Category Archives: Paradise

Friars Crag…..Poem….

This small tiny Crag in paradise

Holds so much peace for me

It has beauty all around it

Sat on its bench, look and you will see…..

With Cat Bells soaring on the right

And the beautiful bay to the left

Borrowdale lays straight ahead

Without these sights I’d feel totally bereft

Here’s where my ashes will eventually lay

Where my soul will live on forever

Where Robins appear, so tame, so close

But only if you believe in their power

Everyone should have a special place

And Keswick is certainly mine

I can sit in the rain, the sun or the cloud

And feel close to nature …..so divine…..

………………………………

Choese this song because I like Cold Play AND it’s called Paradise……

Last full day in paradise……..

As I lay settling down last night, my curtains opened, I suddenly saw a rock a bye baby moon shining bright in the sky…….for some bizarre reason I don’t ever remember seeing the moon in Keswick……

After a weird night of dreams of football and keys 😳…..I woke early again but simply watched the daylight appear from my window; a pink tinge in the sky as daybreak arrived

As I sat in the breakfast room looking out of the window, Catherine suddenly appeared to see if everything was ok and suddenly announced:

Oooh I’ve given you a normal person’s plate”…….well we fell about laughing. What she meant was she’d given me a white plate instead of the normal coloured plate. She never knows what colour tablecloth they’ll choose so always gives me a coloured plate that will go with anything in case she chooses white. Luckily this morning I hadn’t noticed as the tablecloth was green so all was well and my plate was cleared 🤣…..”Good job you know me” was her departing comment…🤣…now you know why I choose Appletrees…..

It was forecast to be a cloudy but dry day so I decided after breakfast, to go on the railway walk and then onto Castlerigg stones…

It felt cooler than the day before, a definite autumn chill in the air. I’m so lucky as Keswick was on the news the night before as they’d had the most rain than anywhere else in the UK during September – hence why the lake was so high. But I had lovely weather when I came in September according to my blog, and again this time…😇

As I trundled along the Headlands, the sun was trying to shine and there was a spooky cross in the sky next to the church….😳

I went into Moot Hall to see if they had a map as I wasn’t sure of the second half….but I needn’t have bothered as it turned out to be well signposted….but I had it with me just in case. Through Fitz Park over the River Greta

The carved eagle still standing proud..

I spied a Robin, well heard him first, in the trees….first one I’ve managed to click, even though I’ve heard them everywhere

An awful lot of time and money has been spent on making the railway walk super accessible. Even while I was on it today, there were people on bikes, crutches, wheelchairs, pushchairs and electric bikes. It’s accessible to everyone, so rare these days.

It’s also ideal for families as it’s so safe and has picnic areas dotted about

It’s also where new and old collide in harmony. Where the old railway bridges have been strengthened by adding modern materials

Inside the tunnels were small shelters where the railway men would snuck into when a train was coming

And these simple yet stylish wooden seats have been placed at viewing points along the way

Every now and then, information boards allow you to relive the history…..how the steam trains used to make a special stop for the Bobbin mill makers

You could imagine the ghosts of the old railway and steam engines still being around…

The now tree lined track was beginning to be covered in leaves as autumn approaches

The railway walk itself was severely damaged during the floods of not so many years ago, when lots of Keswick was submerged in water. But the town and surrounding areas rallied round and helped each other recover and the new walk is testament to this

Each bridge over the winding river was running fast after the recent rainfall…

New and old were side by side here as I went under the old railway tunnel and over a new bridge over the river…

As I came to the end of the railway line at Threkeld, I crossed the dual carriageway and was met by this magnificent sheep in the field. The horns are stunning 😍

This is where one walk ends and another, to Castlerigg stones begins….you feel like your in the middle of nowhere, just miles and miles of countryside

The roads was steep with no footpath, but very few cars came by..the sun was on the other side of the valley at this point

I really didn’t need the map as each junction I came to had a sign for Castlerigg…so I felt totally safe…more sheep appeared, a different breed this time…

And even hens in one field sharing it with the sheep…

I then spotted a beautiful arch of Rosehips, which brought back wonderful childhood memories….each autumn, the “Rosehip syrup” lady, would visit our little school in Ferrybridge and ask us to pick rosehips for her. She would then weigh them and we’d get so many pennies. Well we thought we were the richest youngsters around as she always came on a Friday and that set us up for a weeks worth of sweets 🤣 happy times…

Trundling round the twisting roads, I eventually came to Castlerigg…

There weren’t many people around and I managed to take most of the photos when they were behind a rock 🤣….the vista all around is to die for

And the sun decided to shine, casting the stones shadows in front

After a while of just breathing in the air and the beauty, I looked at my watch. It was only 12 and Keswick was just down the hill, so I decided to go back the way I’d come, after all, I didn’t have enough time to squeeze in another walk and today was my last day. So I set off, the way I’d just come. You always see things differently when you do a walk in reverse; you pick up different views that had been missed walking in the other direction…it’s definitely sheep farming country

Then round a bend I could see sheep in the road, being transferred from one field to another. One man and his two dogs, Jack senior and Jack junior learning the ropes.

I stood against the wall and watched. From all the shouting, I gathered Jack Junior was causing chaos 🤣….the farmer trying to give him instructions and the young collie wanting to go his own way with loads of enthusiasm.

And when the farmer had got most of the sheep into the field, one stray sheep had to be herded on his own….it was magic to watch and took me back to the days as a youngster when I used to love watching “one man and his dog’….

It was worth the long walk back just to see that…..

Just as I was about to open the gate into Appletrees, Catherine and Polly the dog came out, both wearing their dry robes. I couldn’t resist asking if I could come along to watch the swimming and play ball with Polly…..

We walked down chatting to the bay and there was Sue waiting, another B&B owner, so after hugs and more chat, they went in for their swim while me and Polly played ball….

However, before Polly had taken off her dri robe, I, without thinking, threw her ball in the water 😳🙈….so one soggy dry robe was hung on the branch instead of being there for her when she’d finished 🙈🙈🙈

It was these two lovely ladies who convinced my Sarah to take up outdoor swimming. The health benefits are enormous and they all say how a bad day can turn to good after being for a swim. Sue had twisted her ankle so the icy cold water would do it good.

