Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District


Where history and nature meet

cumbria natureHow marvellous!  Here at Sykehouse Cottage we just love the cabinet of curiosities that is Kendal Museum.  The place houses the Kendal and Westmorland Galleries, the World Wildlife Exhibition, The Lake District Natural History Gallery and The Hamer Mineral Collection.

The late John Hamer was a potholer and mineral collector. He collected one of the most superb and extensive mineral collections in the North of England.  This collection exceeds 2000 pieces and includes specimens from disused mines in the Lake District, where mineral collecting is now banned, and other regions of northern England. This invaluable collection is available for research and enjoyment by both geologists and those who are just fascinated by beautiful minerals.

geology cumbriaA spectacular display from the collection together with a complete catalogue, original note books, display charts and a map locating mine sites are featured as a new permanent display at Kendal Museum.

If you would like to know about opening times and current exhibitions, click on a click to 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.


Wainwright’s Fourth Volume: “Heaven fallen upon the earth”

IMG_8252In the Personal Notes at the end of his Fourth Volume on the Southern Fells, Wainwright noted that “there had been a clamour for Book Four ever since the first in the series appeared” because these fells “just happen to be a bit of heaven fallen upon the earth.”

This orange striped volume is the one we use the most and it is dedicated to: “the hardiest of all fell walkers, The Sheep of Lakeland, the truest lovers of the mountains, their natural homes and providers of their food and shelter” … and, sheep like, the chapters scramble up and down the thirty fells of the Southern Lakes from Scafell Pike to Holme Fell.  He includes the direct route to Coniston Old Man: “this is the way the crowds go”; plus the one via Boo Tarn: “a climb for … the discerning walker” and one ascent from Torver with its view of Dow Crag, “one of the grandest rock-faces in the district”.

We hope you enjoy planning your walks!

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


Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides: fireside companions.

WainwrightIn Sykehouse Cottage there is a complete set of the 50th anniversary edition of Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. These seven little hardback books contain the most magical evocation of fell walking I have ever encountered. Each of the seven volumes is dedicated to a different group of people or animal: map makers, dogs, solitary wanderers and each book has a personal note at the end. And this warm and idiomatic approach to the fells is continued throughout the books which are hand drawn – and handwritten (!) – guides to walking the fells.
The walks are catalogued with a wonderful combination of description and maps, complete with contour lines, tussocks of grass and little trees and personal observation. Poring over these little black and white drawings and humorous asides draws you from your armchair into the vast green fells of your imagination and makes you want to jump into this Lilliputian world of Wainwright and bestride the fells like Gulliver. As Wainwright himself puts it: “this book has been written, carefully and with infinite patience, for my own pleasure and because it has seemed to bring the hills to my own fireside.”
We hope you enjoy planning your walks!
For further information about Alfred Wainwright, please follow this link to the Wainwright Society.


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.