Thursday, 4 July 2002

Lake Windermere

Once again we spent most of the day on the road, leaving Wales and heading up through the Lake Country of England to reach southwestern Scotland. Our major stop of the day was in the town of Bowness, on Lake Windermere. The Lake Country, a descriptive name for the region of Cumbria, is an area about 50 miles on a side in the northwest of England, bounded on the east by the Pennine Chain of mountains. Lake Windermere is the largest of the glacial lakes in the region, about ten and a half miles long by a mile wide at its widest point, and over 200 feet deep. The weather was cool and cloudy; the Pennines form a "rain shadow," so the Cumbria side is much wetter than County Durham and Yorkshire to the east.

Aboard a boat on Lake Windermere

We stopped for a couple of hours in Bowness, so many of us took a 45-minute boat ride out on the lake to look at the local shoreline and some of the major islands (the largest being Belle Isle, a mile long). Here are a bunch of us aboard the "Miss Lakeland"; you can see from our attire that this isn't Southern California weather! The water was very smooth, though, as there was little wind.

Along the shore of Lake Windermere

Several famous literary figures lived in towns along the shores of Lake Windermere and other lakes nearby. We saw the Dove Cottage in Grasmere and Rydal Hall, where William Wordsworth once lived. Samuel Taylor Coleridge also was a resident, as was favorite children's author Beatrix Potter. She is a large part of the reason that most of the buildings along the shores of Lake Windermere and on its islands are of a historical character; she purchased large areas of land in the area, and donated it to the National Trust. This is a preservation organization sort of like our Nature Conservancy, except that it is semi-private and that it is interested in preservation of historical as well as natural treasures. Several MBCCers mentioned Lake Arrowhead as an example of the kind of development that this donation prevented! I guess that explains why we didn't hear any Jet-Skis, too...

Peter Rabbit Centenary Clock

Beatrix Potter has a large presence in Bowness, with at least one shop dedicated to her and "The World of Beatrix Potter" in the Old Laundry Theatre in the center of town. This is a small but award-winning set of displays sculpting many scenes from her popular childrens' books. Cheryl and I didn't leave ourselves time enough between lunch and departure to go through the displays, but we did see this clock in the building. It shows many of the favorite characters (Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Hunca Munca, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and of course Peter Rabbit), and was built to celebrate the 100th year since the publication of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit."

Stars and Stripes

After leaving Lake Windermere, we continued north to the Scottish town of Dunkeld, where we will stay for the next four nights. This was Independence Day back home, so several choir members wore variations of the Stars and Stripes to dinner.

Newcomers in Dunkeld

At dinner we greeted two new arrivals, Steve Campbell and Jack Messenger, here with Kathy Campbell and Lois Bourgon. Barbara Fine and Alison Burleigh, whom we met on Saturday, were there as well, and I understand we will have more friends and family arriving soon!

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new 4 July 2002, revised 21 July 2002