So the first full day of our week in Grasmere. Time to go and investigate the hotel breakfast. It consisted of fairly typical hotel options. There was a table full of cereals and fruit, and from the kitchen, they supplied cooked breakfasts with copious amounts of toast and coffee. It was good except, as we discovered on subsequent days, taking one or two things off the full breakfast didn’t mean you got more of the other things. Anyway, it was a “tester” session, so we tested.
We’d decided the previous day to split up in the morning. Ami wanted to walk up a hill. Izzy didn’t. Not a big one, anyway. So Kas took Ami in one direction and I took Izzy in another. Some human Brownian motion, in fact.
The closest hill of note to the hotel was Stone Arthur. It seems debatable whether it is or isn’t a different hill to its parent, Great Rigg. But for this purpose we shall concur with Alfred Wainwright, even though that means two of us have completed a Wainwright that the other two haven’t.
Obviously, not having been there myself, I don’t have a lot to say. Kas reported that Ami was off like a proverbial rat up a drainpipe, at least for the first stretch. Their walk took them up an initial straight slope and then around more of a gradual slope around a “noggin” to reach the fairly well-disguised summit point.
By the look of the photo here, the view from the top was acceptably good.
Izzy and me chose to visit Rydal. There were a couple of physical caches and a set of Adventure Labs that we could do whilst having a pleasant walk around. It was uphill from where we parked (just off the main road) but not as far uphill as a proper hill walk.
I squeezed into Pelter Bridge Car Park, which nestles in the valley where the River Rothay flows from Rydal Water on its way down to Windermere. From here we had a short walk through woods and over the main road before climbing up on the road towards Rydal Hall and Rydal Mount. We were doing a geocache whilst walking up, collecting clues from around the church and up the road.
Rydal Hall has a big house that’s not accessible to Joe Public, as well as free-to-access gardens. It also has quite a lot of camping space, much of which was full. It was quite late in the morning but people in the campsite still seemed to be very much in “breakfast” mode. I thought campers got up early.
Back at the plot, we walked around the gardens finishing off Adventure Labs and finding caches for an hour or so and then I got hit by the need to make a comfort break. So we retreated over to the nearby Rydal Mount to see what was what.
Rydal Mount is the former home of William Wordsworth. You know, the bloke who wandered around this area finding and writing poems about daffodils. The building and gardens are still owned by his descendants and they make a meagre few groats by charging people to look around. They make a few more groats by charging people for coffee, cake and ice cream, so we allowed them to extract some money for that before anything else.
Our food and drinks were delivered to a cast-iron circular table on the patio at the front of the building. It was pretty decent weather so we were happy enough. We also allowed them to take enough money off us to cover two entry tickets for tours of the house. Well, we might as well.
The house was maybe a little disappointing. Much of the upstairs is inaccessible because members of the family still live there. Indeed they use the downstairs during the day too. But upstairs you could see one small bedroom and an attic room that was being set up for an art display. Downstairs we were given a fairly long talk covering the two main rooms at the front of the house. First was the original (and only) living room of what was a very small cottage. Second was the somewhat grander living room of the extension. Is it still an extension if it’s three times the size of the original?
I think Izzy enjoyed it more than I did, even though it was tricky because, somewhere, she’d dropped her facemask. I only had one, so I couldn’t help unless we did the tour separately. For me, the tour was a bit dull, to be honest. Maybe that is because it was about a subject that doesn’t interest me very much. I maybe also wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I’m glad I went though.
On the way back to the car we stopped in a couple of places to see if we could find Izzy’s facemask. Eventually we found it at the side of the road about 100m from the car.
Back at the car, we’d got a message from Kas to say they were on their way back down. So we drove back to Grasmere to meet them and discuss lunch.
The agreed approach for lunch was to go to Ambleside, and we were ready to go more or less immediately. That meant trying to find somewhere to park, which proved troublesome and time-consuming. Lunch was provided by a branch of a chain coffee shop. The one that rhymes with Hosta and roster. There was a bit of an issue because the payment transaction failed and it wasn’t clear whether we’d been charged or not. When the system came back we paid again and we were invited to check or banking app in the week and go back if we’d been charged twice.
After lunch we did a bit of walking around. I was trying to work on another set of Adventure Labs and Izzy wanted to buy some rocks. There’s a specialist rock shop, so that was her happy for a while. I was less than happy because I could get a stable signal. Every time I was in the right zone to answer a question I lost signal and couldn’t answer it. So I had to do a series of repetitive shuffles around the town to try to find signal. Annoying. A 10-minute exercise took over half an hour.
After all this I requested that we walk up to Stockghyll Force to finsih the Ad Labs series. We’d been up there on our previous holiday in the Lakes (in 2019). On that day it was a brief couple of hours of dry weather on a day when otherwise it rained all day. Today was a bit drier. Again I couldn’t do the Adventure Lab stage as I had no phone signal, so I was in a bit of a grump. This became a running theme for the holiday. I’d already got the coordinates for the bonus cache so that was OK, and as it turned out, phone signal returned halfway down the hill and once you’ve been into the right zone with the app running you can answer later. So I was able to complete the series.
It was getting late in the afternoon by the time we’d done all this, so we jumped in the car and went back to the hotel.
Dinner in Grasmere
We’d decided to walk into Grasmere for dinner to see what was what.
We found Harley’s, a nice little bistro in a converted church building. They were able to accommodate us without booking but were closing quite early. That’s a thing in Grasmere apparently. People turn up on busses during the day to wander around the church and a Wordsworth museum. They have a coffee in the afternoon, then they get back on the bus and go home. So Grasmere has little nightlife. Even the people staying in the village tend to stay in their hotel to eat. Back at the plot, they did beer which was cold and wet. And they did a range of pizzas, pastas, salads and other stuff. Everything we had was good, so that was a bit of a result.
The walk back to the hotel involved putting one foot in front of the other. That can be complex and strenuous, so we sat in the bar for a while and had a drink before going to bed. It had been a fairly full day.