weather wise.

Grasmere Daffodil Garden

Grasmere Daffodil Garden

MAY

An exciting initiative in May brought coloured lights to the mere. Nocturnal Rainbows as part of Lakes Ignite Art installation.

Lights on Grasmere

Lights on Grasmere

As the tourist season started properly it was still a case of getting the message out everywhere that Grasmere was open for business.

Grasmere is Open

Grasmere is Open

Grasmere does look great in May, blossom and bluebells.

Grasmere Blossom

Grasmere Blossom

Bannerigg Woods were a sea of blue.

Grasmere Bluebells

Grasmere Bluebells

And then at last! Dunmail Raise was open and Grasmere was connected with the North again. Hello Keswick we missed you.

Dunmail Raise reopens

Dunmail Raise reopens

Diessen Brass Band (twinned with Windermere) performed at NT Allan Bank and the music echoed through the valley.

Diessen Brass Band

Diessen Brass Band

JUNE

Grasmere celebrated The Queen’s 90th Birthday.

Grasmere Celebrates

Grasmere Celebrates

The village looked lovely with flags flying everywhere.

Singing in the Village Hall

Singing in the Village Hall

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.

Outdoor Cinema Grasmere

Outdoor Cinema Grasmere

JULY

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.

Grasmere Rushbearing

Grasmere Rushbearing

But it wasn’t all rain in July, the sun shone too.

Sunny Grasmere

Sunny Grasmere

AUGUST

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.

Grasmere Sports Poster

Grasmere Sports Poster

Competitors travelled from all over the world to compete.

Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling

Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling

Fire eating was a popular spectator event.

Fire eating Grasmere

Fire eating Grasmere

SEPTEMBER

Cycling came to Grasmere in September when the Tour of Britain sped through the village.

Tour of Britain Grasmere

Tour of Britain Grasmere

The village was decorated with painted yellow bikes.

Yellow Bikes Grasmere

Yellow Bikes Grasmere

OCTOBER

Devilish Sheep

Devilish Sheep

Halloween in Grasmere meant an abundance of Pumpkins throughout the village.

National Trust Shop Grasmere

National Trust Shop Grasmere

Unfortunately Halloween weekend itself was a bit of a washout and the pumpkins on the village green looked a bit bedraggled.

Gingerbread Pumpkins

Gingerbread Pumpkins

Liked these pumpkins outside the Gingerbread shop.

NOVEMBER

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.

Grasmere Sheep

Grasmere Sheep

What a great welcome home!

DECEMBER

December in Grasmere, what a joy.

Taffy Thomas

Taffy Thomas

You never know who will be about, Taffy Thomas former Storyteller Laureate was having a wander round the village with some student teachers.

Xmas in NT Shop Grasmere

Xmas in NT Shop Grasmere

The shops have a huge array of individual gifts you can’t find in the larger towns.

Beetham Bellringers

Beetham Bellringers

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.

Herdy xmas tree

Herdy xmas tree

Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and Health and Happiness for the coming year.

Snowy Grasmere at last!

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.

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Grasmere snow

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.

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Free parking in Grasmere

Grasmere in weather like this is wonderful to visit.

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Wordsworth Hotel Grasmere

Even if you don’t come to walk on the fells the village is like a winter wonderland.

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Grasmere Village in Winter

Even a little wander round the riverside walk is a delight in the snow.

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Millennium Stone Grasmere

I was actually going to get my shopping from the Co-op, who could have a better trip to the shops!

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Broadgate Grasmere

Not a lot of people around here either. What a shame.

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Broadgate Grasmere

Can’t believe what everyone is missing. Shopping bought and still “wandering lonely”!

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Wordsworth Graves in Winter

As I always do, went by the Wordsworth Graves to see if the snowdrops were out yet. Still “wandering lonely”.

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Grasmere is open!

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!

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Snow Grips

Grasmere Floods. Grasmere bounces back.

Well we are now a few days in since the floods which certainly had an effect on our village. How are things now.

Ripping up carpets

Ripping up carpets

Well I never knew how heavy underfelt was when it was saturated with water. However the carpets are up.

Work has begun

Work has begun

Workmen are checking everything is safe.

Road being repaired

Road being repaired

The road that was being washed away is being reinstated. So it’s just a case of waiting for everything to dry out and getting back to normal. In the rest of the village it’s the same story.

Bin bags piled up

Bin bags piled up

Bin bags of spoilt stock, carpets and muck swept down from the hillside.

Flood water Grasmere

Flood water Grasmere

Apart from the odd side road all roads are clear. Our main problem is the A591 going North to Keswick which has been washed away, making Grasmere the end of the road. A huge detour down the M6 is now necessary.  Bus services now terminate and start at Grasmere but the roads from the South are now all clear.