It was such a lovely sunny afternoon…and I think it does both of them good as a destresser.

And Polly was a lovely companion for me…definitely cuppa tea time, as we headed home….

Conquering Walla Crag again…..

Sorry for the long blog…🙄…

I decided that Sunday would be the day to try Walla Crag once more. I might regret it due to all the rain they’d had, but if I didn’t try it would be niggling away inside me. When I’d looked at the forecast the day before It had promised fine weather, perfect for the climb. Also, with it being a Sunday, I was hoping other people would also be climbing so I’d have people to follow 🤣

I woke at 5am, but decided I’d better lay there for another hour or I’d wake the whole house up having a shower and pottering about 🙄….But as 6am approached, I couldn’t lay there any longer. Still very dark outside, I drew my curtains and waited for dawn to break…….

What I hadn’t realised in the dark was how Keswick was bathed in a covering of fog…..so before sunrise and since I was wide awake, I decided to wander down to Friars Crag…..it didn’t feel earie as I trundled through the park, more magical….

I reached the boats and it looked like someone had rubbed out the background that should be there

The same with the launches, as though nature was playing ‘spot the difference’

It didn’t surprise me for once, that my bench was empty….

I’d heard Robins all the way there so put some food out in the hope they’d come and say hello, but not this time…..you could just about make out the trees across the bay

The geese the only sound but I couldn’t see them for ages until I could just see their shadows moving along the water….

I’d lost track of time and suddenly realised I needed to be back for breakfast and as I was tucking in, me and Catherine watched the blue sky appear and the scene in front of us starting to come back into focus

I needed the fog to clear if I was going to attempt Walla Crag….and as the minutes went by, so more of my view appeared….just stunning….

After breakfast I had a cuppa tea or two, just to let the fog lift enough to make me feel comfortable with my task ahead, but by 9am you could tell it was going to be a lovely day.

I remember all the walks me and Sylvia used to do started off in the same way….

With your back against the door of Moot Hall…”

And this one was no exception. As I left Appletrees, a beautiful spiders web had been revealed by the morning fog

The church steeple was just visible as the sun tried to burn the fog away

From Moot Hall I made my way past the church itself and headed towards the farmhouse which was the start of the climb. The sun’s rays were shining through the copse on my left

The beck on my left as I climbed, had been only a trickle over the summer months but now was full of water cascading down from the fells. 

Up the steep never ending path, every now and then, stoping to take in the view beneath. Cat Bells looking like a picture postcard in the sunshine

Fell runners went by at an alarming pace, their feet darting about between the stones with such accuracy….I needed someone ahead to follow, but going a tad slower 😂…..and they soon appeared.

It’s always this bit where I become indecisive, unsure which well worn path to follow. I could probably take any and get to my destination, but I feel safer if I can follow someone….I never tire of this landscape, landscape that changes with the seasons and with the weather…and underfoot can change too. Today was very wet and very muddy after all the recent rain they’d had. The steep incline felt heavier on my legs. I had to count my steps to keep going….stopping and looking back every now and then at the stunning views….

Soon I reached the stile that would take me to the summit. There were people already there, taking the same photo we always do. Luckily one kindly offered to take mine

I’ve done this walk so often before dementia invaded my space but now the pride I feel is doubly satisfying. Dementia might have convinced me at one point that this climb was beyond me, but after hearing a playmate had completed it, I suddenly thought, then so can I………

The descent was far easier, momentum taking me down. Suddenly I could hear a voice, a friendly voice but very loud shouting continually:

Heidi, come on, it’s only water” 😳

I couldn’t yet see said Heidi, or who the voice was coming from, but the call was continuous. As I reached the top of a mound, poor old Heidi came into view…..a small white Westie, no longer the pure white I imagine it usually is. She looked like she had wellington boots on. The dog was obviously not impressed with the need to go through water and mud. The two other little dogs were obviously used to the rough and tumble of the fells. The more I heard the call, the more I wanted it to stop as it was disturbing the peace of the fells and becoming irritating 🤣….it’s probably why Heidi was refusing to go as fast as the others….maybe she wanted to get away from her owners cries as well 🤣……

I managed to get ahead and out of ear shot…eventually 🙄 I was so intent on getting away from the noise that I’d forgotten to take photos, so then I stopped and looked.

A little further on and I could see a miniature launch in the lake below taking visitors on a trip around the flooded lake…..maybe I’ll do that later…🤔

As I reached Ashness bridge, I could see lots of photographers- long lenses, tripods, the lot. I went to stand where they were standing in case I was missing something, but it was just the volume and speed of the water that had attracted them…maybe they were in a group, on a course or something….

Then I went and climbed down the other side to take a photo towards the bridge 🙈……I hadn’t fallen since I’d got here 🙄…..perched on two rocks to get a better view, I felt myself wobble as I tried to refocus after the first click….😳……luckily I fell backwards hurting my elbow and bum…..if I’d have gone forward I would have been in the water 🤣……

After the descent my legs were up for a detour. Instead of going down the hill towards the main road, I turned left and thought I’d try and find Surprise View…..somewhere Sylvia loved and had taken me just the once….It was another steep climb up and after about 30 minutes I could see people gathered round the edge……

It was just as I remembered it, looking down the length of Derwentwater…..worth the extra climb…..

Now it was downhill all the way I soon reached the main road and because the lakeside was still inaccessible, walked along the narrow path by the road. A group was coming towards me so I asked where the track down was to get me back to the lake. They told me to avoid the first track down as it was very slippery as they’d just found out, thankfully I went to the next otherwise I’d have probably taken that one too.

