Where even the sheep (and teenagers) smile

Happy herdwick sheep

Surely there is no other place in this whole wonderful world quite like Lakeland … no other so exquisitely lovely, no other so charming, no other that calls so insistently across a gulf of distance. All who truly love Lakeland are exiles when away from it.”  A.Wainwright


Hello! I hope this finds you well and that everything is ticking along nicely in your world. It’s amazing to think it’s 2nd November today – standing outside, gazing out to sea with the warm (yes, properly warm) sun on my face this morning, it could have been September. There are still bees and other insects buzzing about in the garden, making the most of these golden autumnal days. There is still colour from zinnias and nasturtiums and cosmos – perky annuals boldly ignoring the fact that winter is coming. It’s a gift of a day.

I quickly wanted to share a few photos from our trip to the Lake District last week. October half term is when we hot-foot it to Cumbria if we can – although we have never lived there, we’ve been visiting and walking in the Lakes for years, BC (Before Children) and AC, and we do, as Wainwright says, almost feel like exiles when we’re not there. October is a beautiful time of year to visit and if we’re lucky with the weather there are enough hours of daylight to go on long expeditions into the mountains. The weather wasn’t great this year but we didn’t mind too much. We were all very tired and used the excuse of the heavy wind and rain (storm Brian) to sleep in, curl up and read, watch films and have long lunches. By Wednesday, though, we were restored enough and the weather was calm enough for us to head out for a Big Walk. David’s sister joined us from Warrington and his brother, his wife and one of his daughters drove from Norfolk for a couple of days – they all grew up in the north-west and often walked in the Lakes, so it’s almost become a mini annual pilgrimage.

We set off – 5 adults, 4 teenagers, 2 dogs – with pockets and rucksacks bulging with supplies, following the route David had planned the night before from our cottage in Patterdale, into Grisedale Valley, up to Grisedale Tarn, then a steep scramble up to the top of Fairfield (2863ft). The summit of Fairfield is a grassy plateau; Wainwright says, “Mention should be made of the excellent turf on this wide top: weary feet will judge it delightful.” Our weary feet were very grateful for it and the views were certainly worth the effort of getting there. The walk home to Patterdale wasn’t all downhill. We climbed down to Cofa Pike then up and across a ridge to St Sunday Crag (what a great name) and followed the ridge up and down, along and back down to the village with the magnificent view of Ullswater before us. This route was, as Wainwright remarks, “…an exhilarating and beautiful walk.”

We didn’t get lost in clouds, we didn’t get soaked, we had enough food, no-one went off in a strop (it has been known), the dogs didn’t try to chase the sheep (firm hands on leads) – seven and a half hours after setting off, we were all back at the cottage, smiling and tired, slightly sore-footed and looking forward to a slap-up meal in the pub. It may have been the last Big Walk we will do as a family for a while – this time next year my eldest son will hopefully be at university, a fact that wasn’t lost on him and may have been why he seemed to enjoy it so much.


Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments on my previous post; sorry I haven’t replied individually yet. I am still mulling it all over 🙂 More soon.

Have a lovely weekend.



27 thoughts on “Where even the sheep (and teenagers) smile

  1. Lovely post! Took me back to lambs jumping in April many years ago and a hillside so busy with walkers you couldn’t even find a private stone to have a pee behind! Exquisite landscape, to be much treasured.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s such a beautiful part of the world. I’ve only ever visited in autumn, can’t imagine it at any other time of year. I do love it up there, I’ve been trying to steer us up there for a while. I’ll manage it one day! Glad you all had such a good time, especially as it’s the last one with your eldest son. CJ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh we were up in the Lakes last weekend Sam although our walking was probably at a much lower level and not as energetic as yours. It’s a such a beautiful and tranquil part of the country so it’s no surprise that those sheep have smiles on their faces. It sounds as if you all had a most enjoyable and relaxing week.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh what a fabulous holiday Sam. My grandad was born in Morecambe and as a child our family holidays to the Lakes were always epic. At university and afterwards my boyfriend (also a David and also from Warrington!) had many holidays camping and walking in the Lakes during our seven-year relationship. I still have the Berghaus fleece I bought for our very first holiday together. I’m afraid to say I haven’t been to the Lakes with my family, although my son has been up a couple of times lately with his university friends to camp so I’ve seen the Lakes afresh through his spectacular photographs. He camps iin very remote places and gets up very early! I’ve also got my grandad’s fantastic archive of photographs dating from the 1920s until the 1990s. He was such a hale and hearty fellow and swam in the sea at Goring all year round until well into his eighties. I’m sure he was conditioned for this by his upbringing. It is sad when family holidays come to an end but as I’ve just returned from a sunshine holiday to southern Italy with my husband I cannot be too disappointed. Thanks for sharing your precious family holiday times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How wonderful to have such good memories of spending time in the Lakes and to have your granddad’s photos, Sarah. I hope you had a lovely holiday in Italy – it must be super being able to go out of season and to have adventures together again. I hope life is going swimmingly for you (I miss your blog). x


  5. I miss going to the Lakes! We used to go when we only had two children, not sure why we stopped. I guess the Scottish Highlands are breathtaking in their own right, too. I really want to go back to Cumbria, particularly after seeing your beautiful photos.

    Thanks for the tree tip over at mine 🙂 I had not thought of this company. Funny, because I actually know the owner! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, yes, of course the Highlands are wonderful, too 🙂 How funny that you know the owner of that nursery – they’ll be able to give you top advice!


  6. Thanks for sharing. It’s years since we’ve visited the lakes and these photos make me determined to return. Happy to hear you had such a great time as an extended family. Those Herdwicks would make anyone smile!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That looks and sounds like a wonderful place to spend some family time. I have only looked in on Cumbria in passing, but I love the wild scenery and those hills – lovely photos! My family feel connected when we spend time together in North Norfolk, so I can understand the ‘annual pilgrimage’. Hope it has recharged the batteries for you all. Enjoy your warm spell now Sam!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It can be good to get extended family together and this was clearly a successful break for you. Our Edinburgh long w/es do this to a degree, but sadly my Girls and their familiies find it harder to get there than some of their cousins, but they did make it for their Grannie’s 90th. With the first of your brood due to leave home next year you will increasingly aware that a new era is imminent…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I had always imagined the Lake District to be bucolic, gently rolling sheep pastures, dotted with swan-swimming lakes bordered by the occasional crumbling stone ivy-encrusted country houses. It surprises me every time I see what it actually looks like. All that rugged terrain and jagged edges–nothing like what I imagined. I hope to hike there someday. And those sheep!!! I would smuggle home some fleeces.

    It must have been bittersweet knowing this was the last of this kind of holiday with all of your kids. But the next chapters will be just as wonderful in their own way.


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