TBH and I had a day off together whilst my parents took the ankle-biters to a safari park. (S particularly liked the ‘bamboos’ which ‘can take a car to pieces’ apparently)
We parked at White Moss between Rydal Water and Grasmere, crossed the river which runs between the two, and then followed the shore of Rydal Water. This took us away from our intended lunch stop in Grasmere which offended TBH’s natural instinct for preservation, but I managed to convince her that it wouldn’t be too far, and that Grasmere wouldn’t be shut if we were a little late for lunch.
We were soon at the far end of the lake and then arrived at the hamlet of Rydal. The Wordsworths lived here, at Rydal Mount, from 1813 to 1850.
Before we passed Rydal Mount we had investigated the small church here, St. Mary’s, built in 1824.
I’m a sucker for stained glass windows…
We followed the Old Corpse Path from Rydal. This is the route which was used to bring coffins from Ambleside to Grasmere before Ambleside had its own church. It’s a lovely route, a little way up the hillside and so giving excellent views across the lake. We passed White Moss Tarn – also known as Skater’s Tarn or Wordsworth’s Tarn – where apparently Wordsworth used to skate, and then dropped down past Dove Cottage another former residence of both the Wordsworths and later De Quincey, the famous opium eater, and his family. On a walk not dissimilar to this one a few years ago I looked around Rydal Mount and then did the guided tour at Dove Cottage. If you only have time for one, I strongly recommend Dove Cottage, where the talk given on the guided tour was absolutely fascinating. The gallery here is also always well worth a visit.
Silver How seen from near Grasmere.
We were ready for our lunch however and pushed on into Grasmere and the Riverside cafe where we enjoyed an excellent meal.
After lunch we made a visit to Saint Oswald’s, which unlike Saint Mary’s is, in part at least, a very ancient building.
Many members of the Wordsworth family, including William, Mary and Dorothy, are buried in the churchyard here.
We’d had odd short-lived light showers – the sort of day when as soon as you put your coat on you feel that you should perhaps take it off again. Now, as we began our climb towards Silver How, it began to rain more persistently. Our way was brightened by these little bog violets, butterwort…
One of Britain’s two insectivorous plants.
We were cheered also by the Ginger Chews, ‘produce of Indonesia’, which we had bought in Sarah Nelson’s along with some Grasmere Gingerbread as a treat for the kids. We both remember enjoying these sweets when we went to Indonesia several years ago. In particular, I can recall eating them when we walked on the Dieng Plateau and visited some temples and hot mud pools.
No danger of any hot mud pools on the Silver How plateau. Cold rain, yes.
Lang How in the foreground, right of centre, Langdale Pikes behind, raindrops on the camera lens.
I imagine that in better weather Silver How is a good place to sit down and take in the views, but we pressed on.
Grasmere and Rydal Water.
As we followed the ridge down over Spedding Crag and Dow Bank we continuously heard a cuckoo calling – first some where below us and then apparently from the trees ahead.
We passed a small tarn, unnamed on the map, full of bog cotton and…
…the delectable bogbean.
We descended past an area where there will shortly be, I suspect, a quite stunning display of foxgloves.
Helm Crag and Grasmere.
And then descended Loughrigg Terrace. The hillside below the path was blushed blue with our native hyacinths, the sight and the scent were both tremendous.
(These last two photos courtesy of TBH – my camera’s batteries were out)