Back to normal Grasmere

Back to normal Grasmere

Today signs of normality were all around. Happy children playing in the school yard. Parents worked quickly to get the flooded school back to normal. A Tesco delivery van who had to wheel shopping quite a distance to homeowners.

St Oswalds Church Grasmere

St Oswalds Church Grasmere

The church which was flooded was again cleared out and brought back to normal by a band of volunteers who rallied round really quickly. I understand there is a wedding here on Saturday, so business as usual.

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

So despite the floods Grasmere is bouncing back. Shops are open. Hotels are open, and we really need you to come, do your Christmas shopping, and help us get back to normal. The famous Grasmere Gingerbread shop is open and looking lovely for Christmas.

National Trust Shop Grasmere

National Trust Shop Grasmere

The National Trust shop is open and has a wonderful selection of gifts, all for charity too.

Sam Reads Bookshop Grasmere

Sam Reads Bookshop Grasmere

Independent Bookshop Sam Reads is open and has a wonderful selection of books for all tastes. Brilliant children’s section too.

Barneys Newsbox Grasmere

Barneys Newsbox Grasmere

Jigsaw heaven at our local newsagent Barneys Newsbox one of the largest collections of jigsaws anywhere, just head up the stairs and you will see what I mean.

Heaton Cooper Studios Grasmere

Heaton Cooper Studios Grasmere

The shop I could spend a fortune in. Great source of art supplies at Heaton Cooper Studios. Gifts and prints. Open for business.

Herdy Shop Grasmere

Herdy Shop Grasmere

And Grasmere wouldn’t be Grasmere without the Herdy shop. Open with a great range of exclusive gifts.

Attic shop Grasmere

Attic shop Grasmere

Attic shop was looking ready for Christmas and I couldn’t resist browsing the enticing range of gifts.

Hotels are open too and ready for visitors.

Wordsworth Hotel Grasmere

Wordsworth Hotel Grasmere

They all have decorations up and are looking forward to visitors for the festive season.

Red Lion Grasmer

Red Lion Grasmere

I happened to be in the Red Lion Hotel today. Looking very Christmassy downstairs however not all was as it should be upstairs.

Closed due to flooding

Closed due to flooding

The swimming pool was closed due to flooding.

So that’s the story a few days on. People have rallied round. Farmers have suffered greatly and a lot of people I have spoken to are not insured or cannot wait for Insurers to give the okay to proceed. Time is money, Christmas is coming.

I have a sign in my hall. As the rain started again today I kept looking at it and trying to believe.

A little rain must fall

A little rain must fall

The rain is falling heavily again tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grasmere Flood December 2015.

Little did I know when I wrote my last blog, that a few weeks later on, Grasmere was about to be hit by the worst flooding in living memory. I can say that because my 98year old father-in-law says so. Mind you so has every reporter on the TV so it must be true!

Red Weather Warning

Red Weather Warning

High winds and continual rain for several days as Storm Desmond (we have just started naming storms in this country) hit the country. Cumbria was particularly badly hit. Roads quickly became impassable and villages became islands with no way in and no way out.

Stock Lane Grasmere

Stock Lane Grasmere

The river Rothay rose and rose. We watched anxiously.

River Rothay Rising

River Rothay Rising

And then it burst it’s banks.

Flooding Stock Lane

Flooding Stock Lane

In a situation like this you can use as many sandbags as you like but the force of the water is unstoppable. It comes up through the floorboards as well as through the door. You can feel the trembling beneath your feet.

Overflowing river Grasmere

Overflowing river Grasmere by @luciastakeaway

Roads became rivers and several residents had to be evacuated from houses that were flooding. Thanks to Josie at Bridge House who had been watching elderly residents all day and then offered a bed for the night and warm meal, despite her hotel flooding too.

Landslides Grasmere

Landslides Grasmere

The next morning provided an opportunity to see just why the flooding had been so bad. About twenty years ago after another flood the river was re-routed at the top of Dunmail Raise to prevent it happening again. Had this been the cause, had it taken the old route, (apart from the excessive amount of rain too). One look at the fell side and it was obvious that the rain had caused two large landslides which had contributed to the flooding and debris.

Destruction

Destruction

The strength of the water had lifted tarmac and exposed pipes (amazed after I righted it the plant pot survived).

Flooding Grasmere

Flooding Grasmere

Dirty water had flooded in the front door and out of the back of most businesses.

Bag shop Grasmere

Bag shop Grasmere

Everywhere people were sweeping the floodwater out of shops.

