Keswick 2013

The Alley to Crandy NookFire!Street TheatreInvaders!Tiny Castle CragCatbells and Maiden Moor
Pitch and Putt22 years later...NappingWatching the sleepy cowsGrandma's cakeSkiddaw
WaitingLow cloudShelteringLakeland rainThe Keswick LaunchRigging
Amy & SamDistant boatLow cloud 2Coming closerDe-riggingHappy sailor!

Keswick 2013, a set on Flickr.

Another Cumbrian adventure in the North Lakes with the Family and In-Laws of Mine.

Mountain walking, Wayfarer sailing, Lake kayaking, ice-cream eating, Jennings drinking, game playing, jigsaw failing, sheep spotting, photograph taking, waterfall finding…

A great time was had by all.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains

Now you might think this would have been an easy topic for me, given that I have just returned from a two-week trip around Scotland and the North of England.

No so. Still ploughing through the hundreds of photographs I took, there are no snaps that are any more than just that, a record of another family holiday. Lots of the Children of course, and of the things we did together – beachcombing in Broadford Bay; the Skye Highland Games in Portree; walking – mainly in the rain – with waterproofs on and hoods up; swimming in the Fairy Pools in the Cuillin Mountains; eating vast portions of mussels; even forming a Roman Army at Hadrian’s Wall.

But for the sake of the photo challenge, here’s a view of the Cuillins from a seal-watching boat trip from Elgol through Loch Scavaig to Loch Coruisk.

Award-winning landscape photographer Stewart Smith was in Skye at the same time as the Family. A few tweets were exchanged: about the midges, the weather and the fact that he was on holiday, not at work, and therefore not getting up at 2am to capture the dramatic light across the mountain peaks that forms the essence of his photography.

So why not pop on over to to view his holiday snaps of the same area.

They’re a bit better than mine…


Honister Pass is one of my favourite Lakeland passes, linking Keswick to Buttermere, via the beautiful Borrowdale valley, then on to the village of Lorton where the road winds back to Keswick by way of the Whinlatter Pass, or continues to the market town of Cockermouth.

Last night saw me catching up on my reading pile – the March issue of Cumbria Life, which was waiting for me when I returned from Keswick two weeks ago and the newspapers and magazines that I habitually buy on a Thursday – The Times, the local paper and the Radio Times.

‘Owner of last slate mine dies in air crash.’

My attention was drawn to this small piece in The Times on Thursday 10 March, sadly reporting the death of Mark Weir, the owner of Honister Slate Mine on 9 March, whose helicopter had crashed on his way home from the mine.

It is clear from the tributes that are being posted on the Facebook page set up in his memory, as well as those on the websites of the various local newspapers, that he was an inspirational man with a passion and vision that breathed new life into the last working mine of its kind in England.

I last visited Honister in August 2009, stopping at the café at the mine for a much-needed cuppa, after climbing Haystacks from Buttermere with the Family and in-laws.

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No time to take a mine tour or climb Fleetwith Pike along the Via Ferrata on this occasion, but it was definitely on our wish list to do on a future visit to the Lakes.  We also needed to wait until Son of Mine was older and taller.

And with two under 10s in tow, there was no way Husband of Mine and I could plan that luxury break to Paradigm – the luxury self-catering properties run by Mark’s partner, Jan – with the chance to maybe experience a flight in the helicopter with Mark on his way to or from work at Honister.

As with much in life, the timing was all wrong.

I seem to remember from an interview I read, probably in one of the Cumbrian magazines I subscribe to or the local papers that I tend to buy when I’m up there, that Mark had ideas to create an underground theatre in the mine.  Now that would really have been right up my mountain, if you get my drift.

I didn’t know Mark Weir personally, but with an idea like that, then who knows, maybe an opportunity would have come my way to meet him.

The sad thing is that now I will never get the chance.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and colleagues.


‘Good things get better, bad get worse. Wait, I think I meant that in reverse.’ – Company

Things can go backwards, yes? Some of my favourite things are backwards – Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along – where the story is told in reverse chronological order and the opening episode of Series 3 of Red Dwarf set on a version of Earth where everything is reversed.

So this is the week I start a backwards blog project.

You see, I’ve just been up to the Lakes with the Family; the first time we’ve been up there in the true winter months. I thought it would be fun to blog whilst there, having taken with me no less than three cameras, a laptop, a iPod Touch and a mobile with the WordPress app installed.

