Sunday, August 18, 2013

Buttermere and Mirehouse

On our second day in the Lake District, we took a pretty drive to Lake Buttermere. Lots of green mountains, stony rivers, and waterfalls. Simply gorgeous!

We stopped briefly at the slate mine at the top of the mountain range, but we had just missed the tour by ten minutes. So we drove on.
And saw this dude.

This is Lake Buttermere, by which we saw the oddly-shaven sheep. 
We followed the loop-road up past Buttermere, north to Cockermouth, and back around Bassenthwaite Lake. On the far side of the Lake, which is about 15 minutes drive from Keswick, we stopped at the Mirehouse.

Mirehouse is a pretty homestead that was built in 1666. In the 1800s, the house passed to the Spedding family, who had links to some of the great poets, including Lord Tennyson, who visited or stayed at the house.

From the grounds of the house you can take a 'romantic walk' (inspired by the romantic poets who visited the area) through the woods to a little Saxon church beside Lake Bassenthwaite. St Bega's Church dates to around AD950 and was dedicated to the Celtic Saint, Bega. The current frontage of the church dates to 1300, and it underwent further restoration in 1874. Lord Alfred Tennyson based the opening lines of his poem, 'Morte d'Artur', on this church. 

We then walked a loop track back to the homestead, I got stung viciously by stinging nettle, we passed some vintage farm machinery, and we walked the (newly-planted and thus not very challenging) maze in the grounds of Mirehouse. But, on to more important things.
This one's for you, Father Moffat.
Adam, mastering the maze.

Across the road from Mirehouse is a forest. A forest from which you can spy on nesting ospreys, a whole valley away. So we began the climb. And climbed some more, and some more, and - after a few more puffs on the ventolin - climbed some more. Finally we reached the osprey viewing point.

We only arrived five minutes before the volunteers who manned the binoculars were due to leave, so there was no time to take pictures. However we were very lucky and were able to catch a glimpse of the whole family - mum, dad, and two chicks, far across the valley. 

To give you an idea of how large ospreys are, this is a replica of a nest - complete with handsome osprey chick!

After the volunteers took their binoculars away, we walked back down the mountain, this time we used a different path, and found it was a bit less steep than the first. Though that may have been the illusion of travelling downhill...

Halfway, we came across a squirrel feeding box - empty - and some birds, a rabbit, and this colourful fellow.
A woodpecker gets some afternoon tea
Oh! Did I mention why we were nearly too late to view the ospreys? On our way up the mountain we came across a feeding box, and two cameras trained on it. We stopped and watched to see which creature was being streamed live to the internet. (Technophobes - this means that on some website on the internet, you could watch live as the cameras filmed the feeding box. It's a wonderful world.)

You guessed it - squirrels!!

In the next blog post, a visit to Beatrix Potter's house and, in the one after that, more squirrels!!

No comments:

Post a Comment