It felt good to be back down by the lake again

It was at this point that dementia gripped me tight and threw me into a haze, I became totally disorientated and simply didn’t know where I was …I used to call these moments, a fog, but that left me nowhere to go when they got worse. Now they happen so often that I’ve renamed them ‘hazes’…..at least that way, I’ve got somewhere to go when they get really bad. For some reason, unbeknown to me, I took out my phone and started recording. Hearing my voice made me feel in control of the haze, so now I’ve simply transcribed what I recorded……

“I know if I keep the lake on my left, I’ll hopefully come out of this haze and recognise where I am….I can see two people ahead, one with a bright blue coat, easy to follow and keep in sight. They look like they know where they’re going…..Keep the blue in sight, the lake on the left, you’ll be fine….people are coming towards me, obstructing my view….keep the blue in sight, the lake on my left….keep the blue in sight, the lake on my left…..The man next blue coat is taking his coat off, but I’m freezing, my hands like ice…..please don’t take your blue coat off lady….. I can see a log peppered with coins…it feels familiar but it’s not giving me any clues as to why…..I’ll take a photo for later….”

“Keep the blue in sight and the water on the left…..”

At that moment I yawned, I could hear it on the recording….. and as I opened my eyes, everything came back into focus…I could see the familiar Milenium Stone half submerged in the water and I felt myself breathing in deeply and letting out a comforting sigh

I was back….I looked ahead of me and there was no sign of anyone in a blue coat….had I imagined it?

Thankful that the haze had only lasted a few minutes, 10 according to my recording, my steps were more confident, the hesitancy gone…

The smile back on my face I completed the last 45 minutes without taking a photo….just happy that I’d come back to my surroundings. Time for a cuppa back in my room and the view from my window was now sunny

I needed to go out just one more time before settling in for the night, just to prove to myself that I could….I decided to take a boat ride around the lake…nothing too tasking….half way round and a wedding party, who’d obviously hired a launch post wedding, went by cheering and looking so happy

Then I realised, we’d pass Sylvia on the way to Hawes End jetty….I could see my landmark tree now firmly in the water and I smiled and whispered ‘hello Sylvia, did you think I’d forgotten to come”…….it finished off my day perfectly. As the launch pulled in at the end, I looked back behind me and saw the magical light of the sun, shining on the fells….

Perfect ending to a satisfying day…..

Simply relaxing day……..

For some unknown reason I hadn’t expected it to be dark when I drew back the curtains on my first morning in paradise 😳 Not sure why as it’s dark now at home when I draw my own🤔…I was stopped in my tracks – is it day time or night time? Have I got up when I should be asleep? I’d had a very sleep wake sleep wake night as it was so this was certainly discombobulating…..I felt around on the floor for my phone which pinged to life as I opened it……06:15……of course it was dark, just like at home……phew, that was my first challenge of the day sorted……

Eventually showered and waiting for the kettle to boil, I stood and looked out of my window. A cloudy morning with hints of a sunrise behind the clouds and Cat Bells turning a shade of purple as the heather comes into flower…

I checked my phone once more, only this time to tell me what day it was. ‘Saturday’…..another surprise as that means I must have travelled on a Friday and I rarely travel here on a Friday. Must have been a reason why – maybe my room wasn’t available 🤔

After breakfast of my routine poached eggs, mushrooms and baked beans along with mixed toast and a cuppa, I was set up for the day. The weather app had forecast rain later on in the morning, so I set off for my walk around the lake as soon as I’d had a cuppa in my room….my idea of relaxing is a long walk….

The lake was so high after torrential rain, that I doubted if I’d be able to walk along the shoreline as I usually do…..but I’ll figure that out as and when it happens….I decided to go clockwise, so passed Hope Park and on towards the lake. Three geese caught my eye in the field where the Mountain festival had been the last time I came, or maybe the time before 🤔

I walked down to the lake edge where you could see the fence and tree, usually fully visible, were submerged in the high water. Cat Bells covered in low cloud and Borrowdale barely visible in the distance

The two launches were moored further up the flooded jetty

It felt like I had the lake all to myself and as I approached Friars Crag, I could see that I had my bench to myself too

I sat for a while soaking up the peace around me……

……before heading off round the bay. Again the water much higher than normal and we’ve only just started October 

At least it was still dry, cloudy but dry. Ordinarily I’d might seem gloomy but not here. Every weather brings it’s own charm. I could hear so many birds but because the leaves were still on the trees, they were hard to spot. But one fellow churping away had conveniently perched on an old bare branch making him easier to see

Previously dry stream beds were now overflowing with running water

Even Milenium bench was empty 

And I was surprised to see how submerged the Milenium Stones were

It was roundabout here that I thought I might lose the path. I could see a couple ahead of me in the distance and wanted to keep them in sight to see which alternative way they’d go…

However they didn’t have a camera and keep stopping to take photos 😳 and I soon lost them as the path became submerged 🙄

I knew if I went up, I’d come to the main road to Borrowdale so I followed, what looked like a way up….and yes, reached the road…

The detour had come much sooner than I thought and as I reached the jetty at Ashness, where I sat on the edge in the summer and where I had images of children jumping into the water, I could see that much of that was also submerged

I usually go around the headland, but it was just water now, even the ducks had trouble finding a perch to preen on

The lake was so still, the grey of the day making my photos look monochrome…

At this point I joined my usual route of crossing the road away from the lake and going through woodland where all the stones are covered in moss and where the ferns were starting to die off

Passing the big Lodore hotel – if only I could remember how to get to Lodore Falls as they’d be spectacular after all the rain 🙄 – I felt sure I’d have to walk the extra mile or so to The Grange and I was right as the footpath to Pooh Bear Bridge was under water

I’d known people paddle across it as it puts a good hour onto the journey, but I wasn’t sure I could manage that so I carried on walking along the roadside. Then all of a sudden I stopped in my tracks. I stared hard at the farm house across the road. It was so familiar. Then suddenly an image came into my mind. This was where me and Sylvia had stopped to have a cuppa tea and scones. We’d probably just descended from Lodore Falls.