I thought I could easily keep up with postaweek2011 this way. But understandably, I spent more time up the mountains than writing about them. My ideas of a daily blog became nothing more than scribbled (what is the digital equivalent of ‘scribbled’? ‘tapped’? ‘prodded’?) notes:

Sunday. Tried to get to Giants Hands. Daughter of Mine – bad ankle. Portinscale gift shop. Bought postcards. Photography by lake – Nicol End. Husband and Son of Mine went on to find geocache. Daughter of Mine rescued in car. Keswick Festival of Light in evening. Chips, curry sauce and pint of Jennings in front of The Sound of Music.

You get the gist. Not hugely entertaining. And not even accompanied by one of the 800+ photos I had taken as I had managed to forget the leads to connect the better of my two cameras to the laptop, and the ones shot on my phone were only really suitable for a quick Facebook update.

So here’s one for starters. Family of Mine atop High Rigg with views to Skiddaw and Blencathra.

So there may be blog entries to follow. Backwards. Memories of things that were.

Or are they things that might be?

She’ll be coming ’round the mountain

It was sunny today here in Sussex – so here’s a sunny-ish Lake District photo to celebrate, taken last August on a circular walk incorporating Causey Pike and Sail.

Looking east from towards Keswick

The Family were on holiday last August together with In-Laws of Mine, in the week leading up to two big birthdays – my 40th and my father-in-law’s 70th!  On the day of this walk, they had gone with the children to climb Castle Crag in Borrowdale, leaving me and Husband of Mine to enjoy this long walk.  

Starting at Stair, we made the ascent to Causey Pike via Rowling End, then went on to Sail and Crag Hill before descending some very steep scree to the valley below.  It was a fabulous walk – as always – but made even more entertaining by watching a group who were gorge walking in Stoneycroft Gill. 

Gorge walking involves walking and scrambling through water, swimming across pools and climbing up waterfalls.   Judging by the cheers and shouts of encouragement, the group were obviously having great fun – plucking up the courage to jump from a rocky ledge into the freezing Lakeland water, and then heading downstream to do it all again at the next suitable place.  

If you fancy a bit of gorge walking this year (and I don’t), then check out this video:

Personally, I’d rather just go up, along, round and down the mountain.  Singing ‘aye-aye-yippee-yippee-aye’.  With a squashed cheese and pickle sandwich and a flask of tea in my rucksack.  Follow that with Cumberland sausage and mash in the Oddfellows Arms in Keswick, washed down with a pint of Jennings, and a performance at the Theatre by the Lake

Who could ask for anything more?

Rambling on and on…

Right.  Probably about time I mentioned a hill in my blog.  I got into walking early on my relationship with Husband of Mine*;  in a field of cows on the Isle of Wight; on the South Downs and then in the mountains of Slovenia – in fact, it was Svinjak near Bovec that pretty much cemented things in 1988 (he proposed; I accepted). 

Svinjak from east of Bovec

This was followed a couple of years later by a holiday in the English Lake District, carting the In-Laws of Mine’s* luggage from B&B to B&B while they walked the Coast to Coast walk, in return for the use of their car for the duration of the holiday.  Despite the lousy campsite at Bassenthwaite, I fell in love with Keswick in the North Lakes, and it is here I escape to in the flesh, or in my head – when times are good, or bad, or in-between.  The header at the top of my blog is one of the most photographed shots in the Lakes – Catbells from the shores of Derwentwater – with another favourite family climb, Castle Crag, just visible in the foreground at the end of the lake.  I’m proud to say the photograph is one of mine – I’m no expert, but then to me the mountains never fail to show their best side when I point my camera at them.

The Family – Daughter of Mine* and Son of Mine* – now have to share our love of walking; at the moment it seems quite happily.  Here’s a snap taken last weekend on a walk from Amberley to Arundel – casting our family shadow across the Arun valley.

*The Family of Blood – Doctor Who, Series 3 – share such scary coincidences with my immediate family that I thought these pseudonyms to be appropriate.  The resemblance is most apparent in Son of Mine and Daughter of Mine, who are indeed sometimes “gaseous entities that can control Human bodies” (namely mine – “twist”, “little” and “finger” are words that come to mind).  And The Family are all fans of DW – past, present and future…