Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District

Blackwell : Baille Scott’s masterpiece

Blackwell Exterior -®LATRecently restored, Blackwell was built in 1900 as a holiday retreat for a wealthy Manchester brewery owner, just south of Bowness overlooking Windermere.  (About 30 minutes drive from Sykehouse Cottage on the eastern side of Windermere.)  The house is of international importance and was given a Grade 1 listing in 1998.  So, although it’s quite expensive to visit (£7.20 Adults; Children up to 16 Free), it is DEFINITELY worth the money if you are interested in the Arts and Crafts.

It is a truly wonderful example of Arts and Crafts architecture, with many original decorative features still intact and there is a school of thought that Blackwell is such a complete vision precisely because it was built as a holiday home in the Lake District rather than a day to day residence.  Think about it: who could live up to the designer’s perfect vision 24 – 7Blackwell dining room stained glass -®LAT?

The rooms are carefully furnished with the blend of Arts and Crafts and early country-made furniture advocated by Baillie Scott, containing many pieces by the leading Arts & Crafts designers and studios – furniture by Morris & Co and Voysey, metalwork by W A S Benson and ceramics by Ruskin Pottery and William de Morgan.

The curators want you to experience this first hand and, deliciously, visitors are encouraged to sit and soak up the atmosphere in the beautiful fireplace inglenooks and are free to enjoy the house as it was originally intended, without roped-off areas.

Blackwell The White Drawing Room -®LAT

The White Drawing Room

The house also run a series of well curated exhibitions and displays, usually with an Arts and Crafts feel, throughout the year and have a lovely Tea Room.

The first show of the year is called New Glass – Ancient Skill, Contemporary Artform.  With a selection from the UK and Europe, the selling exhibition includes the work of established and emerging makers as well as drawings, models and photographic documentation of processes.  Works will be shown in the exhibition galleries and through the house itself.  The show is the first collaboration between the Lakeland Arts Trust and the Contemporary Glass Society and runs from 31st January to 12th May 2013.

Further details can be found by visiting Blackwell’s own site here.

Cumberland Sausage

Local man and ex chef, Gary McClure, caused quite a stir last August when his 11ft wide coiled sausage arrived in Broughton’s market square.  The Cumberland Sausage was cooked on portable barbecues and held by a specially made skillet in a successful attempt to break the World Record for the biggest ever continuous sausage ring.  This was filmed by Channel 5 and broadcast in January 2013.

Cumberland sausage ring

Cumberland sausage is a local speciality and each butcher has their own recipe.  No one knows how the sausage got its distinctive rope shape and spiced taste.  Though there are several speculations.  The spices maybe because of the spice ships sailing into Whitehaven during the 18th century when the town was the third largest port in the country.  It has been suggested that the coiled loops were just more practical but I prefer the possibility that they were first made by the German miners who came to Cumbria during Elizabeth 1’s reign as a reminder of their Bregenwurst from home.  Whatever the true provenance, the Cumberland sausage, it soon became a well established feature on the household menu in Cumbria.

Since 2011 the sausage has Protected Geographical Indication status under EU law and so, like Cornish clotted cream and Stilton cheese, it can only be made in Cumbria and be sold in a long coil.

So when you come and stay at Sykehouse Cottage, you should pop into Melville Tyson’s, the butchers in Broughton in Furness and buy a length of their own delicious Cumberland Sausage – a perfect teatime treat after a long walk.

Broughton Village Bakery

Wonderful display of breads, pastries and cakes at the Broughton Village Bakery

Wonderful display of breads, pastries and cakes at the Broughton Village Bakery

When Shaun & Christina Bryant took over the bakery in October 2011, the whole of Broughton held their breath.  The previous owners, Lara and Darren, had made such a good job of running the bakery and cafe that it quickly became a tourist and local favourite.  Broughton is a small town and each business is important to the welfare of the local economy so when we learnt that they were novices at the game, well, there were a lot of raised eyebrows.

We needn’t have worried.

They have just appeared in ITV’s “Britain’s Best Bakery” winning both the Lake District and the Northern Regional final.  How fantastic is that?

What’s more, it is open at 9am every day except Monday so you can walk down Church Street and have a lovely coffee and croissant for breakfast …

My personal favourite to take home is their Cheese and Herb Plait – great toasted then spread with butter and Marmite.

Ulverston’s WalkFest 2013

Eric Robson and Alfred Wainwright, photographed by Richard Else

Eric Robson (left) and Alfred Wainwright (right), photographed by Richard Else

Why not stay at Sykehouse Cottage and enjoy Ulverston’s WalkFest 2013?

This is a lovely ten day festival of walks and evening events that celebrate the cultural and historical aspects of Ulverston.  This year’s festival take place between Saturday April 27th until Monday May 6th 2013.  Walks include “In the Footsteps of the Quakers”, “Walks for Wheels”, nature walks, and map reading skill practice.

A highlight of WalkFest will be Wainwright Redefined, a talk by Eric Robson, Chair of Radio 4’s Gardeners Question Time.  The writer and broadcaster who is also the chairman of the Wainwright Society, hopes to dispel some myths about Alfred Wainwright, the creator of the famous “Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells”.

 This will take place at the Coronation Hall Supper Room in Ulverston, on Saturday 27th April at 7.30pm.  Tickets are available from the Coronation Hall box office.