A short trip to the Lake District, Windermere – Part 2

The continuation of my first day in the Lake District is here! In my last post, I covered the first part of this day. I walked over 20Km from Windermere Town to Claife Viewing point.

After Claife’s viewing point, the suggested route was actually going alongside lake Windermere, but I was still wondering whether I should visit the place where the famous Beatrix Potter lived. So I decided to go in a different direction. If I’m telling the truth, a part of me also wanted to go against what you are supposed to do. Over there, in the wilderness of the Lake District, I felt free. I felt I could do anything, and at that point, I wanted to simply walk where my feet were naturally taking me, almost as if I was letting my heart, my soul, take control. When you are in touch with nature, you are in touch with yourself – we are all made of the same matter. And my instinct was right. I took a different route – a lonely one, with barely any human being in sight, but a route that filled me with peace and with time to simply breathe, walk at the speed I wanted to walk to and stop when I wanted to simply take in everything around me.

I found some randomly abandoned stables.

And beautiful cottages along the way, the kind of places I imagine myself retreating to later in my life if I can ever afford to do so.

I did finally reach the point where I could have visited Beatrix Potter’s cottage. I did give it a pass. The weather was just perfect and I was enjoying being outdoors. The last thing I wanted was to be crammed indoors, just to visit a touristy spot, full of others who had reached that point in organised tour buses. Don’t take me wrong – I got nothing against such tours or such travellers who take them. Everyone with their own. But I was feeling free. Freedom only can be felt when you are in such places. I did still take some pictures of the lovely cottages around it, some of them which seemed to have been the inspiration for the children’s tales Potter wrote herself. But my walk went on and on.

Besides the immense greenery, I could see the wildlife surrounding one of the smallest and lesser-known lakes of the Lake District – Esthwaite Water.

I also found this fountain by the road, apparently dating to 1891. ” To the memory of happy days” it says. It made me wonder about those times, about the people who had lives filled with the joys that only certain places, at certain times can provide. It made me feel that nostalgia for times I never lived or experienced myself.

I went down a very muddy path pointing me in the direction of Wray Castle, my next stop. With my boots getting stuck in the mud, I did wonder whether the National Trust was playing pranks on me. But the grounds became more solid and I survived without getting myself buried in mud.

At this point, I was feeling the need to rest a little and have something to eat. Unfortunately, the castle was closed for renovation works, but the view was still splendid, and there was a cafe opened where I stopped for a while, had some juice and a pastry and used the restroom as well. But what a castle – a neo-gothic building, that has belonged to the National Trust since 1929 – with amazing views of Windermere lake and also to its peaks.

It seems this was built in 1840 by a retired Liverpudlian surgeon, James Dawson. Upon his death, the estate passed on to his 15-year-old nephew but in 1877, his cousin, Hardwicke Rawnsley, took up the appointment of vicar at Wray Church. And he was one of the founders of the National Trust itself, an idea that was given to him by poet John Ruskin. The National Trust is one of the biggest conservation charities in Europe, dedicated to protecting and preserving the natural beauty of our forests and the historical places in the United Kingdom.

Still interesting to note that while under the National Trust’s wing, this place has served multiple purposes. In 1929 it was a youth hostel. For over 20 years it also housed the offices of the Freshwater Biological Association and, from 1958 to 1998 it was a training college for Merchant Navy radio officers, with over 100 cadets living and studying in its quarters.

It’s been only in the past ten years that the Wray Castle has become a visitor attraction between March to October. Yet, whether you can visit it or not, it definitely brings something unique to the landscape, making it even more mystical. Imagine having the money to simply build a castle by the lake… and not even being a royal! Or simply, being a student, living on such grounds.

By this time, my legs had walked quite a lot, and it was the hour of thinking of getting back. Except that no way I could walk back to Windermere. Google Maps is always my best friend, even in such remote areas, telling me I was about 25 minutes away from a bus stop. There was a bus coming in every hour, so I set off to catch it, having a quick glance at what was still around me.

I was slightly afraid the bus wouldn’t show. I didn’t even have a bus stop, I was just standing by the road in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, while 7 minutes late, the bus did show, full of walkers like myself. I remember thinking less alone – I was not the only one after all, and the only one that had ventured into to depths of the Lake District without the comforts of a car or organised tour. It made me feel that while more difficult, it is indeed possible to go to these places and enjoy them without a car…. just make sure you get your schedule right. But even the bus fare was so expensive… for a single 20-minute ride back to Windermere town I paid about £10! Of course, it would have taken me over 2 hours walking if not even more… you don’t get taxis in the middle of nowhere, but you sure pay the same price you would pay for a cab for a cramped bus ride.

I got off the bus, I went to see the little shops around town and bought some dinner to have back at the hotel.

The corner shop is definitely a great place to get souvenirs if you fancy, with crafts from smaller businesses. But, on this day, I just got my food from Coop and headed back to the hotel for a warm shower and to give my reliable legs and feet the rest they deserved.

And this was my first day in Windermere. For the first part, read here.

Love, Nic


4 thoughts on “A short trip to the Lake District, Windermere – Part 2

  1. Lovely green and open fields … and some gems like the abandoned stables, picturesque cottage, a castle and once again the beautiful views of the lake. This was certainly a great walk (and a long one) – happy that the (expensive) bus could take you back 😉.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have enjoyed reading about more of your Lake District adventures Nic. I am a firm believer in your ‘lonely route’ approach. The peace and quiet is what we often look for too, plus you nearly always stumble upon some delightful surprises, like your stables and cottage. Wray Castle is an absolute gem, both itself and the surrounding views it has from all angles. Sladja and I went to Near Sawrey in March and toured Hill Top Fam, Beatrix Potter’s former home. It was just wonderful, I’m looking forward to blogging it up one of these years.

    Liked by 1 person

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