The Lake District, and the Glasgow Connection
02 April 2019
After a pleasant couple of days in Kelso we took to the road again on Monday morning and stocked up with shopping at Sainsbury's before heading south west towards Hawick, then south down the A7 to Carlisle. The weather was clear but cold, and traffic was quite light. After Carlisle we were on the M6 for a bit then peeled off to the right along the A66 into Keswick. A lovely little town, absolutely full of people with dogs, shopping as if there was no tomorrow.
After a slight couple of glitches, one from our GPS and the other from confusion caused by the dizzy array of campsites, we finally found the one we had booked into for two nights. It was a Camping and Caravanning Club site, and we have found that a number of them won't let you book for just one night. They say it saves them work, but it doesn't suit the in transit campervan, trying to get somewhere else further down the road!
Ah well, we settled in and basically just chilled out for the afternoon, only venturing out to walk the dog, or to go for a stroll up the street to find the original branch of Rohan, our favourite outdoor clothes store. Sure enough we found it, with original jackets framed behind glass high on the walls of the men's section. We ended up buying ourselves new jackets, lightweight waterproof windproof and breathable, what more could one ask for? Magic.
There was rain in the night, noisy on the van roof, but I didn't notice it much as I went to bed early and promptly fell asleep. In the morning looking outside the high hills surrounding the town were clad in snow.
We decided to get the boots on and go for a walk along the shore of Derwentwater. Setting out at 9am we stole a march on the B and B brigade, still enjoying their full English breakfasts no doubt. Hardly a soul about. On our return journey two hours later we were met by hordes of people, most with dogs.
The walk along the paths by the water was lovely, taking us past a big harbour full of for-hire rowing boats and tourist launches, and a Theatre! I later tried to get a ticket for their Strindberg play 'Miss Julie' but found it was sold out. The alternative, a musical based on Wind in the Willows, didn't appeal, so no theatre for me tonight! The views across the lake and of the snow covered hills were beautiful, and we moved along at a good pace, finally pausing on a bench for a rest, where a local man engaged us in conversation. We did touch on Brexit, eventually, and realised that he had a bit of a closed mind on a lot of things. Like 'all politicians are corrupt and in it for their own personal gain', as one example. We did however have an interesting discussion of how Cumbria and Northumberland have more everyday dealings across the border in Scotland than people tend to realise, making the prospect of an independent Scotland problematic for them. Quite!
We parted amicably after a while, armed with his advice on the further stretch of the walk along the lakeside. However after a short easy stretch we ended up in a difficult spot, and we had to climb a steep bank to get out of it. That decided us to turn and come back, just in time for lunch. Our elderly guidebook courtesy of Norah had an interesting section about Keswick, and mentioned a church of St Kentigern in the town, founded by him in 553 AD. So we tracked it down on the map and walked slightly out of the town to find it. It is now a huge building of cathedral-like proportions, most recently renovated in the late nineteenth century by George Gilbert Scott. It was strange to find this link with Glasgow here in the Lake District, but apparently St Kentigern travelled south from Glasgow through Cumbria into Wales, founding churches on the way, and this was one of them.
Not only were the bird, the fish, the bell and the tree featured on the gate of the church, but Keswick School next door had the same emblems on its badge. Amazing!
Our attempt to visit the Pencil Museum, beside the old Cumberland Pencil Works, fell at the first fence as we arrived just as it was closing. Perhaps another time.
Off again on Wednesday to Anglesey, to the next stage of the journey. More anon