Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Literary pursuit of travel - poetry and the other Potter

In this post I invite you to visit the land of the Golden daffodils, the Lake district. Located in Northwestern England, the Lake district has been immortalized though its most famous poet, William Wordsworth. I however had another favorite author in mind when visiting the lakes. Beatrix Potter, who had stirred my imagination with her beautifully illustrated Garden pictures in her tale of Benjamin bunny. It was this countryside that I hoped to see on this adventure.

I couldn't resist the temptation to do a short but still memorable day trip from London to do a ten lakes tour. After careful planning and perusal, this meant catching a very early Virgin train out of London at 6 AM headed toward Glasgow. I'd switch to the local lake district train at Oxenholme and get down at Windermere, the entry point to the Lake district. Here I had booked a ten lakes spectacular tour, after which I'd repeat the train schedule to get back in London late at night.

A cheery conversation on the train with a Scotsman about Cricket (He loved the 20-20 format) and a Cornish pie later, I arrived at Windermere, still feeling a bit tired from the previous day's traveling around Oxford and the Cotswold villages. This was a Monday but I had taken the day off to make the tour.

The tour was pleasant but it was a cold spring day with an occasional hailstorm. We took a cruise on Derwent water which was pleasant and dreamy. 

Post cruise, it was a quick lunch stop at Keswick which is a beautiful English town. I couldn't help having a scone for lunch as I walked past a shop selling the fresh out of the oven.

Post lunch, we stopped by the spectacular Honister slate mine and pass which was a sight to behold. It was amazing to see the towering slate columns on both sides. Here's a picture for scale.

We also stopped at Castlerigg to see the stone circle, a sort of miniature but just as old Stonehenge. It was very intriguing to see. Then we went on to see the Wordsworth graves and daffodil garden at Grasmere. 

As we stopped here for a while, I couldn't help but sneak off to the bookstore around the corner to see if they still stocked the Beatrix Potter books. I was not disappointed! I returned with a full collection of stories in my hands and a happy smile on my face.

It was then time to head back to England. In retrospect I'd have chosen a smaller tour so as to not pack my day full. The English spring was predictably unpredictable and did its part with the intermittent rain which can be freezing up North. This however adds to the magic of the place.

The Lakes definitely deserve a longer visit with the delightful hikes they have to offer, but if you are pressed for time, they can be a satisfying albeit long day trip to see the beauty of the rolling hills and enchanting scenery.

1 comment:

Mike M said...

Lovely post - and the photographs are beautiful. Though in a different part of the country, it reminded me of my visit to the Wessex area in SW England: Stonehenge, Salisbury, etc. I remember thinking this is Hardy country - just as he described it.