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.
Spring is arriving at last in the village. We now have a lifeline in the form of a bus link to Keswick so we aren’t feeling quite so isolated, and the work on the A591 needed after Storm Desmond is progressing. We can be easily accessed from the South or by the scenic route over Kirkstone Pass to the North. It is always a lovely time to visit. Snow on the fell tops, daffodils appearing, shops stocked up for the new season and hotels all spruced up over the winter. Some good bargain breaks at this time of year too.
Today we had rain, sleet, snow and sunshine, and that was just the morning!
It’s a funny thing but I suppose we all have our own idea of when Spring has arrived. The thing I always look for are the daffodils starting to flower at Wordsworth’s grave. Well today there were daffodils appearing everywhere.
Even in shop windows. This was a lovely Spring window display in Sam Read Bookshop and further down the road Herdy was getting in on the act too.
Of course the Lake District is always associated with daffodils because of William Wordsworth’s famous poem. Grasmere has it’s very own daffodil garden and you can find part of the poem reproduced there.
In the garden I would say the daffodils will be perfect just in time for Easter this year.
I decided to head round the riverside walk through Broadgate, then to the Mere.
The Environment Agency have been dredging the River Rothay since the floods in December and as I approached the other day I was amazed to see that as the digger exited the river, three canoeists appeared and used the slipway to launch their canoes! A nice bit of positive thinking.
They paddled along and the next thing I spotted them in the Mere.
We might have had a lot of rain over the winter but another advantage is that everything is looking very lush and green at the moment. As you can see Grasmere is ready for the new season, all that is missing are the visitors. Get yourselves up here, you don’t know what you are missing!
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!
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!
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.
The river Rothay rose and rose. We watched anxiously.
And then it burst it’s banks.
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.
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.
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.
The strength of the water had lifted tarmac and exposed pipes (amazed after I righted it the plant pot survived).
Dirty water had flooded in the front door and out of the back of most businesses.
Everywhere people were sweeping the floodwater out of shops.
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.
Still a bit of water in the streets but the water had receded quickly.
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 ?.
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.
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.
All along fences was debris showing how the river had pushed across the fields.
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.
Grasmere December 2015.
October in Grasmere has been an amazing month for rainbows.
The beautiful weather we had over the summer has led to sunshine and showers and with the showers, rainbows. Lots of rainbows!
Early morning has been beautiful too. Great cloud inversions looking towards the mere.
and once the clouds dispersed a little, wonderful reflections.
October in Grasmere also means Autumn Festival and thoughts of Harvest. It was pouring down this morning but this display in the entrance to St Oswald’s Church brightened up the morning.
Crossing the road at Church Stile I noticed the National Trust shop was looking very Autumnal too.
Halloween is also fast approaching and in College street the Herdy shop was brightening up a rainy day.
Lucia’s Takeaway had been busy with their own personalised pumpkin.
and at National Trust Allan Bank it was pumpkin central as they were having a pumpkin trail over the half term holiday.
Cocoa Hearts chocolate shop had lots of people sheltering from the rain making chocolates to take home.
and a witch seemed to have taken up residence in the Good Bag shop next door.
So despite the rain, Autumn is a great time to be in Grasmere, and when the clouds part…..
the views can be truly spectacular.
So keep an eye open for rainbows, and Happy Halloween everyone.
Having a few days off work and awoke to rain. Despite having a sign in my hall saying “A tidy house is the sign of a boring woman” I started doing the job I hate most. Defrosting the freezer. Soon lost interest, and left it to it. Wandered up the village, and saw two people gazing in a melancholy fashion from a holiday cottage window. This got me thinking. There is so much to do on a rainy day in Grasmere, I almost knocked on the door, told them to grab their coats and follow me!.
First port of call, another look round the Lakes Artists Society Exhibition in the Village Hall. This usually runs from end July till beginning of September every summer and is open daily. Founded in 1904 by artist W.G.Collingwood (secretary to John Ruskin no less). Membership is limited to 45 artists all who must reside in the Lake District.