I could see us sitting in the farmyard as if it was yesterday 😍😢

Further along and a flock of Herdwicks were resting by the farm wall. All facing the same direction 😂

The Grange came into view, much further on foot than I imagined, but a nice walk…

Through the village itself and out onto the back road heading towards the lake turning. A young girl was in front of me and I wanted to keep her in view, as I’m never sure where the turning is…..but then suddenly she was heading back towards me 😳….I couldn’t think quick enough to ask if she was looking for the lake turn off and my focus was distracted as I saw another couple way ahead and started walking quicker to keep them in sight 🤣

Luckily I saw where they turned off and headed the same way. As I reached the lake, once more water was where land used to be

The rest of the route followed the usual path which are much higher this side of the lake. Each bay appeared, the water much closer to the path than normal.

I zoomed into the top of Cat Bells and was surprised to see lots of people on the misty summit

It was at this point that lots of groups of teenagers started to pass me. Maps and rucksacks and I guessed they were orienteering. Maybe that’s why Cat Bells was so busy….

Each bay was like a mill pond….so still, so calm and perfect

My only sadness at the high water was when I got to Hawes End, where I usually go down to the shore to say hello to Sylvia, it was totally submerged…..😢….I stopped by the sign, but could see there was no way I’d get there. Instead I blew her a kiss and said I’d be there again next time.

The rain then started to fall, mizzling at first, but then a steady fall…..my last photo before I hid my camera under my coat was as I reached the Alpacas……

No more photos for the remaining 2 or 3 miles……but it was nice just to walk, my camera now covered, my hud up, trundling through the rain………..

How lucky am I……? 

The wonderful trip to the Outer Hebrides was a ‘seize the moment’ trip as timings and Phillys availability just fell into place…..but I already had my October trip to paradise booked and  organised – honest! Yes I know how lucky I am to be able to do this, I really never take anything for granted…….

Now in winter mode, I’m getting up far earlier than I need and today was no exception. 5.30am and I’m up showered and dressed, washing on and playing my wake up games on my ipad 🙄…..my poor neighbours must wonder what I’m up to 🤣

My taxi was due at 9am so plenty of time for a little trundle as it looked such a lovely morning as daybreak arrived

I only went for a short trundle. The village shop still closed although about to open, a villager waiting patiently outside for the doors to be unlockded….

Up through Church Walk, the sunrise still giving the sky a warm glow

The enormous mushroom I’d seen the day before, still standing but buckling under its own weight in the graveyard

Along the back lane, I could see the odd dog walker ahead of me, no one else venturing out to witness this peaceful morning…as I reached the playing the the zip wire and tyre swing were silhouetted against the sky

And finally down to my favourite morning view at the edge of the village and always a cert for a lovely view

I needed to get back home and pack…..so a quick hello to the ducks this morning, the pond containing a mirror glass image of the sky

As the taxi drove me through the village, the morning routine was in full flow; neighbours collecting their papers, children bouncing their way to school. All was right in my world.

The first train took me to Hull where the Manchester train was waiting for me. We shundled passed the Humber, the sun glistening on the river

I hadn’t had time to think what I was going to do in Keswick this time. Still on a high from my visit to Philly, I’d not thought about it. But I knew everything would fall into place.

In Manchester I had to change for Lancaster. With time to spare I thought it best to get my supper sandwich here as everywhere would have finished serving once I got to Keswick.

The journey so far had been fairly calm, the sun was shining and I’d just had an email from my publishers Bloomsbury, to tell me the proof copy were in of my new book

Shameless plug here, but you can pre order on Amazon…….☺️

I hadn’t had a cuppa tea since leaving home, so with 40 minutes to wait in Lancaster for my final train, I settled down with a cuppa and watched the world go by.

I’d felt a little detached from people around me, conversations a rumble of noise. I thought dementia was going to play up at the wrong time, but I closed my eyes and stayed in my own little world and by the time the train came, it had passed…and as I reached the start of the Lakes, I could relax…

It was a pleasingly uneventful journey – just how I like…as I arrived in Keswick and made the short walk up to Appletrees, Catherine was waiting for me AND Polly the dog almost sent me flying with her excitement 🤣…….after a chat and a catch up I settled in my chair and simply took in my favourite window view

The 3 trees at the front are always the first to change colour, the first to lose their leaves and the first to gain their new leaves……

It was too nice an evening to stay in, so I set off for Friars Crag….the sun was just going down. The trees were certainly showing signs of their autumn clothes

I was surprised how high the lake was. I usually walk along the edge part way to the Crag, but there was no sign of land and the boats were almost up to the edge

As I reached Friars Crag, the setting sun was glistening on the water

So peaceful, so still, so calm…..❤️ I sat on the bench and soaked up the clean clear air

People arrived and I left them to have a turn on the bench….

As I reached each gap in the trees I just had to snap…

The crowds of the summer long gone, half term crowds yet to arrive….what a beautiful greeting from paradise……the boats deserted and waiting for tomorrows visitors….as I headed home for the evening……

Final day in my paradise…….

By the time you read this, it will be Thursday. in reality it was Sunday, so I will have been able to relive my visit with you as I arrived back home on Monday….

So I think I slept better last night. The concert was on again, but I decided not to try and sleep until the music had finished to avoid the confusion if I woke.  I just lay on my bed, my window wide open and let the music drift in.   You could hear everyone was having a good time and it sounded and looked a family affair as I could see children running about playing, maybe excited to be up late.

 Still very strange dreams though, but all faded memories as I type this. I woke to the sun desperately trying to shine

Over breakfast two of the guests were telling us about their triumph in their respective races yesterday. I’d have loved to be part of it. Nothing beats a race and a crowd cheering you on…always used to bring out that little extra something….

 I decided to walk around the lake first thing, while it was quiet. I didn’t feel the need for venturing further this visit. Don’t think I’ve ever had a visit where I’ve not gone on a bus before, but this was one.