St Oswalds Grasmere

St Oswalds Grasmere

Even the church was closed (on a Sunday!) as it had been flooded for the first time ever. Not long after though a large team of helpers were cleaning up. I am sure normal service, or services! will be resumed soon.

Flood water Grasmere

Flood water Grasmere

Still a bit of water in the streets but the water had receded quickly.

Village Green Grasmere

Village Green Grasmere

This reindeer made his appearance for the “Grasmere Welcomes Christmas” celebrations a few weeks previously when we had terrible weather too. Any one think he should be renamed RAINdeer ?.

Broadgate Grasmere

Broadgate Grasmere

You can see the two scars on the fell side that have appeared. Quite a few shops on this stretch were flooded. The Coop was shut, and when I made it through to Ambleside later I met lots of Grasmere people with the same idea as myself buying bread and milk as the main road from Keswick has disintegrated and the road from Windermere is flooded.

Stewart Cunningham Grasmere

Stewart Cunningham Grasmere

Several shops had started cleaning up already but there were also quite a few where people couldn’t reach Grasmere to assess their properties till all the roads open. Hope things aren’t too bad for them.

Flood Debris

Flood Debris

All along fences was debris showing how the river had pushed across the fields.

Overflowing river

Overflowing river

Although this looks like a weir, it is actually a drystone wall that the river has decided to take a route over.

The main thing is that yes! there are cafes and shops open. We need your support. Please help us get back to normal by visiting once the roads are running normally again. Let’s spare a thought for the poor residents elsewhere, Keswick, Cockermouth, Appleby and Kendal to name but a few who have been very badly affected.

There is an Appeal launched to raise funds to support individuals and communities affected. You can donate via text message. Send a text to 70070 with the message FLUD15 and a monetary amount. For example FLUD15 £10

I will leave you with this photo which summed up today for me.

No use in a flood!

No use in a flood!

Grasmere December 2015.

 

Grasmere Christmas

Wandering around Grasmere over the Christmas period, I started thinking how things had changed over the years.

Herdy Christmas

Herdy Christmas

Not that long ago, Grasmere used to close down in the Winter. Nearest Saturday to Bonfire night and that was it. Shops closed until 1st April.

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

Wandering around in Winter was rather a bleak experience and for the shop owners too, as they had to make a living in just seven months of the year. So what changed? Short breaks became more popular, themed breaks like Bridge weekends and Yoga weekends gained popularity, and Stay cations became more frequent with people taking shorter holidays but more of them. The Hotels in the village started staying open longer and catering to a different type of visitor.

Wordsworth Hotel

Wordsworth Hotel

So it was a delight to see Grasmere buzzing with people over the Christmas period and to see the hotels and shops lit up for the season.

Baldrys Tea Room

Baldrys Tea Room

It must have been a day for pondering because the next thing I thought about was how someone had said earlier in the week “meet you at Coffee Bean Corner”. I knew where that was but would you?. The Coffee Bean was situated on the corner where the Miller Howe Cafe is now. It has also been the Natwest Bank. We also had a Barclays Bank in the village, situated where Mother Earth is now. No banks now but we do have a shiny new cash machine in the Coop.

Cocoa Hearts Chocolates

Cocoa Hearts Chocolates

We also used to have two petrol stations. One near the Chemist and one on the main road beside the Daffodil Hotel. Now the nearest petrol is available in Ambleside.

Potted Out Grasmere

Potted Out Grasmere

Potted Out Restaurant used to be a family home. Then it changed to a china shop and now restaurant.

Red Lion Hotel

Red Lion Hotel

One thing a lot of people don’t seem to know is that we have a very good ladies and gents hairdresser situated inside the Red Lion Hotel. You don’t have to be staying at the hotel to use it.

Tweedies Grasmere

Tweedies Grasmere

A popular stop over the festive season has been Tweedies Bar, part of Dale Lodge Hotel. Dale Lodge used to be an old folks home. Great situation right in the centre of the village. Glad to see the owner of this bike is sticking to the “Don’t drink and drive” message.

Attic Grasmere

Attic Grasmere

It’s not often we have a brand new shop. Attic was a welcome addition to the village, situated next to Heaton Cooper Studio.

Heaton Cooper Studio

Heaton Cooper Studio

Many shops in the village are well established like Heaton Cooper Studio. Not only does it have the work of various generations of Heaton Cooper displayed but also a great art shop too.

Grasmere National Trust Shop

Grasmere National Trust Shop

And some shops come and go. We used to have a National Trust Shop, then it went, now its back again and also giving out information about the village too.

National Trust Shop Grasmere

National Trust Shop Grasmere

Another popular destination in Grasmere is the Herdy shop, tucked away in College Street. Looking very Christmassy!.

