Friday, 26 August 2011

Hawkshead Revisited.


I had an impromptu trip up to the Lakes earlier in the week and decided to re-visit Hawkshead. The ferry traffic was queuing but I managed to squeeze on board as the last car. I drove past the Sawrey Inn and noticed it had had a face lift and a new name, it's now called The Cuckoo Brow Inn which made me feel a little sad as this was the first hotel Janet and I stayed in many years ago. It will always be the Sawrey Inn for me and I should imagine countless other people.

The sun started to break through in Hawkshead and it quickly turned into a lovely afternoon. I had a walk up to St Michael and All Angels Church which is beautiful inside. One of the finest views of the South Lakes can be had from the graveyard as it is set high on a hill. Hawkshead was originally owned by the monks of Furness Abbey. It grew to be an important wool market in medieval times and later as a market town after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1532. It was granted its first market charter by King James I in 1608 and was where poet William Wordsworth was educated, whilst Beatrix Potter lived nearby in Near Sawrey.

The place has a timeless atmosphere and consists of a characterful warren of alleys with overhanging gables and a series of medieval squares. It is eloquently described in William Wordsworth's poem, 'The Prelude'.

With it's Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter connections, it is a magnet for Japanese tourists who flock in to the many souvenir shops and take photos of just about anything! I did buy one of the Michelin "I-Spy" books for the Lake District in which there is one of my photos and this has been passed to on to a certain young lady who I hope will tick off most of the places over the next few years :)

The town itself was quite busy as you would expect for a holiday period so I had a wander around the shops and took plenty of photos as it in full bloom. I did resisted the urge to call in one of the many pubs though..........but sped off to The Drunken Duck at Barnsgate instead  ;)

Even though the pub was busy I managed to get a seat on the benches outside which overlooked the Ambleside area. The Cracker ale was definitely on cracking form and it was grand to get away from the crowds of Hawkshead. I was a good boy though and only had one pint before heading back to the caravan for a couple of nights stay.

A journey of two halves.

It was one of those all too frequent occasions when the weather forecast had a big wad of thick cloud and rain hanging over Cumbria whilst ...