2014:  April 23

Lake Windermere

The weather had mellowed a tad, but not enough for a more serious mountain enterprise. Lake Windermere and its associated touristy things were thus ideal candidates, being reasonably weatherproof. A cruise on the lake and a visit to the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway were rounded off with a look around the motor museum in Newby Bridge. A day of new and interesting experiences, even if not of the mountain kind.

Bowness to Lakeside

Bowness on Lake Windermere was the place to aim for. Taking a B&B in Windermere, with its good travel connections, had its definite advantages, for it was only a twenty minute walk to Bowness, with its boat excursions waiting to greet the visitors.

Walking down to Bowness, I passed the famous, but modestly sized, clock tower which stands on the boundary between Windermere and Bowess.

As expected, tickets were easily sorted out - after all, the tourist trade is something of a life-blood for the locality and this sort of thing has to function! On boarding the "Swan", I asked when the boat would arrive at Lakeside, and was informed that Windermere boats (originally steamers that is) only ever had two accidents. You ask one question and get the answer to another. This phenomenon seems to happen quite often in life; it's long lost its novelty - at least for us non-political mortals!

The "Swan" casts off from Bowness and ...

... passes some of the ubiquitous sailing boats that are sprinkled over the lake.

The mists over the lake seem to enhance the majestic feel of the surroundings. By the way, if you are keen to know, Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England, being 10 miles long and having a maximum width of 1 mile. You never know, it might be the answer to a quiz question.

The weather clears a bit, and the Union Jack is proudly fluttering in the wind.

Some more sailing boats.

A Victorian mansion sits proudly on the shores of the lake. The mansion probably now belongs to some large organisation or hotel.

This looks like a view on the River Rhine. The boat is the "Tern" and started life as a steam boat; in the quest for efficiency and cost effectiveness, it is now dieselised, like so many former lake steamers in the Lake District.

We are making for Lakeside straight ahead. Lakeside is the terminus of the Lakeside and Haverthwaite heritage railway.

Lakeside to Haverthwaite

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway (L&H) used to continue to Ulverston. All that remains is the under 3½ mile wriggly stump. A lot of effort was needed to persuade the local administrative authorities that even this short stretch had tourist potential!

At Lakeside, the engine driver takes a short rest before returning to Haverthwaite.

I estimated the L&H to be 3.22 miles (5.17 Km) in length,
which sort of ties in with the "under 3.5 miles" in the official "blurb".

The line sits at about 50 metres above sea level, dropping off a bit towards the south.

On the journey to Haverthwaite we are hauled by the powerful "Princess",
a war-time baby from 1942.

The extreme southern end of Lake Windermere was once mooted for the landing stage for the lake steamers, until it was decided to extend the railway to the present Lakeside terminus. As might be expected, Lakeside offered steamers a deeper draught.

"Princess" chugs on through sylvan surroundings ere it reaches Haverthwaite.

Haverthwaite - The Station and Owls

Haverthwaite Station is full of interest, apart from the obligatory shop and eatery. Some owls stand guard on the platform, under the watchful eye of an "Owlmaster" - their owner no doubt. To absorb the various aspects of interest, I spend an hour at Haverthwaite, before returning on a subsequent train.

At Haverthwaite Station, "Princess" prepares to run round its train, ...

... but not before taking on water to replenish its thirst.

This tunnel marks the present southern end of the L&H. "Princess" chugs smartly out to head its train back to Lakeside. For those in the know, "Princess" is an industrial 0-6-0 saddle tank.

As already seen, the last (or first as apppropriate) coach of the train
provides nice photographic opportunities.


Three owls are on display on the platform. One of them is this Eagle Owl, which is honoured here by having two pictures of itself, pictures which indicate that this smartly-feathered bird is constantly looking left, right, and ahead, as if looking out for its prey.
Woe betide any "wee, timorous, cowering beastie" in its presence.
Note: sharp beak and sharp claws.


To the left is our native Barn Owl. To the right is an "East Asian Screech Owl", looking very sleepy and not doing much screeching. Owls are, after all, usually nocturnal; this therefore implies that owls usually exhibit a preference for screeching in the night, if screech they must.

Haverthwaite - The Engine Shed

Engine sheds on heritage railways - as you can imagine - are always to someone like me foci of interest. The locomotives mainly reflected the motive power associated with the 40s, 50s and 60s, although some older specimens were part of the mix. Two steam (not diesel) rollers provided some additional historical interest.

On busy days, the railway relies heavily on its two Fairburn 2-6-4 tanks built in the early 50s.

These Fairburn tanks were built after Nationalisation in 1948, but - like many locomtives - had their origins before that year.

Cylinder, piston rods and linkages - these are what makes the engine, and its train, move.

This engine has LMS origins but was built on SR territory in the now defunct Brighton workshops.

This 0-6-0 saddle tank was built as late as 1950 for the National Coal Board, who had a ready supply of the appropriate fuel to run it. Its flat chimney is meant to create an exhaust blast which draws the fire a tad more effectively than a conventional round chimney does; this should in theory reduce coal consumption.

The British Armed Services ordered locomotives of this "Austerity" type during the war. Perhaps that's why this one proudly carries a military name: "Repulse".

This engine is a product of the famous Hunslet works in the Leeds suburb of that name.

Modernisation was in full swing when this Diesel was built in 1962.
Steam had not long to go.

Some of these Class 20s are still on the main line. This one was built in 1967 at the end of steam. The headcode spells out the present year (2014, if you happen to be reading this later on in our decade or century!), but this headcode is probably not functional in this context.

