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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We really have been having some gorgeous weather in Grasmere recently. It has been wonderful to see people sitting outside pubs and cafes soaking up the sunshine. Business has picked up since the A591 has reopened and things are more or less back to normal.
Almost overnight flags have appeared in the village as Grasmere gets ready to celebrate The Queen’s 90th Birthday.
If you are in Grasmere on Saturday 11th June why not come and join us. From 1-4pm we will be inviting people to bring their own picnic to the park. A little bird tells me The Wordsworth Hotel and Spa might even be offering complementary strawberries and cream.
In the park on Saturday there will be sports and trophies for all ages, Kendal Concert Band will be playing and Grasmere Glee Club. Grasmere Players will also be performing.
On Sunday 12th June at 4pm there will be a service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s Life.
A well known face in Grasmere Cameron Butland will be back to lead the service and there will be tea and cake for everyone afterwards.
So as you can see we are all ready to celebrate, lets hope the weather holds out just a little longer.
How many more flags will spring up tomorrow?
You will just have to visit us and see over the weekend.
Written in memory of my Father in law who built the shop above. Long time lover and resident of Grasmere.
Eric Shaw. Died 25/5/2016 a month from his 99th Birthday.
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!
As I sat happily writing this blog the river burst it’s banks and was flooding Stock Lane yet again. Luckily we had time to act and despite lapping at the doorstep it has not come inside, new carpets remain dry (so far). Due to the landslips on the fell, water flooded down Greenhead Ghyll and into the river causing it to overflow. Urgent action is needed to clear becks. The A591 to the North of Grasmere remains closed after storm damage and this has to be treated with the utmost urgency. Coaches are not going to come to Grasmere if they then find they have to go back to the M6 Via Kendal again. People need to get to work in Keswick. Schoolchildren come from Keswick to Grasmere School. Grasmere is effectively a cul-de-sac at the moment. More than ever we need people to support local businesses to help everyone get back to normal. Anyway, on with the reasons why Grasmere is great to visit!
As another year is about to come to a close, and Storm Frank is blowing outside giving Grasmere a sense of uncertainty about flooding again, it seems like a good time to look back at 2015.
A seasonal start to the year. A little snow and blue skies.
Snow on the tops and snowdrops appearing at Wordsworth’s Grave in the churchyard.
And the daffodils appear in the daffodil garden. Spring at last
Was taking a photo of the rainbow but who can spot the low-flying jet too?
The days are getting longer and the sky is blue.
One of the best sights at this time of the year. Lambs in the fields.
June is a great time for wild flowers in Grasmere. This field below Helm Crag was a delight.
Wouldn’t be Grasmere without the annual Rushbearing Ceremony.
And perfect weather for tea by the mere and perhaps a row on the lake.
You never know what is round the corner in Grasmere. Here is our “rush hour traffic”.
Grasmere Sports day dawned dry and bright and a great day was had by young and old alike.
Loads of Butterflies this year. Good to see.
Early morning is glorious in Grasmere.
Some cracking Fungi in Grasmere this Autumn.
Great lighting at this time of year too.
Autumn in Grasmere, a riot of colour.
And then came the rain, which I’m not going to dwell on as I have written enough about that for the time being. Grasmere is open and and ready for visitors.
And Grasmere wouldn’t be Grasmere without the Annual Grasmere Players Panto.
The Best of Wishes for 2016 and why not make your resolution to visit our village. We are ready and waiting to give you the best holiday ever!
For my own reference as much as anything. Storm Frank 30/12/2015
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.
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!.
A watery sunshine was trying to break through the mist.
I decided to wander up by Rydal caves and then decide which direction to continue in.
Gradually I was getting above the low cloud and arrived at a snowy Rydal caves.
Hardly a soul about. Crisp snow not too trampled yet.
Just a couple of folk on the horizon, and now well above the clouds.
Time to head back down to Grasmere.
It looked very cold down in the valley, it’s amazing how it can vary from one vale to the next.
It was starting to look very grey in the direction of Dunmail Raise. Allan Bank standing out across the lake.
The best part of the day had been and gone and it was getting very chilly. Time to head home for a warm drink.
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….