Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Messing about in boats

Tuesday 22nd August

Today I was almost oppressed by the range of places to visit in the area, but a little depressed that the weather might fold in upon us with cold and rain. I decided to go back to Ambleside first, where I spent a good hour, and then kept going around to the east of Lake Windermere to 'the other Bowness'.

Before reaching it, I pulled into the Windermere Steamboat Museum, and booked a noon ride for us on one of the working steam-powered launches. It was amazingly how quiet the boat was, and with only five other passengers (at the other end of the boat from us) I was able to chat to the skipper and crew/tea-lady while we chugged past Bowness-on-Windermere, passing various watercraft, ducks, cormorants, and rounding an island. The steam-engine (fueled from some buckets of coal next to the skipper) seemed to have a kettle built into it for making our tea. We were fortunate that the sun decided to come out after we'd only been on the water for 5 minutes.

Bowness itself was overrun with day-trippers,and after nearly giving up due to the car-parks all being full, I lucked onto a free-spot in a side-spot and I then took my time to look around.

Mid-afternoon we hopped in the queue for the car-ferry leaving from just south of Bowness, crossing Lake Windermere at one of its narrowest points in the direction of Hawkshead and Coniston. The ferry only takes 18 cars and we were lucky that we only had a short wait, as the queue on the other side was substantial, making any time-saving with a ferry crossing unlikely. Of course the roads are so narrow, that it would be difficult for many to even turn around and take the road route. Just over the other side, one passes Beatrix Potter's farmhouse Hilltop. The first fiction book I owned was her Tale of Samuel Whiskers, (download) whose drawings are based on this property.

In Hawkshead we caught the end of their Agricultural Show, the centre-ring events long over and only the stalls, exhausted officials and boozy farmers remaining. To Bondi it was a feast of smells with every inch of grass seeming to be rich with the tracks of horses, dogs, cattle, alpacas and boozy farmers.

The ivy on the main house at Bankground reminded me of one of the monsters from Where the Wild Things Are...

No comments:

Post a Comment