UK's Amazing Lake District
The UK holds a special place in my heart and although I have visited and lived there, I can always find something new to see and do every time I am there. What really draws me back is a very special family that we have been friends with for 30 years.
My husband Mark and I met Rachael and Adam in 1986 in a place called Bhubaneswar, just south of Calcutta India. We were 4 of the 7 expats living in the area which was the best opportunity to become friends. Weekend dinner parties were common and adventurous, especially the night we had crab. All I can say is, the kitchen floor was covered with live crab.
Nine years later, when we moved to the UK for 18 months while Mark completed his Masters Degree, our children had the opportunity to meet and form a special relationship that continues today. We were living in the Midlands in a place called Cranfield while Rachael and Adam were living in a quaint little town 100km from our place called Woodbridge in Suffolk. My daughter and I would go once a month for the weekend while Mark studied. Before we left the UK to return to Canada, Rachel and Adam had moved to a beautiful 18th century home in Quorn, just south of Nottingham. Last year they moved to one of the prettiest places in the UK, a former fox hunting lodge owned by Sir John Crozier in the Lake District.
The nearest main town to their home is Keswick that sits between River Greta and Derwent Water Lake and is shadowed by England's fourth highest mountain called Skiddaw. This area is best know for it's exceptional hiking in the fells. Catbells is the most climbed fell in the area and although it may look easy, go prepared with proper hiking shoes. Our friends son frequently treks a combination of the fells that can be anywhere from 50-100km in a single day.
The town itself has tons of things to see and do as well as Michelin Starred restaurants close by. One of the museums in town is the Pencil museum. The Derwent Cumberland Pencil Company started in 1832 making pencils by hand. They later became well know for their coloured pencils. Just east of Keswick is Castlerigg stone Circle. It was constructed as part of the megalithic tradition that lasted from 3,300 to 900 BC. It consisted originally of 42 stones set in a circle surrounded by a dramatic ring of mountain peaks but only 38 remain ranging in height from 1m to 2.3m. The unusual feature of this site is that only Castlerigg and one other site in the U.K. Have a rectangle of standing stones within the circle. The exact significant of this site is relatively unknown other than it would have been a meeting place.
In 2006 Renee Zellweger starred in a movie call "Miss Potter", the story of Beatrix Potter which was filmed in and around Keswick. The reason that Keswick was chosen is that between 1885-1907, Beatrix took inspiration from the landscape and the people to write her series of Tales of Peter Rabbit. Her family spent their summers in a private home in Lingholm on the shores of Derwentwater. The gardens were amassed with red squirrels which led to " The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin". Today the area around this home pay homage to Beatrix and her stories. You can tour the walled garden of Fawe Park now called "Mr. McGreggor's Garden". If you flip through the illustrations of her books, you will see the Lake District from her eyes.
Travelling around the lake, there are many outstanding landmarks. One that had a fantastic view was Ashness Bridge. Upstream from this stone bridge is a cascading waterfall called Ashness Gill while looking downstream, captures the breathtaking view of the whole area. This view solidified my resolve to return to the Lake District and explore more.
The UK always provides new and fantastic experiences for me because of it's immense history but the Lake District now has a special draw.......beautiful lakes,.............amazing fells........ and fantastic friends!