The Lake District, England

Cruising Northern England: The Lake District

We drove into Keswick late in the day and found a B&B near the center of town. We walked down to the town common on Lake Derwentwater. There were sheep grazing around us, and it was a beautiful evening.

We looked across the water admiring the mountains surrounding us. We had planned to hike Catbells the next day and had no idea that those two steep peaks across the water, billed as an "easy walk", were our destination.

The next morning we walked through Keswick. It was market day and the streets were full of vendors selling an enormous variety of items, including clothes, hardware, flowers, fruit and nuts, handmade cheese and breads. We had a great time getting a few things, including food for a picnic on Catbells. We walked to the Cumberland Pencil Museum, where we learned a lot about pencils. If you like pencils, this is museum is lots of fun. Cumberland has an excellent website if you can't get to the museum. There was a lot about pencil making and pencil history including a pencil was from the WWII that underneath the eraser there was a secret compartment holding a tiny map and compass. Soldiers dropped in from parachutes used these pencils to get located.

From the museum, we went down to the harbor to pick up the boat to cross Derwentwater for our hike. There was a flotilla of ducks and geese waiting for handouts from people waiting for the boat. These were definitely well-fed birds.

The boat chugged across the lake, where we disembarked and asked for the trail to Catbells. The answer turned out to be more or less straight up. We had been doing a lot of walking and our legs were tired, but still, no way was this an "easy hike". As we approached the top of the first peak, we learned that the top of Catbells was actually the second peak, down a valley and another long way up. We sat down, watched the birds soar, ate our picnic and decided the view from where we were was good enough for us. Back down the mountain, we walked part of the way around the lake and waited at a tea house for the boat back to Keswick. Next we took off for Watendlath and Castlerigg, a National Trust Farm and a stone circle.

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No unauthorized reproduction. Thank you. Text by Nan. Photos Copyright ©2002 Nan Hamilton