Tuesday July 29th ~ The Lake District, England
After our snafu with the booking the previous day, The Mountain Goat driver showed up right on time. We were off to a great start on our second day trip with them. Our first trip had been a couple of days earlier when we took the “Ten Lake Spectacular” trip. Today we were signed up for the High Adventure tour.
Our driver, Malcolm, is chatty with an ongoing dialog about the history, geology and highlights along the drive. He is well-informed, friendly and keeps us interested in what we are seeing.
When the land was first settled, the fields were full of rocks. As they cleared the fields, the rocks were used to create both property borders and a means to keep their cattle, sheep or goats from roaming. All built by hand, the rocks are carefully fitted together in an intricate pattern. No cement or mortar was used. Many walls are several hundred years old that still stand today.
The Herdwick sheep breed is unique to this area and was championed by the children’s author, Beatrice Potter. Ms. Potter was also an accomplished artist. One of her most well-known works is The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which she both wrote and illustrated.
As her success and wealth grew, she purchased many farms and land around the Lake District. Leasing some of the farms out, she stipulated that only Herdwick sheep could be raised on them. Upon her death, she left her vast property holdings to the National Trust.
Today 99% of the Herdwick’s can be found in this area.
The wool is coarse, and they are raised more for food than the fashion industry. The lambs are born black and change color as they age from brown to grey and eventually almost white.
I guess the black wool, due to its coarseness is undesirable. Also for clothing, the white wool can more easily be died to any color they want. Got me thinking about the nursery rhyme,
“Bah, bah black sheep have you any wool, yes sir, yes sir, three bags full”
And about our saying “Black sheep of the family”. The origins of saying sometimes surprises me.
Another interesting breed we saw was the Belted Galloway cattle. Black in color with a white “belt” around their middle section. They have been nicknamed the Oreo cows.
Traveling over high mountain peeks, and through valleys, many of our views were disappointing due to the weather. Coffee stop in a small village along the way.
UPDATE: Lisa, who we met on our India trip in March has identified this flower for me as Allium. Thank you Lisa!
We took another train ride today. This time it was on a narrow gauge heritage line, Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. The tracks are only 15 inches apart. It felt more like a kiddie train, but fun none-the-less.
And finally the view we had been waiting for. Wastwater Lake is England’s deepest lake with the highest mountain behind it. This was once voted Britain’s favorite view.
Our last stop of the day was at Muncaster Castle. We were mainly there to enjoy the gardens and visit the World Owl Trust Sanctuary. From Eagle Owls to Barn Owls, exotics to common, large to small, Burrowing, Striped and Speckled, this is a wonderful showcase of a wide variety of owls.
With limited time, we chose to enjoy the Owl sanctuary and the gardens instead of going inside the castle.
We ended our time at the Lake District on a high note as the weather cleared and the sun once again came through. We leave tomorrow for Scotland!
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for animal conservationists. Thanks to the efforts of a few dedicated people, many animals that would have become extinct are still here for us to see, enjoy and appreciate. Thank you!