Sunday, 14 September 2014

Following the trail of Wainwright’s Boots

 Alfred Wainwright wrote his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells between 1952 and 1966.

 The simple line drawings and clear concise directions make the seven pocket sized guides almost as essential as good walking boots.

 Wainwright was born into poverty in the Lancashire town of Blackburn in 1907. The son of a stonemason, he left school when he was 13 and became an office boy in Blackburn Borough Engineer's Department.

 At the age of 23 he managed a holiday away from home, to the Lake District. It was love at first sight. In his book Fellwanderer, Wainwright described his first visit there.
"I was utterly enslaved by all I saw," he said. "Here were no huge factories, but mountains; no stagnant canals, but sparkling crystal-clear rivers; no cinder paths, but beckoning tracks that clamber through bracken and heather to the silent vastnesses of the hills. That week changed my life."

 He qualified as an accountant and moved to Kendal in 1941, rising to become Borough Treasurer seven years later.
He spent every spare moment walking the fells that he loved so deeply.

 Alfred Wainwright was Honorary Clerk and Curator to Kendal Museum from 1945-1974. An exhibit in the museum recreates his office with many of his original pen and ink drawings on display.

 Many people visiting the museum still remember him sitting in the museum office, under a large no smoking sign, smoking his pipe.

 When, George Miller Rigg opened The Bookworm bookshop in Highgate Kendal (where the Rug Emporium now stands), Alfred Wainwright, presented him with a pair of his walking boots. The boots were in the window of the shop for years but were donated back to Mr Wainwright’s widow Betty and are now in Kendal Museum.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A Lovely Walk to High and Low Dam Tarns.

High and Low Dam Tarns. 

A 2 mile walk, perfect for a warm morning or afternoon.

Make your way by car to Stott Bobbin Mill and park in the car park on the road above the Mill car parks.  Look out for this plaque which gives you an informative relief map of the walk.

The track leads uphill from the car park besides the stream to reach the pretty little tarn of Low Dam, which is surrounded by larch and silver birch.  If you are lucky, like Islay and I here, you'll be walking through dappled sunshine and stop for a paddle on the way.

Low Dam Tarn

This rusty old valve, in the dam wall, is a reminder of the time that the reservoirs ensured constant water pressure for Stott Mill's turbine.  Don't cross over the dam wall as Islay was inclined to do.  But instead use the footbridge to cross over the stream and continue up hill.

Soon you will reach the higher stone dam of High Dam Tarn.  This is the tarn which captivated me into saying "surely the prettiest in the Lake District".

Again, I didn't cross over the dam wall here, but continued on round the tarn finding lovely little picnic spots, like the one above, on the way.  At the north end of the tarn, keep the tarn firmly on your left, where little bridges and board walks span boggy areas.

The path climbs higher now on the slopes of Great Green How.  If you have time there's just one seat to rest and appreciate the view.

In early Autumn there are fairy dells of toadstools and in spring the slopes are scattered with clumps of primroses.

Finish your walk by crossing over the dam of Low Dam Tarn and continuing back to your car by the way that you came.  This walk took me an hour and a half but by paddling and picnicing and resting it could easily take half a day.

Janet and Islay  3rd September 2014

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A Spring Welcome 2014

"Let daffodils lift your spirits as you arrive at Ghyll Stile Mill Cottage in early Spring"

Walking round or resting in the gardens reassuringly reveals new life, as flowers begin to unfold and face the sunshine.

Wildflowers are appearing too along the banks of the streams flowing through Ghyll Stile.


Sunday, 2 March 2014


Ghyll Stile Cottages and its people - winter 2014

A warm welcome awaits you at Ghyll Stile Mill Cottage. 

You may meet anyone of my family pictured here below, if you visit Ghyll Stile.  Although on a permanent basis just three of us live here.  Nick, my husband. Jessie, my Mum. And me, Janet.

This is the first view that you will get this winter as you drive or walk down our little lane.  The building on the left is our self catering holiday cottage and the one in the distance is our own home............

We enjoy having visitors at Ghyll Stile Mill Cottage.  We like to be neighbourly but we definitely won't intrude on your privacy.