THE END of October marks the end of the season for many Lakeland businesses; village stores close, parking restrictions are eased and ferries start running to winter timetables so it’s an opportunity to explore a quieter countryside. From our hotel at Bowness-on-Windermere we walk to the car ferry and at Ferry House pick up the route of one of Mary Webb’s Tea Shop Walks in the Lake District. In six miles walking we don’t meet a single hiker or dog-walker, just one cyclist on a road section and two farmers auguring a pasture for soil samples. The Tea Shop closed for winter at the weekend, as did Beatrix Potter’s house at High Sawrey, which it stands close to. The Cuckoo Brow Inn at Far Sawrey makes a welcome alternative as a lunch stop.
We walk close to the shore of Windermere, from the tiny island of Ling Holme to the promontory of Rawlinson Nab. It’s quiet except for a gaggle of Canada and Pink-footed Geese. Other birds: Grey Wagtail, Robin, Great-crested Grebe, Black-headed Gull and, as we walk by a stretch of woodland cleared of conifers at Waterbarrow, Blue Tit and Nuthatches on the tall broadleaved trees that have been left standing. We see several squirrels, but all of them Grey, not Red, like the one we saw yesterday in Keswick. Perhaps the central fells act as a barrier to the spread of the Greys in Cumbria.
As this is Wordsworth country, I found myself inspired to verse. I wasn’t going to inflict this on you, but our friends had to have this on our postcard from the Lakes so I thought I’d add it to this post, just to show that I was getting into holiday mood:
As we were walking in the Lakes,
We searched in vain for tea & cakes.
We tramped five miles then had to pause
At Far Sawrey village stores.
Alas, the sign we chanc’d to see
Said ‘CLOSED NOVEMBER’ (no more tea!).
But round the corner we said ‘Wow! –
they’re serving soup at Cuckoo Brow!’
Soup of the day was French onion, complete with crouton, made with good stock (not vegetarian, I’m guessing) and not too salty like French onion soup often is.