A fascinating mix of painting and sculpture. For more info see http://www.lakeartists.org.uk
Next stop. Barney’s Newsbox on Broadgate Grasmere.
Now while you may have bought your newspapers from here while visiting Grasmere, have you ventured upstairs?. Home to over 20,000 jigsaws, you can’t fail to find something to while away a few hours, or more!
A few pieces, many pieces, jigsaws for young and old, take a look you will be amazed.
Can’t manage to Grasmere, they ship Worldwide. http://www.jigsawsuk.co.uk
Grasmere is lucky to have lots of independent shops, and that’s what makes it so interesting. One of my favourites is Sam Read Bookseller. Established in 1887 this is the place to browse for every type of book imaginable. Snuggle up on the couch of your holiday home or guest house, listen to the rain against the window, and transport yourself into another world.
Situated on the corner of Broadgate and College Street Grasmere, you will be surprised by what you find inside. Very helpful staff, with great knowledge to find you just the right holiday read.
To see a selection of their books, maps and other reading material. http://www.samreadbooks.co.uk situated next door is Lucia’s Takeaway Coffee Shop, great for a quick snack or picnic item. On sunny day’s you can borrow a sit mat to use on the village green opposite while you eat.
Across the green is situated Heaton Cooper Studio. Another family business that was established in 1905. I don’t think I have ever managed to get out of here without making a purchase from their wonderful art shop. This time wasn’t any different!
The Gallery features work by several generations of the Heaton Cooper Family. Wonderful images of the Lake District in all it’s glory.
They also have a new exhibition space. A great addition and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the exhibition currently on, entitled “Working The Landscape”.
Have a look at their website to see what’s on when you visit. http://www.heatoncooper.co.uk
Walk out and turn to your right. Another wet weather idea is National Trust Allan Bank situated up the lane to the side of the Miller Howe Cafe. This is not your normal National Trust experience. A quirky house, once lived in by Wordsworth and co-founder of the Trust Cannon Hardwicke Rawnsley. Each room has a loose theme, Art Room, Play room, etc. No ropes and no “Do not touch” signs.
It now features a kitchen cafe with a great selection of cakes.
Dogs are welcome in the house too, so no need to leave four legged friends behind. Another interesting room has the Chorley Hopkinson Mountaineering Library in it, so if it’s not the weather for climbing you can at least read about your next adventure.
Plenty for children and adults alike to do. Sit beside the roaring fire and read the complimentary newspapers while the children paint a masterpiece. Fantastic views too, even on a miserable day.
Best of all there are red squirrels at Allan Bank and they seem to like the wet weather best. Sit at the window and see what you can spot.
No squirrels about? You never know what animal you might find (dressing up optional!).
Allan Bank Information http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allan-bank-and-grasmere/
So what else to do on a rainy Grasmere day? Pop in to St Oswald’s Church.
Buy some Grasmere Gingerbread. Always warming on a miserable day.
Or pay a visit to the Wordsworth Trust and Dove Cottage another of Wordsworth’s homes in the village. They usually have a great exhibition on too.
And if all else fails. Treat yourself to a fab Herdy Umbrella and do a bit of singing in the rain!
So I hope this has given you some ideas of what to do on a rainy day in Grasmere. Only one problem. I spent so much time enjoying myself wandering round the village my freezer had defrosted it’s self all over the floor, so it was not only wet outside but inside too!
Wandering around Grasmere over the Christmas period, I started thinking how things had changed over the years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Restaurant used to be a family home. Then it changed to a china shop and now restaurant.
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.
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.
It’s not often we have a brand new shop. Attic was a welcome addition to the village, situated next to 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.
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.
Another popular destination in Grasmere is the Herdy shop, tucked away in College Street. Looking very Christmassy!.
And mustn’t forget Heidi’s which looks Christmassy all year round.
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.