So after a lovely breakfast, where I could hear Lily in the kitchen ‘helping’ nana – I said hello to her yesterday as she was helping clean the rooms- adorable

……I set off on my morning walk…

There were birds singing everywhere as I went through Hope Park. I decided to take a different path through and suddenly saw a sign for a “bird hide’ 😳….why hadn’t I noticed this before? All these years and it’s the first time I’ve seen it 🙈….usually you go into a hide, but they’d cleverly put up a wooden fence and drilled eye holes at every level possible. So no matter what you’re height, they’d be a hole for you to peak through – genius! Through the hole was an small area filled with feeding stations and the birds were everywhere 😍

Making my way towards the lake I could see all the runners gathering to get the launch to the starting point of todays races. There was a 10K and amazingly a 50K – that’s over 30 miles 😳

I was early so hopeful of an empty Friars Crag……and it was…

Birds everywhere again. I had my coat wrapped round my waist and in one of the pockets, a tiny container of bird food. I sat at one end of the bench, and put the pot at the other and just waited to see if they’d come close

Minutes went by and they swooped and came closer. I was convinced they’d join me on the bench. Then suddenly the silence was broken and a group of men came round the corner and the moment was gone. They did apologise for breaking my peace, but I knew the birds wouldn’t come back now. In fact the birdsong vanished, as did the birds. Sadly I put the lid back on the pot and continued on my way.

Round the corner into the bay

I zoomed in to the path zigzagging its way up Cats Bell

A lone boat stood anchored in the next bay; the water so still and mirror like today

I was pleased I headed out early. Few others around; some out on the water; a young boy on a paddle board with maybe his sister and the family dog

Suddenly a whole flock of goldfinches flew from a bush into the air before landing and bit further down. Then as I reached them again, once more they flew into the air and headed further on as if leading the way for me….🥰

I began to think of the 50K runners and all the other events people had joined in this weekend. My legs and brain no longer in harmony meaning running is out of the question, no longer able to ride a bike, as I can’t turn right…and I’ve never done open lake swimming before…but I can walk and an idea for my own challenge of the day started to form in my head. Would I be able to walk twice around the lake? Once this morning and again this afternoon? after all I’d be stook on a train all day tomorrow….🤔

Once round is 10 miles and takes me about 3-4 hours depending how distracted I get with taking photos….mmmm I’ll wait and see what time I get back……

With an added spring in my step at the thought, my pace quickened. Since lockdown, I’ve become much fitter; every day walking 5 miles or more.where once I thought dementia wouldn’t allow me to do certain walks, it was only recently I realised it was because I’d become unfit for the first time in my life – nothing to do with my dementia.

Anyway, that idea hopefully stored in my head, I continued….the millpond lake just looking so peaceful today

As I reached the deserted jetty at Ashness Bridge, the sun came out and caught my shadow on the wooden slats as I stopped to take a piccie

Continuing, a couple in a canoe came into view. Their voices drifted over towards me, one of them commenting how peaceful it was…..I wonder if the person at the front knew the person at the back had stopped paddling…🤣

A motorised paraglider flew overhead

I wonder if you can do that tandem….🤔

Soon I reached Christopher Robin bridge

Not a soul in site. I had it all to myself…..

Through the boggy marsh, finally reaching the other side of the lake. It was at the moment, just as I’d gone through the gate into the wood, that my legs got all tangled. I should know better than to try and do 2 things at the same time. I was trying to watch where I was going and get my tissue out of my pocket. I should have stopped really. But before I knew it the ground was coming towards me. Luckily my camera was in my left hand and I fell on my right hand side – phew! There was no one around to see me flailing downwards and after a couple of sighs, I picked myself up and carried on 🙄

At a crossroads in the paths, I met the 10K runners coming towards me

I stopped this time and clapped them along. Must be hard running a race when there’s no spectators, so I made sure I clapped each one, especially those running alone behind the rest….

There was a drinks station at the bottom of Cats bell with piles of jelly babies waiting for the runners to grab. I was really hoping they didn’t have to climb as well 😳….

Back to being on my own again, through fields, gates and woods, a man passed me by with a huge teddy strapped to his back. He was raising money for youth cancer – wonderful…sadly I didn’t carry any cash on me 🙈

Almost 3 hours later and I was on the homeward straight. The sheep looking chilled in their field, resting in the shade of the tree…

Finally arriving into Keswick. I went and got my supper and headed back to my room for a cuppa before heading out to do it all again……

So after a cuppa tea or maybe two, I decided that if they could run over 30 miles, I could walk 20 mile. Once again I headed out but this time I went to all the tents and finish line to see some runners coming back as it would all be over by the time I’d get back.

I was just in time to see some of the early finishers of the 50K. One man was greeted by his dogs, who proceeded to lick him to death 🤣

And then a woman had her children greet her on the final stretch and how she had the energy to lift and carry one to the finish line, I just don’t know

Even more determined to complete my own challenge, I headed to repeat the morning trundle. This time there was more people about, so less birds, but one Robin sang for me

And the sun shone even more, making the water sparkle..

Halfway round and the Heron was back on his territory….

People were having picnics on the grass as I plodded on. A few sheep had managed to get down by the lake. You could hear their brothers and sisters calling them from high up, but they were quite happy by the water

The fells were starting to change in their autumn attire as the launch passed by with sightseers

As I reached the llamas, my rubber legs decided to tangle again. This time it was my arm and face that took the full force of the fall 🙄….I’d been watching the llamas instead of where I was going this time. A couple came rushing up to see if I was ok. Apparently I had an egg appearing on my forehead and I could feel the dampness of blood on my shirt sleeve 🙈….once again, I tried to do two things at once instead of stopping. I looked down and the tree root bulging up on the path was the culprit. After reassuring the couple I was ok, and telling them a white lie, that I was nearly home, I continued. This time a tad more gingerly….

Again, just over 3 hours and I was almost home. No crowds to greet me with cheers, just me silently punching the air and smiling to myself – I did it……and my fit bit confirmed the challenge

Minutes later I was gratefully back in my room without further incidents. After a cuppa and surveying my war wounds, It was time for my supper. I looked out of my window and the tents from the festival were being dismantled as if nothing had taken place. So many had taken part in this wonderful weekend. Challenges complete, medals for the winners, but all were stars in my eyes and deserve to feel proud of themselves, just as I did at completing my not so little challenge…….

Day two of my stay in paradise…. 

The evening concert went on way past my sleep time, so that turned out to be a bit confusing around time and noise, especially when I was drifting in and out of sleep. but it sounded like many enjoyed themselves.

