Friday, May 15, 2009

Spooky Times In The Lake District.

We got back from Barrow yesterday just in time for me to watch Leeds blowing their chances of getting promoted and so 'we' have to face another long season playing exciting games against teams like Southend and Brentford.  Sighhhhh.

Anyway I've picked out a few pics from the hundreds I took while up in the lower Lake District area and first up is the Gondola, a steam powered yacht that takes tourists for trips along Coniston Water, the lake where the late Donald Campbell failed in his attempt to break his own water speed record in 1967. He was on the return leg of his attempt and had reached approx 320mph when his jet powered boat, Bluebird K7, lifted off the water, flipped over and disintegrated. His body was finally recovered from the lake in 2001 and was buried in Coniston cemetery.

Our speed on Tuesday was a bit slower, by about 320 mph in fact, but as it was pretty windy, it was fast enough for me !!  The lake is 5 miles long, half a mile wide and has a max depth of 184 ft. It was looking it's best in the spring sunshine and sitting outside on The Gondola was a lovely way to spend an hour cruising it's length.

I love driving along the narrow roads around the Lake District as the views are so spectacular. They may not be wide enough to take US style RV's but in my little Clio, it was fun to take the corners at speed and still have time to take in the scenery. However, the area can be a driver's nightmare in high summer as thousands of cars vie with caravans for road space and going from A to B can be a miserable journey, despite the views out the windows.

Here is a typical view along the road and even without a lake to look at, clearly shows what I'm talking about.

On Wednesday we drove a few miles north from Barrow to take a 7 mile trip on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway line, have a meal and a walk at the Dalegarth end and then climb aboard a different train for the return trip through the Eskdale valley.

The 4 locomotives which run on the 15" gauge line are like mini trains pulling mini carriages. These carriages are a mix of fully enclosed, open but with a roof and fully open. On the outward leg, all the fully open seats were taken and so we plumped for the 'open with a roof' option as it was cloudy but dry at the time and this still allowed for some cover in the event of a drop of rain and gave unobstructed views to the left and right. We were on the River Esk for this leg, a locomotive built in 1923, and hopefully you'll get a good idea of it's size from it's driver crouching next to it doing vital greasing before the trip. Of the engine that is.

As you can see from the clothing of the people in the fully open seats, it was pretty cold and there was rain in the air....for the return trip !

At each end of the track, the locomotives would be detatched from the lead carriage and moved along to a circular turning area and simply pushed around to go the other way - much like San Francisco trolley cars.

The locomotive being turned in the above photo, the River Irt, was the one we had for the return leg to Ravenglass and is the oldest 15" gauge locomotive in the world, having been built in 1892. It was a fun ride for sure and even a few spits of rain didn't dampen our enjoyment.

While at Eskdale and after our meal at the train station, we walked a short distance to see St. Catherine's Parish Church, beside the River Esk. There has been a place of worship at this location since the 7th century but the present church was built in 1125 and restored in 1881. The oldest grave headstone I found was dated 1768 and given the number of names on it, graves back then were dug to hold multiple family members. Obviously a very close community !!

Americans may recognise the name of The Rev. who officiates at the weekly services !

Speaking of headstones, we found one for the Benson family who lived locally in the 19th century but must've suffered from some type of 19th century Swine Flu epidemic. Jonathan and his wife, Hannah, had one son and five daughters who all died between 1859 and 1864. 1862 was a particularly sad year for poor old Jonathan, as he lost Hannah and their 14 year old daughter in October and another daughter and their only son in December. Jonathan survived them all and lived till 1877 when he jumped into the last spot in the grave at the ripe old age, for the times, of 71.

That was one deep grave - hopefully.

All this talk of death brings me to my final photo and very appropriate it is too. We were inside the church and strange goings ons were going on. It was a small church (a congregation of 10-20 at the weekly service) and being fully stone built, was probably cold enough at the best of times. On Wednesday it seemed particularly cold to me and I found myself shivering quite a lot, especially when we were walking up and down the aisle. I went up onto the pulpit to get a nice photo looking down to the back of the church and this is what I got and I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

I'll post the occasional photo from our Barrow trip from time to time as a few do deserve a post on their own. Oh yes they do !

Thank you to everyone who made it so special; Amy, Frank, Leslie and of course, my long suffering travelling companion, Daphne.


Daphne said...

Oh, it was a grand trip all right! I love the photo of the Gondola, but actually my favourite of these is the one of the road stretching into the distance - that's so evocative of that beautiful part of the country.
Ahhh - - I thought it was a bit chilly in that church.

rhymeswithplague said...

Is the wee ghostie at the back of the church wearing Daphne's blue hoodie???

rhymeswithplague said...

I meant to say also, but forgot, that the Rev. Jim Baker's counterpart in the U.S. spells his name with two k's (Bakker).

Debby said...

Awesome piccies!

Milo said...

Oh I like the Lake District though haven't been there in years. Liked the pics! Weather looked good for the most part (which helps when out in the country!).

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