The L&H has two steam (as opposed to diesel) rollers bearing its name. The rollers look a bit like traction engines, and indeed, were similarly constructed apart from the obvious differences.

Haverthwaite - Another Look Around the Station and Owls

There was time to take a last look at Haverthwaite Station and the owls before the next train back to Lakeside. Having seen the main aspects, one starts to absorb the details of the brickwork, ironwork and lettering. Why not? Better than sitting around and looking bored and glum!!

This used to be part of the pre-grouping Furness Railway, which company had, like other railway companies, its particular and preferred style for the brickwork and painting of its stations and installations.

This view towards Lakeside looks a bit dark, but ...

... a close-up reveals the locally typical construction of the iron work -
I mean of the bridge of course!


Here's the eagle owl again. Same bird - different camera magnifications. The things on its head are not what you might think they are. The ears are hidden on the sides of its head.

The signal box is on the station platform - a practice that was not uncommon in days of yore. I'm not sure what sort of font it is that spells out "Haverthwaite" on the side of the box undeneath the cross - a font that may not yet feature in the extensive list of fonts that accompany Microsoft® Word™.

Here's a last view of the station bridge before the train comes in.

Haverthwaite to Lakeside

It's a nice journey back, in the end coach with its panoramic view of the receding landscape. The seats in this part of the train are not that comfortable for an "observation coach", being two park or station benches bolted into the floor. "Hard class" travel yes, but certainly worth the panoramic views!

"Princess" once again goes through its time-honoured ritual: uncoupling, ...

... watering, ...

... and running around its train.

We're off, and Haverthwaite Station and its crowd of onlookers recede into the distance.

Haverthwaite Station gets further ...

... and further into the distance ...

... and finally seems to disappear in smoke!

We are in open country on a ledge above the valley.
The traditional signal adds a speck of colour.

Woodland ...

and more woodland and an overbridge herald the approach to Newby Bridge Halt, ...

... where it was at one time intended to build the landing stage for the lake steamers.

Trains halt by request, and for this train service there was no request, so on we go.

We keep the tip of Lake Windermere ...

... on our left.

After a bit more open country, ...

... we finally reach the bridge at the throat of the trackwork at Lakeside.

Lakeside is nigh ...

... and here it is, complete with a boat-lifting crane (small boats).

All detrain and ...

... the engine gets ready ...

... for the return run to Haverthwaite.

The station is conveniently (as intended) ...

... right next to the water's edge. This is the view "up lake" towards Bowness.

The craft of the presumed affluent hover in the vicinty.

While the boats lend an air of affluence, the wrought iron railings lend an air of elegance.

Car Museum

Cars are not my scene. It is precisely for that reason that I decide to visit the car museum to which a free bus is laid on. I mean, why get stuck in a furrow of patavinity of one's own creation? There is a lot to see in the museum and its annex. In fact there is so much to see and so little time. Therefore I initially focus on the old timers. Then I visit the display of the vehicles in which the Campbells, father and son, aimed to go "record-breakingly" fast on land and water. All very interesting!

I wish I knew the make of this car ...

... but this one is labelled 1913 STAR 15.9 HP, which makes me a bit wiser.

Now this is a 1920, Ford Model T van ...

... and there are no guesses as to where it was at home!

USA registration plates provide a riot of colour as a wall decoration.

That's the 1913 STAR car again.

A smaller building nearby is dedicated to the Campbells - Donald and Malcolm I mean.

Sir Donald Campbell was keen on land-speed records ...

... and his ill-fated son, Malcolm Campbell CBE, on water-speed records.
Here is Malcolm Campbell's K4 craft (no connection with the Himalayas).

Here is a life-sized replica of his K7 craft
in which he came to grief on Lake Coniston in 1967.

Lakeside to Bowness

Returning to Bowness by boat was probably quicker than catching the bus from Haverthwaite, and, anyway, allowed me to see what I may have missed in the morning. There was a bit of rain, but nothing too serious.

Rain falling on a window often makes an "impressionist painting" of the scene being viewed. So it was of this view towards the northern end of Lake Windermere through one of the boat's front windows. It was wet and windy on the deck outside.

The expensive Lakeside Hotel recedes in the distance.

Another "impressionist view".

"Full steam ahead".

Affluent houses line the east side of Lake Windermere. There are mainly large estates on the west side, and so less houses there.

Ahead and to the right lies Grade II* Storrs Hall with Georgian roots, completed in 1797, and now an expensive hotel.

Storrs Hall was visited by Constable, Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, but probably not when John Bolton was the owner. John Bolton was active in the slave trade; he was not punished for this, but on the contrary, used the trade to make money for himself. Officially, of course, slavery was subsequently abolished through the efforts of, amongst others, William Wilberforce.

This belongs to Storrs Hall and celebrates some British naval heroes.

Some more affluence comes into view ...

... with houses, woodland, and ...

... sailing boats.

Here is "Tern" with its distinctive prow.
Probably one of the last sailings of the day from Bowness to Lakeside.

Bowness is but a short distance away ...

... and the outlines of its buildings start to be discernable.

Just a few minutes now to docking.

End of the Day

The "Swan" docked at about 5 pm. I decided to do things in comfort and so took the waiting bus back to Windermere. I got to the "Lazy Daisy" restaurant for an early evening meal. It was a day full of surprises and new discoveries. I felt that the Lake Windermere experience was a reasonably creative and positive way of dealing with the weather!

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