It was the start of the Mountain Festival event proper this morning and some events started at 7am, however I had my yummy breakfast before venturing out. Appletrees is the only place I have toast…..I decided I had to get rid of my toaster as I was a bit of a liability with it, so it’s a real treat when come here as I adore toast. Actually it’s probably good that I don’t have one at home as I’d probably live on toast 🤣

It looked a bit of a mixed bag day out of my window 

It was mizzling first thing but that didn’t worry the swimmers in the 3.5 lake race

I think it looked harder to get out of the lake than swim it, but lovely to see them helping one another…

It was so well organised with canoes following the swimmers and on hand if they were struggling

The triathlon had also started at silly o’clock and having already swum and cycled, I saw them finishing the run

The atmosphere was magic. You could tell some were serious athletes but racing alongside were first timers and those doing it purely for fun; so nice to see.

Next up was the BMX tricksters. They were very good; their balance and control of a bike was stunning

The tricks they did so clever

I had a wander round all the trade stalls. There was a “Visit Keswick” stand. One of the women came up to me trying to convince me to visit Grasmere, then suddenly the other woman came and joined us and said:

This is Wendy and Wendy is ours in Keswick. She stays at Appletrees with Catherine”

I must have had a puzzled look on my face until she confided that she follows me on Twitter and saw me speak in Keswick some years back 😳🤣…how lovely and random.

I then went into the shopping tent 🙈….I really shouldn’t be allowed to go in such places…as I can never resist buying things I never knew I needed 🙄 but I did get some Christmas presents 🤪….I must bring a bigger suitcase next time 😂

Next stop was to look at the llamas. They were rescued llamas 😍….I couldn’t resist getting in with them and saying hello

Tim was continually humming and I asked the girl what it meant and apparently it means he’s very happy and content ❤️

The drizzle started to dampen the air so it felt like the right time to head back and have a cuppa and also drop off ‘my shopping’ 🥴

I’d normally go on a bus ride at some point, but I’d not really walked so far as I’d just been tootling at the festival….so I decided to trundle round the lake again. I know I did it the day before but no two trundles are the same – meeting different people, different skies, so I headed off after my cuppa down towards the lake.

Blue sky was starting to appear

I could turn off before Friars Crag, but I can never resist a visit, I’m just drawn there

I did this walk yesterday, so I thought to myself that I mustn’t take the same photographs before reminding myself that I wouldn’t have a scooby doo which piccies I took yesterday without looking 🤣 so apologies if they’re the same

You can just start to see the colours changing on the trees behind the red sailing boat…

Because many people were at the festival, it felt like I had lots of the walk to myself

So peaceful…

Photo of tree with canoeists in the distance

You can sense the changing of the seasons as summer turns to autumn. The grasses are dying off but look golden in the sunlight against Cat Bells.

The straight lane to Christopher Robin bridge always looks so inviting

I could continue along the road to the Grange, but I never do, I’m always drawn along the track……I love the view from the bridge as the water, always so still reflects the surroundings

As soon as I saw the heron, I remembered the image from the day before as he was in the exact same spot

I don’t seem to have taken any more photos of the trundle, whether I forgot, or had to concentrate, I’m not sure. I do know my legs were tired when I got back….and since I’d set off much later I decided that was it for the day and headed back. The evening concert was just starting and music wafted over from the park. I opened my window wide and stood listening for a while before noticing the sun about to set over the fells…

Final day tomorrow…..

First day in paradise………. 

Had a night of very weird dreams, kept waking and living them awake then drifting off and continuing; very weird, very strange. Needless to say, when the alarm went off I was in a deep slumber 🙄

Showered and the kettle on, I drew back my curtains to find a veil of mist covering all but the park with it’s coloured tents ready for the start of the mountain festival today..

The forecast said for rain most of the day, but it didn’t dampen my spirits as it would have done at home. Just being here is enough.

After Catherine’s lovely breakfast, I wrapped the arms of my raincoat around my waist and, first off, went into town for my supper. Going round Keswick shops is lethal for me and since I ended up with a carrier full of ‘stuff I never knew I needed’ so took it back to my room before heading off to walk around the lake. I guessed that if it was going to rain, I’d be sheltered in the woods at various points along the way…..as it turned out it didn’t rain one drop….I love it when the weather man is wrong in the right direction 🤣

With it being the Mountain Festival, I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be, but I needn’t have worried. The crowds of summer had long gone. The first thing I noticed was the birds were back. They’d disappeared when the staycation crowds had descended but now, the quiet of autumn had seen them return. At one point I stood and listened and it was as though I had a surround sound system of birds calling out all around me. It was so beautiful and so comforting to hear them back again. So many of the Robins, which I thought had gone, all returned

Just in the first half an hour I saw blue tits, Jenny wren, swallows and even house martin’s flying into their nest in the next guest house to Appletrees…❤️….and one bird silhouetted in the fir tree

Down through Hope Park admiring the formal flower beds, which you rarely see any more due to cut backs

And soon I was by the lake. A random pheasant had join the ducks and seagulls by the shore of the lake – either lost or knowing where lots of food would be forthcoming 🤣

Couldn’t resist a slight detour to Friars Crag. The sky looking overcast, but the air still and calm

Continuing on and following the lake path round, a lovely reflection of Cat Bells in the water

People already at the top of my favourite climb

You need never feel lonely in Keswick, as each passerby, this time of year, automatically smiles and says hello, some exchanging a few words as they contemplate the view….no, you need never feel lonely here.

Milenium bench and stone came and went and then the tree trunk where coins had been hammered in for luck by generations of walkers…

It was so peaceful, no noise polluting my ears, just the calmness of the water and the chattering of the birds. Even the jetty at Ashness bridge lay empty; a common jumping off platform for adventurous children and adults alike in the summer

Crossing the road and heading through the moss and fern filled wood to avoid walking on the path less road to Lodore

Up and over the Christopher Robin bridge and along the wooden walkways across the bogs before reaching the far side of the lake. This lovely fellow caught my eye. He was stood stock still in the water obviously on the lookout for some tasty morsel beneath

Alternating between the secluded bays

Then through the cooler shadier woods

I came to the wooden hands, now looking aged and weathered like mine. Many a photo has been taken of one of us sat in there…

I came to the point of two paths and I never know which one to take. A couple had just taken the left hand path so I took the right. A man called out to me halfway along.

