Day One of Our Northern Adventures

Rising early was not happening, well, it was on the cards, to be up early and walk about the village, take in the sights of village life before returning for breakfast and heading off for a day filled with adventure and exploration. What actually happened though was more along these lines: slept in til mid-morning, stumbled down stairs, literally, had a cuppa and some toast, mild panic as was now approaching noon, quick shower and ran out the door to go see something before the day was over.

The ‘something’ we saw however was an old favourite, Beatrix Potter’s home at Hill Top, a wander through the gardens there, and a longer pause to take in the scenery – I know I keep going on about the rolling hills of fields, and you must be thinking I’m losing my mind, what’s so special about them, they’re just green paddocks. But that’s just it, they’re different. Up here they’re more like the ones in Ballarat, lined with darker stone rock walls, darker green grass that’s thick and heavy that sort of tumbles over the fields, rather than blowing in the breeze. The trees here hang low, their branches reaching not towards the heavens, but towards the roads and houses, they too are ‘heavy’, as though the atmosphere here is weighed down by some invisible force. The further south you travel it slides up an imagined scale to the other end, where the trees grow tall and proud, the branches wide and flowing, the fields more open and a yellow-green, rather than the dense blue-green of up north. It’s amazing to see such stark differences between the various regions, given that all of them are really not that far apart by Australian standards (the variance is only 500kms, not into the thousands), and yet they’re are so very different, it’s easy to see then too how this has shaped the personalities and traits of the people who call these areas home.

After Hill Top we ventured further up around Ambleside to visit the home of another writer, the home of William Wordsworth which in its day saw a rather remarkable list of visitors cross its threshold, including Coleridge (whose home we visited early in our trip), Emerson, and other luminaries of the day. Having now spent a good deal of the afternoon rambling around the Lakes we decided it may be time to do some grocery shopping and our intended supermarket was located in Penrith. In a stroke of what we can only call ‘brilliance’ Ducky-Foo navigated us back from Wordsworth’s and on our way… right through Kirkstone Pass… the very road I did not want to drive again (as it’s now the third time I’ve driven it) which meant a ‘quick’ trip to Penrith was now a much more gruelling one. If you’re unfamiliar with this route may I suggest you Google it, then ‘drive’ it yourself and you’ll see why at 4.30pm on a dimming and misty afternoon I didn’t especially wish to be driving it. Nevermind. We made it and of course thoroughly enjoyed ourselves once in Sainsbury’s and now have an abundance of goodies to nosh our way through for the coming weeks.

For reference, this is part of the Kirkstone Pass, the only point where you can actually stop and have a break, and let your brakes cool down.