Herdy Shop Grasmere

Herdy Shop Grasmere

And mustn’t forget Heidi’s which looks Christmassy all year round.

Heidi's Grasmere

Heidi’s Grasmere

So there you are. A look at Grasmere at Christmas, and  a bit of a reminiscence at the end of another year. All that remains is to wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy New Year in 2014, and to ask Father Christmas for one last wish….. get rid of this rain and let’s have some seasonal snow.

Grasmere is Good

Grasmere is Good

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wordsworth and Snow in Grasmere

Wordsworth is always all around when you visit Grasmere, however sometimes more than expected! We have had a huge amount of snow this week. Imagine everyone’s surprise when despite a blizzard blowing, the valiant servants from Wordsworth House in Cockermouth made their way up the valley to Allan Bank in Grasmere.

Windswept Servants

Windswept Servants

The visit had been planned a few weeks ago but with blizzards, snow and roads closed no one had expected them to even set off!

Wordsworth's Study

Wordsworth’s Study

But these servants from Wordsworth’s birthplace were made of stern stuff and it wasn’t long before they were warming themselves in front of the fire in Wordsworth’s Study.

Looking towards Dove Cottage Grasmere

Looking towards Dove Cottage Grasmere

Warmed by the fire and a welcome cup of tea the servants explored Allan Bank. Wordsworth moved here from Dove Cottage, and I did spot a servant giving a wistful look down the valley in that direction.

Reading Wordsworth

Reading Wordsworth

Time for a recital of some poetry. Wonder if it was “I wandered Lonely as a Cloud” as some of the other servants were spotted admiring some Daffodils!

Admiring Daffodils

Admiring Daffodils

Wordsworth spent a lot of his time walking the fells, and frequently walked from Grasmere to Ambleside to collect the mail. I imagine he would have loved a map like this to plan his journeys.

We travelled from here.

We travelled from here.

One last look out of the window before heading off through the snow to visit Dove Cottage and the Rydal Mount.

Through the window Allan Bank

Through the window Allan Bank

Group photo on the doorstep before setting off into the blizzard again.

Servants from Wordsworth House

Servants from Wordsworth House

We are so lucky to have all the History that Wordsworth brought to this area. In Grasmere alone we have the Wordsworth Trust and Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s family grave in St Oswald’s churchyard, Robert Newton’s Inn at Church stile where he stayed and drank (now a National Trust shop), the Yew trees he planted in the churchyard, and Allan Bank where he lived, now a National Trust property open to the public. Add in Wordsworth House at Cockermouth and Rydal Mount and it is a literary feast in Cumbria.

Now about these servants…..

Wordsworth servants at Allan Bank

Wordsworth servants at Allan Bank

They wrapped their shawls warmly around them and set off,

Allan Bank

Allan Bank

A long cold walk to the village,

Back to the Village

Back to the Village

Next stop Dove Cottage, another Home from Home.

Home from Home Allan Bank

Home from Home Allan Bank

Wintery Grasmere Walk

Up till now it can only have been described as a rather wet miserable winter. Nothing like the last few years where we have had a really good amount of snow. However things changed earlier this week and I was able to get out and about around Rydal and Grasmere.

Snowy Grasmere

Snowy Grasmere

The cloud was right down and it was debatable whether it would be brighter higher up but it was nice to get out without being rained on!.

Rydal Water

Rydal Water

A watery sunshine was trying to break through the mist.

Rydal

Rydal

I decided to wander up by Rydal caves and then decide which direction to continue in.

Across Rydal

Across Rydal

Gradually I was getting above the low cloud and arrived at a snowy Rydal caves.

Rydal Caves

Rydal Caves

Hardly a soul about. Crisp snow not too trampled yet.

Loughrigg

Loughrigg

Just a couple of folk on the horizon, and now well above the clouds.

Above the clouds

Above the clouds

Time to head back down to Grasmere.

Heading to Grasmere

Heading to Grasmere

It looked very cold down in the valley, it’s amazing how it can vary from one vale to the next.

Across the Lake

Across the Lake

It was starting to look very grey in the direction of Dunmail Raise. Allan Bank standing out across the lake.

Towards Allan Bank

Towards Allan Bank

The best part of the day had been and gone and it was getting very chilly. Time to head home for a warm drink.

Grasmere

Grasmere

This walk was earlier in the week and the snow has lain on the hills. It was forecast that we were going to have huge amounts of snow over night last night, however we seem to have escaped the worst and the heavy snow has been centred on Wales, Bristol and the South. It is just very, very cold and now icy underfoot. More snow forecast for the weekend. Watch this space….

Snowy Grasmere

Snowy Grasmere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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