It’s a dead end, just goes to the bay”

I knew it wasn’t, that a little path hidden round the corner would take me back to join the main path. But I didn’t tell him that. I actually couldn’t think quick enough to tell him any diffferent, so I just smiled and replied that I was heading for the bay anyway.

Soon the sign for Hawks End

Time to have my chat with Sylvia. I miss her company so much, her laughter, her frowning face whenever she disagreed 🤣. I always feel better after one of our chats……

A seagul squawked after another one as though giving it a good telling off

I could have sat with the others and waited for the launch to take me back but decided I’d carry on walking; only another 90 minutes or so to go.

I remember my friend, Pip, saying only last week, or was it the week before, how the fungi was back. Pip would know exactly which type it was, but to me, it’s just beautiful

Through the woods once more, …..coming out at the Alpacas field

And then the café at Nicole end, where most people stop for tea and one of their ginormous scones, but they hold no appeal for someone who doesn’t feel hunger or thirsty, so I walked on by after snapping at the boats in the marina

Portiscale and just 1 mile to go according to the sign post. The sheep in the field as they always are – Herdwicks I think..with their lovely monkey like faces

Legs weary, my Fitbit telling me why 

Photo

I head home for a cuppa…..still none of the forecasted rain thank goodness…..

Finally, instead of snuggling down for the evening, I decided to go and watch the opening of the Mountain Festival. It’s a sports and music festival over the entire weekend. It starts with time trials around the town centre, open to anyone to try their hand just for fun and was such a laugh to watch. First the men…….

Then the women…

And finally a bike trial as well…all just for the fun of it…

It finished off with drummers taking to the course where even their dog was dressed for the part

….but, without my hearing aids, to block out the loud tone, it would have been a tad too close for comfort, so I headed back just before they started

I didn’t need to go to the music concert in the evening as I could see and hear it from my room, very clearly😂🤣

Such a wonderful day…❤️

September trip to paradise….. 

It’s felt a long time coming even though it was only 5 weeks since I was there, but at last it’s time to go back to Keswick to banish the blues that appeared in August. I’d not had a good night for some reason, couldn’t stop my mind working overtime, which hasn’t happened for a long time. I’d done a Covid test the day before as I’d seen on the news how Cumbria Health bosses were asking visitors to test themselves before they arrive as numbers had shot up there. Thankfully it was negative. Maybe I was thinking about what I would have done if it had proved positive after all 😳

So I was awake before the alarm went off, had my shower and as I drew the curtains a damp rainy day greeted me. Such a change after the mini heatwave we’ve had over the last few days, but that’s the British weather for you 😂

It had been a beautiful misty morning the day before and felt like autumn had arrived…

I pottered around until the time of the taxi, but could feel the anxiety of the journey rising inside. I’d been going monthly to Keswick, simply to keep travelling, so I didn’t forget the routine, the process, but the uncertainty began to swell inside my stomach.

The taxi didn’t arrive on time. The taxi people are the only people I phone as my number appears in front of them and they immediately know it’s me before I answer. I rang their number and they answered “he’s just coming round your corner Wendy”…..no need for explanations from me. They know I ring if they’re late to check I’ve remembered to order it in the first place! As soon as I heard her words, I relaxed, looked out of my window and sure enough, he was just pulling up.

I got a cuppa tea at Hull before the second train and so far all was running to time. I always book a seat, but on the Transpennine, they have ‘Priority Seats’ that are never reserved. They’re wider and with more room which means I can have my suitcase next to me without the need for more stress to remember to find it and get off with it. Luckily I found one free today….

As we trundled by the Humber, the sun was trying to burn off the morning mist. The bridge hardly visible. Sadly the photo didn’t come out, so you’ll have to take my word for it 🙄 but further down the line I decided to try using my phone instead as the sun had replaced the rain

I used to only have my ipad for taking photos and remember taking some lovely ones of the Humber, but going by todays efforts I seem to have lost that art….😔

School holidays over meant the train was packed like sardines and a gentle chatter filled the carriage as we made our way to my next destination of Manchester. I felt the need to be in my own little world today so hoped no one would come and sit next to me….

I began to feel dementia making itself known. The gentle chattering was turning to a confused buzzing. I started to feel lost…This wasn’t the time or place for dementia to take over so I took my ipad out and played solitaire. Red Jack on black queen…..concentrate…….black five on red six…..

Leeds arrived and the buzz became a crescendo as people departed and new passengers took there place. Suitcases banging against my seat, impatient people pushing to get a seat. I closed my eyes and pretended I was in my room in paradise…….

The next time I opened my eyes, it was to hear the guard saying we were approaching Manchester ……..😳…managed to get my supper here as my sandwich shop would be closed by the time I get there…

The next train was a short trip to Lancaster and I ended up waiting an hour there for the final train as it was running 30 mins late. A young couple had been there for several hours as apparently trains from London had been badly delayed all day, especially in the morning when they were travelling. 

It eventually arrived and I sat opposite a mum with her lovely cute toddler. Mum gave her a jammy dodger and she promptly stuck her finger in the jam in the middle, then broke it open and licked all the contents from the inside, then discarded the biscuit…🤣…her mums eyes rolled in my direction and I told her my daughters used to do exactly the same but they scoffed the biscuit as well 😂

The little girl kept me entertained for the short journey to Penrith. As soon as we reached this dramatic bridge, I knew I was close…

My body began to relax, the anxiety that had plagued the journey starting to disappear. As I stood on the welcoming platform of Penrith I smiled to myself

Paradise was a bus ride away…..the familiar roads lighting the way to Keswick. Within minutes of arriving, I was in my room with a cuppa looking out over my favourite view

Tea drunk, I just had to go for a trundle to Friars Crag…as I walked through Hope park, I could hear 2 Robins singing to each other. Then the flash of orangey red caught my eye

I followed the sound and found its friend

Now I really was relaxed as I wandered around the flower beds

Event tents were being erected on the field by the water, ready for the start of the Mountain festival, which is an added bonus.

