Monday July 28th ~ Bowness-on-Windermere, England (Lake District)
Nice breakfast, camera in hand we waited curbside to be picked up for our all day tour.
After being so prompt the day before we decided we better give the company a call to make sure we had not been overlooked. Sure enough, there had been a communication snag somewhere along the way and although our driver, Anne, from yesterdays tour had called to reserve our trip, it had not been logged. The tour was now full and the bus already on the road.
The lady I spoke to was apologetic, and after sorting it all out, called the hotel back and offered us 1/2 off for the same trip the following day. Since we still had one more day at the lake, that worked out fine and saved us some money as well. All was good, we now just needed to figure out what we wanted to do today.
Feeling a bit of compassion for us, our hotel graciously offered us a complimentary ticket on Windermere Lake Cruises for the day. What a nice gesture!
So off we went to walk about a half block to the Lake Cruise ticket office. They have three different options, Yellow to Lakeside, Red to Ambleside and Blue for the islands. We had stopped in Ambleside the previous day, so we decided to take the Yellow route.
They offer a combination ticket for the cruise, museum and rail experience.
The next cruise left in less than 15 minutes time, but we were getting low on local currency to Tim decided to make a quick dash a couple of blocks up the hill to get some more cash. It was starting to look like Lady Luck was asleep on the job, as when he got to the ATM, it was out of cash.
Detouring back to our room he picked up a little cash from the room safe. As we rounded the corner back toward the pier, the whistle blew and the gangplank was being removed. Tim said we were too late and could take the next boat in just over an hours time.
Not one to give up easily, I took off at a run (well anyone that knows me, will understand that is slang for walking as fast as I could). Sprinting down the pier I hollered at the crew, “Have you got room for two more?”.
Surprise, surprise – they put the gangplank back in place and let us on!
I guess Lady Luck had just been on her coffee break earlier…
The 50 minute cruise brought us to the town of Lakeside. After alighting on the pier, we had two immediate options – take a bus to the Lakeside Motor Museum or hop on the awaiting steam engine train for a ride to Haverthwaite. I wanted to do both, but Tim was especially interested in the Motor Museum, so we opted to go there first, just in case we did not have enough time to do both.
The Lakeland Motor Museum was well laid out, with most of the vehicles in order, from oldest to newest. There were a lot of makes and models that I have never seen before. And it was not just cars. Vintage bicycles, motorcycles, even pedal cars were on display. They had rooms set up to represent an old garage and ladies fashions of the period were mixed along the way.
We spent two hours browsing the main exhibit building before moving into the cafe for a late lunch. The food was enjoyable and revitalized us enough to continue through the on site Campbell Bluebird Exhibition. Both father and son had been early pioneers in establishing and then repeatedly breaking both land and water speed records. Their story is portrayed in pictures, video and several of their vehicles are on display.
The bus ride back to the pier was timed just right to allow us to get onto the awaiting steam engine train. The train ride was meant more as a nostalgic trip to allow us to experience a day-gone-by era of train travel. It was relaxing and enjoyable, though not in the overly memorable category.
We spent close to an hour in Haverthwaite looking at the vintage trains and railway equipment before taking the train back to the pier and catching the last boat back to Bowness-on-Windermere.
This really was a day for vintage. The two boats were antiques as well. The “Swan” we sailed on this morning was made in 1938, but that is new compared to the “Tern” we were on in the afternoon. It was built in 1891.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for a chance to look into history. We got to sail on vessels from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, take a ride on a steam train, and walk through a museum filled with historical automobiles, bikes, motor bikes and much more.