Today, Easter Bank Holiday Monday, it was raining cats and dogs - legendary Bank Holiday weather.
For many it was their last full day in Wasdale, so - come what may - a walk was important to stave off "cabin fever". In fact, considering that accommodation had been booked for a whole week from Wednesday night to Wednesday morning, only five of us would stay on the extra day. Maybe the Easter Monday walk to Nether Wasdale also resulted from the lure of the "Strand Inn" and its microbrewery. Some of us, however, felt that we were not attuned to the duck world and thought we might get drenched - or at least soaked. So we stayed back at or near base, where there was plenty to keep us occupied as we shall see here.
In the morning it looked like a real "cats and dogs" day.
So the "remainers" looked around the inn or got on with their reading.
The Wasdale Head Inn was originally a farmhouse. It was enlarged in 1856 by Will Ritson (1808–1890) as an hotel. Will Ritson told tall stories and became known as the "World's Biggest Liar" and an annual competition to determine the "World's Biggest Liar" is held in his memory. Further superlatives in the area are of course Scafell Pike (England's highest mountain), St Olaf's church (claimed to be England's smallest church) and Wast Water (the deepest lake in England, deeper than Coniston Water of Donald Campbell fame). We shall look at the hotel entrance and the
hotel lounge. Not so meaningless an exercise, as we shall see!
The entrance has some interesting items of furniture embedded into the wall. These items may date from the time when the hotel actually consisted of three separate houses or cottages. Such furniture was regarded as valuable in days of yore and was often used to keep household effects.
This is part of the brassy key fob for each hotel room.
Mountains and pick axes indicate that Wasdale Head was the home of British climbing.
Not to be outdone by the clocks gracing the walls of international banks, these clocks in the entrance hall proudly tell visitors that the times in Wasdale and neighbouring Borrowdale and Eskdale differ by at least a minute. Of course, this looks like a touch of the Will Ritson. All good for tourism!
This looks like a Tudor court cupboard embedded in to the wall. Why remove it when provides interest for visitors? The leather shoes on top add to the ambience, even though the original owners of these shoes may be long departed. The bowl on the floor is for Billy - about whom more later - and friends. As mentioned, this "court cupboard" may date from the time when the hotel actually consisted of three separate houses or cottages. Such furniture was regarded as valuable in days of yore and was often used to keep household effects.
These are details of the crude, but attractive, ...
... door carvings and hinges.
These panels are likewise ...
... in their way, crude but attractive.
Closer to the door is this piece of furniture.
It appears to be from a much later - post-Tudor - period and the carving is more refined.
The lounge also contained some interesting items. There were "Guest Books", some going back to the thirties and also to the war years. I don't think that there were visitors' names from Germany in these early guest books. Importantly, these guest books made an excellent support for Tony for his lap top. Sic transit gloria mundi! There was a massive heavy Victorian half-bound family bible. There were Victorian and Edwardian books on the British monarchy, on European monarchies and on British achievements. There were lots of other books by authors such as Wainwright - a must in the Lake District. There were also some prints (from steel engravings) and a lot of pictures of lesser value. So, a lot to be getting on with when the Weather Gods were not smiling too benignly - i.e., when it was, as today, bucketing with rain.
It's still pouring. Let's journey to the lounge.
WASDALE HALL, CUMBERLAND
Seat of Stansfeld Rawson Esq
This is a hand coloured Georgian print from a steel engraving, and dates from 1835. Steel engraving came from America and was originally introduced to produce their bank notes. Anyway, Wasdale Hall
is now a YHA and is on the way from Wasdale Head to Nether Wasdale.
Some of you would see it for real today on your Nether Wasdale walk.
By the way, the frame and mount for this, and subsequent prints,
are my humble embellishments, courtesy of HTML5! For this web page,
it seemed easier to "dispense with" the original frames as presented in the hotel lounge!
This is one of the views that those returning from Nether Wasdale to Wasdale Head will see. This particular view is a hand-coloured print published by Fisher, Son & Co, London 1835. Note the word "published" and what it implies!
EXCURSION IN THE LAKE DISTRICT
This picture appears to show a Victorian excursion for both
ladies and gentlemen in the Lake District. More I could not elucidate! Perhaps, dear visitor of this web page, you can enlighten me!
It was time to shrug off incipient "cabin fever". After all, the rain had eased off slightly. So, some snowy mountain pictures could be in order. Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Pillar were all grist to my photographic mill.
Kirk Fell has received a new helping of snow.
In the Lakes, snow lines - like here - can often be seen clearly.
Kirk Fell and Great Gable
Wasdale Head Inn and Pillar
Kirk Fell and Great Gable
Now Billy is 15 years old and lives in the farm at Burnthwaite, on the way to Sty Head.
Billy likes to come into the Hotel and the Restaurant
where he knows he will get some titbits from the diners and their dinners.
His wagging tail indicates that he is expecting a titbit.
His paw marks on the otherwise clean floor tiles by the hotel entrance
are an additional indication that he is in eager anticipation of just such a titbit, even if he has not yet reached the restaurant this morning.
The rain had eased sufficiently to so that one would not experience the "Jemima puddle duck" effect when venturing out, although the ground would be soaked. Now that the becks, gills and streams were in full spate, how about visiting Ritson's Force? "Force" is Lakeland for "waterfall", and a nice waterfall Ritson's Force proved to be.
Illgill Head. At 604 to 609 m, not quite so much snow as its neighbours.
Pillar on the left.
More Ritson's Force. It's muddy, so I shan't get too close less I slip into the raging waters. Not good for the personal constitution.
The National Trust owns a lot of land around here. Otherwise you might see housing estates march up and down the mountains. Hmm. Hmm. Who wants to see mountains when you can cover them with bricks, mortar and concrete? Hmm. Hmm.
More Ritson's Force ...
... and yet more Ritson's Force.
Before returning to the Inn, I looked in at Saint Olaf's Church again. I had visited the church before, but Sue said that there was something in the church about the electricity supply in Wasdale. You know how it is. One does not necessarily take in all the interesting points at one visit to wherever and/or to whatever. No need to ask why one should be interested in the electricity supply in Wasdale. There are at least two reasons, and probably more.
This is inside the old church, claimed to be the smallest church in England. It goes back to at least the 17th century, but the roof timbers "are supposed" to be from Viking long ships.
This is what the locals do well round here. As in Nether Wasdale, the church has a potted history of the locality. Electricity first came to Wasdale Head as late as 1977. Where are the pylons? Well, we are in an "AONB" and the National Trust has kept out all those housing estates. And? Well, apparently, Wast Water was found deep enough (it is supposed to be the deepest lake in England) for cables to laid on the bottom. Cables are much more expensive than pylons, otherwise we would all be living in "pylon-less" Great Britain. So there!
Most of us - except five souls - would be leaving tomorrow morning. It was therefore nice to spend the last evening together prior to our mass exodus to the South the next day. It was a sort of "Last Supper". There was much to talk about, for we all had had a good weekend away, whatever the weather.
You take some pictures ...
... and each turns out to be a bit different. CLOGgies appear on one, only to be replaced by other CLOGgies in the next picture.
Anyway, I think most of us have appeared in at least one of the pictures.
Topics of conversation? What we have experienced, and what lies in store for us on future CLOG trips. A nice way to round off our CLOG Easter away break - "Wasdale 2018".