Today’s picture shows the centre of Keswick, where we went to see a show in their excellent theatre today.
The weather was cold but dry and Dropscone was back from France so what better way could there be to start the day than with a morning pedal?
So that’s what we did.
We went along the Wauchope road as far as Grange Quarry and back which gave us exactly twenty miles. Although not as strong as yesterday, the wind was still blowing enough to make the return journey cold and hard work. Fortunately Dropscone had not forgotten how to make scones so we were well fed and watered when we returned. As well as scones he had very kindly brought me back a present from France and there could be no better gift than the one that he had chosen for me.
For some reason, he and his children had not taken advantage of their visit to go to the museum of prunes while they were near Agen and they will regret this for the rest of their lives. (It was probably shut anyway being out of season.)
I had a few moments to stare out of the window….
…before we waved farewell to Dropscone as Mrs Tootlepedal and I jumped into our car and set off to have fun in Keswick before going to the theatre in the evening. For those of you who don’t know it, Keswick lies in the north of the Lake District, a national park and a popular haunt of tourists on account of its combination of lakes and hills. The Lake District hills are not enormously high, only a few of them rising about 3000 feet, but they are very scenic and we enjoy going to see them if we have time.
Approaching Keswick from the east, as we did today, your first real view of the hills comes as the road climbs to the top of a ridge and the northern hills lie before you. Today was rather grey and misty but the hills were still impressive at first sight. We stopped to eat our lunch in the car as we admired them.
Conveniently for us, the snow was only lying on the upper slopes of the hills and the roads and paths which we used were clear.
After a coffee at the theatre where we booked a pre theatre meal, we headed down to the end of Derwent Water and paid a visit to the Falls of Lodore. The poet Robert Southey had this to say about these falls:
The cataract strong
Then plunges along,
Striking and raging
As if a war waging
Its caverns and rocks among;
Rising and leaping,
Sinking and creeping,
Swelling and sweeping,
Showering and springing,
Flying and flinging,
Writhing and ringing,
Eddying and whisking,
Spouting and frisking,
Turning and twisting,
Around and around
With endless rebound:
Smiting and fighting,
A sight to delight in;
Dizzying and deafening the ear with its sound.
We found them slightly less exciting than he did but undeniably picturesque.
While I scrambled around trying in vain to find a vantage point to show the cascade at its best, Mrs Tootlepedal rested on a handy bench.
This was her view of the falls.
The stream comes through a very narrow and steep gap between two impressive crags but the great number of trees that surround it makes it hard to get clear pictures of it.
We walked down past the Lodore Hotel, admiring the fortitude of a couple chatting away in an open air hot jacuzzi a few feet from the foot path. Crossing the busy road we came to a splendid footpath which took us across the flat ground at the end of Derwent Water.
The path was newly constructed as the boggy ground here has become worse over the years and there was a fine new bridge to cross the river Derwent.
We walked round to the other side of the lake and then retraced our steps. It was beautiful.
We enjoyed seeing some of the native Herdwick sheep.
Finally, and only when we had got back to the car, the clouds broke up enough to let a little sunshine through. I took two pictures of Skiddaw, a 3000ft peak in the northern fells.
Then it was time to put the camera away and visit Keswick itself. Here we bought a walking pole for Mrs Tootlepedal as recent walks have persuaded her that it might be a good thing to have in the hand when crossing streams or climbing down rocky paths. I am looking for one which will act as a camera monopod as well but we couldn’t find one of these (I have ordered one via the internet which was what the shop advised me to do).
We walked around the town, had a coffee and then headed back to the theatre for our meal. This came in the form of hot pies which were very good, Mrs Tootlepedal going for a pork pie while I had a venison and rabbit pie.
The show was a very amusing take on the Pirates of Penzance. It was done by a small but energetic company, The Opera Della Luna, which we have seen before at the Buccleuch Centre in Langholm. The first half consisted of a vicar holding auditions for the proposed performance and consisted of a selection of G&S songs from various operettas interspersed with some really good jokes of the tears to your eyes variety. The second half was a condensed version of the Pirates, bursting with good idea and with a very funny section of crinoline gags, not something you see every day.
I should say the we had brought seats in the circle but the rake was so steep and the circle so high that my vertigo kicked in. It was looking like an uncomfortable evening for me but the management kindly found us a couple of seats downstairs. Full marks to them for customer care.
The journey home was smooth and uneventful and rounded off another good day out. There is nothing Mrs Tootlepedal likes better than a good day out (except possibly, manure) so she was very contented. If I can get a good show and a photo opportunity, then I am happy so as we retire for the night, the Tootlepedal household is in a state of great serenity.
I did have time for a flying chaffinch before we left.