Reaching Friars Crag I could see my bench was taken, so I just stood….and looked….and breathed in the clean air

As I made my way back to my room for the night, the evening sun decided to shine. I couldn’t help but feel content. Inside my room once more, one final photo

The haze in my head that had plagued me the whole day, finally cleared and that was all down to being in paradise.

My final full day in paradise….

Last Thursday was my final full day and I decided to make it a bus trundling day…..I’d looked through the bus timetable and found a bus from Penrith that would take me to Pooley Bridge. I’d passed through it on the Penrith to Windermere bus but never stopped there and wanted to see Ullswater lake, the second largest lake in England according to the guide books and where the old fashion steam boats were. However Mr Google tells me it’s the 4th biggest 🤪……anyway it’s big – It’s a ribbon shaped lake, 7.5 miles long and 3-4 miles wide…….. it’s always looked inviting when I’ve passed through

But first I had to get to Penrith, which was easy enough as it’s the same bus I take to the station and always leaves at 20 past.

I got to the station in plenty of time only to find no-one waiting for the Penrith bus which was really unusual. I stood for a while, then glanced at the times on the lampost only to find to my horror that this one left at 08.55😳 it took me a while of staring to realise I’d missed it🙄

I sat for a while on the bench to squash my disappointment, my head feeling empty and lost at a solution but then I saw the Windemere bus arrive and thought maybe I could do the trip the other way round.  afterall I’d never done this one before so the only thing to spoil were my original plans. I decided to get on the bus and work it out from there.

As i settled into my front upstairs seat i took the timetable out for Pooley Bridge and instead of starting at Penrith, started at the other end, Windemere. It all seemed to slot into place even though it would all happen much later and hopefully before the rain arrived. 

Although I’d checked the timetable for Pooley, it never occurred to me to check the one to Penrith as it always left at 20 past……accept the one at 08.55 🙈

Anyway, the bus ride is always lovely with amazing scenery to while away the time

 As we reached Grasmere, home of Wordsworth’s Daffodil Garden, I saw the open top bus which was also going to Windermere. Hopped off mine and went upstairs on that one. It was breezy but mild. There was a gorgeous spaniel sat across from me loving the wind in his fur

We passed by Rydal water – always snap the single tree on the little island close to the bank

Derwentwater is low at the mo and so was this one

Into busy Ambleside and pass by the smallest house – one up one down…

Then on towards Windemere – the largest lake in England,  with the start of the lakearound Ambleside..

As we reached Windemere station, I had an hour to spare before my next bus, so decided to stay on the open top down to Bowness. Here I got off and went to my favourite deli and ordered my baguette for supper….there was a long queue so by the time I came out it was time to head back to the bus stop, passing by a very shiny Austin Healey, which I always thinks has a lovely big smile…..

Back to the bus station and within minute the Pooley bus arrived. I asked the driver if he could tell me when we’re there as I’d never gone this way before. His look said:

I’m fed up of tourists”

I smiled, and asked ‘or will it be obvious?” and all he said….

We’ll go over a big bridge and they’ll be lots of people, then you’re there” 

He wasn’t grumpy just on a downer day with tourists……so instead of relying on him, I just followed the bus time table mentally ticking off the stops.

Troutbeck followed by the baron and beautiful Kirkstone Pass that only comes to life as you reach the only Inn for miles. Then a few miles down the road, Ullswater Lake came into view at Patterdale, where it starts, followed by Glenridding, where I almost got off as it looked very friendly, then Park Brow where I saw a sign for waterfalls and almost got off again. My brain and body just don’t work quick enough and by the time I’ve thought of it the bus has started again 🙄

Finally we reached Pooley bridge. Yes, we did go over a bridge, a very new one as I found out later. In fact it only open last year….

I got off and immediately felt lost and wanted to go back to Keswick, but the next bus to Penrith wasn’t for an hour so I had to mooch around. I suppose it was because of its unfamiliarity. I didn’t feel safe tootling down inviting lanes as I do in Keswick. So I just kept to the Main Street, first crossing the new bridge to look at the river which runs into the lake

We’d passed the Steamer launch on the bus, so I carried on round the corner and came to a viewing point

Then the steamer launch. It wasn’t a very friendly place, the signs saying, you have to book online and before 9am of the day you want to have a ride. No turning up if the fancy takes you, no smiley man at the desk. Felt very cold, so I just left.

A couple more photos later….

……And I was back where I started. There was still 20 minutes for the bus, so I got myself an ice cream and sat on the wall watching the world go by. It’s probably a lovely favourite place for many, just as Keswick is for me, but I just wanted to get back to my paradise……I also remembered I don’t like ‘big’ and Ullswater is big, just like Windemere. I prefer the coziness of Derwentwater. Just as I’ve never yearned to climb big mountains; Cat Bells, Walla Crag being perfect for me. My youngest daughter, Gemma, always likes ‘small’, miniature items and I’m the same.

As I’m looking through my days photos as I’m writing this blog, the ones at Pooley Bridge, bring no emotion, yet as soon as I get to the Keswick ones, my smile returns…..

A couple of hours later and 2 bus rides, I was finally ‘home’. It instantly felt better, wrapping me in a large welcoming hug. After dropping my supper off in my room, I knew if I sat down I’d be in for the ramainder of the day. Instead I went straight out for my last visit to Friars Crag.

The bench was empty and waiting for me

This is where I belong I thought, as I sat and simply stared

I could see the rain clouds rolling in across Borrowdale in the distance. Cat Bells would be there for me next month when I’m here

The familiar, that’s what I have to have now, the familiar……it had been a glorious week, but as I got back to my room, it was as though the weather knew I was leaving; spots of rain splattering my window and the view gently being rubbed out by the approaching clouds…as if the weather was weeping at my departure…or was that me…..

A wonderful few days in paradise. Wonder which fell I will climb next time….?