Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District


Sails at Windermere Jetty

sail

Just discovered this lovely blog post by Windermere Jetty about preserving and conserving the old sails in their collection.   Their oldest sail (pictured here) belongs to 1934 17ft Windermere yacht, Dawn.

If you want to read more about their work click here.

The museum is committed to conserving, saving and sharing the internationally important Windermere boat collection and their focus is on telling the stories behind these boats and they want to actively involve visitors in the crafts and tradition that built them.

Windermere Jetty, designed by Carmody Groarke architects, is due to re-open in 2017.  In the meantime the museum is ‘Just Visiting’ Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre.


Townend: A Quiet Jewel

townendTownend : A Quiet Jewel.

East of Windermere is an historical treasure that we have a special interest in – for it was built around about the same time as Sykehouse Cottage.  It’s attached to no famous name and therefore doesn’t attract the crowds – like that other farm on the west of the Lake, Hill Top, does – but for a delightful insight into 400 years of Lakeland life, Townsend is perfect.  The Browne family was an ordinary farming family but their home at Troutbeck is a beautiful evocation of a past life and well worth a detour to visit.  The place is crammed full of quirky household objects from c17th onwards.  There are excellent, informative guided tours and often they put on an afternoon of cooking where they recreate some of the recipes from the Brownes’ family recipe books.

Townend is a National Trust property and is open from March to October.  It’s about 20 miles from the Cottage and for further details on opening times and prices, follow this link.


Sticky Toffee Pudding

sticky toffee pudding

Recently a guest asked me for some foodie day trip suggestions – and I immediately thought of Cartmel, a half hour’s drive away from Sykehouse cottage.  The village has the famous L’Enclume restaurant run by Simon Rogan (Lunch £45 and Dinner £120)  with  its sister brasserie, Rogan & Co.  And now his empire has extended to the local pub, The Pig & Whistle.  It also has a very beautiful priory to wander around.

But I bet most people visit Cartmel for the PUDDING.

Cartmel Village Shop started baking Sticky Toffee puddings in their back kitchen about 20 years ago. They have now moved to a bigger kitchen but it’s still handmade and there’s still nothing to match it for rounding off a Sunday lunch.  If you don’t have a chance to visit, their puddings are sold at the local grocers, Melville Tyson,  in Broughton-in-Furness.  Look out for their distinctive pale blue packs in the chiller cabinets.

And rather wonderfully, they also do mail order from their website here.


Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides: “all the little trees on this map”.

IMG_8255The charm of these guides undoubtedly lies in Wainwright’s personal touch with painstakingly detailed heather bound fells and minute contour lines; carefully annotated compass view points; and multiple approaches to each summit.  But amongst all this obsessive detail, Wainwright does relax every so often and the hard work is leavened by a joke or two such as: “TAKE CARE DO NOT START FIRE and so waste the effort spent in drawing all the little trees on this map.  The Forestry Commission, too, will be annoyed.”

Wainwright’s sketch of the Summit of Coniston Old Man includes details and descriptions of  “Tourists looking for Blackpool Tower”, a regimented line of Boy Scouts and “a Solitary fell walker, bless him, looking north to the hills.”

We hope you will find your own favourite vignettes whilst planning your walks!

For further information about Alfred Wainwright, please follow this link to the Wainwright Society.


Wild Water Swimming

Swimming in a river or lake IS different.  It doesn’t taste of chlorine for a start.  And isn’t crowded.  The water has a smooth soft quality that slides around your skin.

I only swim on hot Summer days.11feb13 004  The water coming off the mountain tops is still much colder than you think.  Even in August.  But there are many places up the Duddon for a dip or a paddle – and then a leisurely recovery on a hot, flat stone.  I take old sandals to paddle into the water as pebbles can be sharp under foot.  Crocs or flip flops disappear surprisingly fast on the current.

Okay, you will need a wet suit and more stamina than I have: but how about attempting the Great North Swim on Windermere?  This is now the UK’s biggest open water swimming festival and happens in June every year.  Follow this link if you would like more details about it.


Print Fest 2013

printfest2013How can you not be exhilarated by fresh, affordable art?

Ulverston’s Printfest is the UK’s artist led printmaking festival, dedicated showing and selling contemporary prints.  You can look around and buy works from more than 40 national and international artists, including Printmaker of the Year, Katherine Jones (left).  Artists will be giving demonstrations and there are printmaking workshops for all the family.  Work will also be exhibited around Ulverston town in the Printfest Trail during April.  The main exhibition will be at the Coronation Hall Sat 4 – Sun 5 May, 10 – 5 Tickets: £4 (Children & Students: free).  Further details from Ulverston’s Coronation Hall  or the PrintFest website.

The Ruskin Museum

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Ruskin Museum

The Coniston Room

The Ruskin Museum, down a side street and hidden away, is a huge cabinet of curiosities.  I felt like some sort of Alice wandering around a Museum Wonderland, each area as intriguing as the next.  It’s delightful toy box of memorabilia, informative displays and original artwork.   After a relatively recent revamp, its collection is split into three rooms to help visitors navigate their way around such a disparate yet fascinating collection: The Coniston Room including the small sailboat “Mavis” the original “Swallow” from “Swallows & Amazons”; The new Bluebird Room with lots of details about the World Speed Record attempt; and the Ruskin Room, a lovely Victorian parlour crammed with watercolours and other memorabilia of Ruskin and Collingwood.

What I truly like about the museum is that there is such a variety of objects that, if you are with a family, then everyone will find something of interest – although, I must confess to getting overwhelmed at so much on display.  I’ll have to come on my own sometime.  The boys loved the “Mavis” and the miniature stone houses from the John Usher collection.  I was fascinated by the Neolithic finds and copper mining display whilst Bill spent time in the Bluebird Room, staring at grainy black and white photographs of the speed king, Donald Campbell.  We all loved Ruskin’s slightly rusting and used watercolour paint boxes and dog eared sketch books.

Bluebird Room

The Bluebird Room

Ruskin sketchbooks

The Ruskin Room

You need an hour at the very least to sample its delights.  The museum’s own (quirky) website is here to check on exact location in Coniston, prices and opening times.

If you want to read my post about a young boy’s encounter with Donald Campbell, click here.

This gallery contains 3 photos