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rain and sheep – aka The Great British Summer (pt 2)

September 9, 2012

Back in June,  I built a trip to one of my all-time favourite places, the Lake District, around one of my all-time favourite fibre events, Woolfest.  Obviously it was a little while ago now (and I could come up with a dozen reasons why I’m so far behind in this blogging malarkey), but it was such an adventure I don’t want to let it pass by without a blog post.

A friend and I had booked a little cottage for the week, so that we would have a few days to mooch about before Woolfest arrived.  It’s a fair old drive up from London (some 5.5 hours) but definitely worth making a trip of it.
We were tucked away in a teeny little hamlet on a hillside, surrounded by amazing greenery and a waterfall at the back.  After dropping off our bags, we prioritised carefully and went for a walk across the countryside to the nearest village with a pub.  In less than ten minutes I spotted my first ever red squirrel, which completely made my day!  Obviously it was too quick for me to get a photo, but this sign down the road hints that there are a few around:

Being the Lake District, the ground was rather muddy in places, and I managed to submerge myself in mud (wearing trainers, of course) on the way home from the pub.  I won’t be posting photos of that on the blog though.

The schedule for the week was largely based on finding walks that ended with a country pub as a destination.  Luckily in Cumbria that’s quite easy to do!

En route there was much sheep sighting, and I got to practise my breed spotting.

The most friendly lambs I came across were the lovely Herdwicks.  They’re a wonderful native Cumbrian breed.  These two were quite happy for me to walk up to them, but unfortunately stopped just short of letting me pat them.

They’re a very hardy breed, perfectly suited to life in the fells, and they change from black lambs to rather sweet and smiley grey adults:

The only “real” walk we did during the week was along Catbells.  I was painfully reminded of my appalling state of fitness (and was constantly overtaken by bouncy teenagers and older women with walking poles), but views like this were worth it:

And we came across the occasional woolly friend, clinging on to the hillside:

Nice, huh?

There really are sheep everywhere in Cumbria.

By the edge of the lake,

chomping on the moss growing on trees,

and just wandering around the streets.

The weather turned a bit nasty towards the end of the week, just in time for Woolfest.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen such heavy rain for a constant 24 hours!  Woolfest was great, and it was fantastic to be there and to catch up with friends.  There are always some new characters to meet though:

We went back to the cottage at the end of the day, and I was getting a bit worried that the waterfall outside the house seemed to be getting louder and louder:

We went back in to Cockermouth for a lovely meal and a drink, and then a few hours later discovered that the roads to get back were flooded!  Coming from the southern states of Australia, I’ve never actually seen floodwater before, and I was absolutely terrified.  I had to turn back from the first route (one guy’s car had already broken down) but the main road really wasn’t much better.  My poor little car was very, very, close to stalling, and I thought we were never going to get through the longest “puddle” I’d ever seen!  I’m hugely grateful that I was with friends who were able to help calm me down once we were all back at the cottage.

The rain continued over night, and we were somewhat stranded for a number of hours until the road was passable:

Not a bad little adventure for a wool show, really.  Floods at Woolfest, and mudbaths at Fibre East.  Not sure if I should attempt a trifecta…

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2012 3:55 pm

    Sounds like a great time (I love your method of walking route planning! :D) – if maybe a bit too adventurous with the flooding and all. I’d like to go – both to the Lake District and to Woolfest some time. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Anne A permalink
    September 13, 2012 8:28 pm

    The Catbells walk is one of my favourites – thanks for the great photos.

    • September 14, 2012 7:07 am

      I hope that next time I do it (and I’m sure there will be a next time) that I manage it with a bit more speed and grace!

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