Saturday, September 26, 2015

Aira Force

On our way home from Keswick in July we made a couple of small stops.  First, at Castlerigg, a stone circle that is older than Stonehenge though not as impressive in size.

Ella woke up with a fever, poor girl, but thankfully, the places KJ wanted to stop didn't require too much walking. We were able to park right outside Castlerigg on the road.

 

We next drove a little further for a picnic lunch with our friend Liesal, who we were giving a ride to the train station, and a short walk to see Aira Force, which is a great name for a waterfall, right?


There were some pretty magnificent trees, including this "money tree."


I have no idea how long this phenomenon took to happen.


Part way up the path there was a nice view of the lake.


The waterfall was really beautiful.


There was a pretty great view from the bridge.  You can see how steep the drop is by the stone stairs in the background.  I did a quick little video with my phone, kind of afraid that I would drop it to its death.



We walked down some steps on the other side to a peaceful pool at the bottom of the fall.  It was the kind of place you'd like to just stay awhile.


Except maybe not if you have a fever.


This spruce tree was pretty amazing.  KJ got this great shot of Ella beside it.


James found a small woodland throne.


And ever since the kids spent an afternoon learning about wildflowers at Fountains Abbey, they remind me not to touch the Foxglove, which is beautiful but poisonous.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Keswick

The very first time KJ and I came to England in October 2011 we planned to visit Beatrix Potter's house in the Lake District.  Of course, where we ended up was not her house at all, but that's not really the point of this story.

On the way there KJ drove us into Keswick and pulled up outside a building and said, "This is where the Keswick Convention happens.  It's very famous."  Or he said something like that, and I nodded vaguely and said, "Why are we stopping here?" or something to that effect.  Little did I know the Keswick Convention would be something I heard a lot about 3 years later.


The Keswick Convention has been happening for the past 140 years, and we were introduced to its present-day format a bit this past July.  It's free to attend and lasts for 3 weeks.   You can come for as long or short a time as you like.  There are meetings (services, as we Americans would call them) in the morning and at night, and there are tents set up for children as well where they sing songs, hear a story from the Bible, and make a craft.  We were there for about 3 days, as our planned week got a little cut short by sickness.  During the afternoons we spent time at the lake one day and went on a walk/hike the next.  


The Lake District is absolutely stunning.  

 

Keswick reminds me a lot of Gatlinburg, colder and with less touristy gimmicks.  But it's a very walkable town with outdoor stores and people camping and hiking, and on the last day we were there, I promise you I saw a Native American selling things in the square.  I have no idea what he was doing there, but it only added to my "Gatlinburg of England" theory.  Of course the main similarity are the mountains all around, even though they are different sorts of mountains.

 Ella brought me these lovely flowers.


It was not a very warm week, but the sun came and went, and there wasn't rain.


Our walk on Thursday was filled with loveliness.


We spent so much time resting here, letting the kids try to make it up that hill.  James's cries of frustration still ring in my ears.


The higher we went the better the views.  Aren't the mountainsides lovely covered in ferns?


The walk wasn't too strenuous, but this hill was killer.  I had to stop for lots of "breathing" breaks.


We were happy to make it to the top where the sheep grazed peacefully.  We tried hard not to sit in sheep poop.


I've heard more about the deforestation of England since moving here, and while it is sad to lose so many trees, you really can't beat these views.

 

I think if you plan a trip to England, you'll receive a lot more enjoyment out of coming to places like this than in seeing all the monuments in London, as fun as those things are.  I would allot more time for the Lake District.