Yesterday turned out to be our last full day in the Lake District. We were booked to stay until tomorrow but warnings of snow on the Pennines led us to make the decision to travel home early. As we battled through a snowstorm on our way home this morning we knew we had made the right decision.

In England there is a definite North/South divide. Southerners get most of the money and crime whilst Northerners get most of the great scenery and a lot more happiness. Having somewhere as beautiful as the Lake District only an hour or so down the road is wonderful especially as so many of us up north can't afford to travel very far on our vacations.

Saint Bees Head is a headland on the North West coast of the English county of Cumbria and is named after the nearby village of St Bees. It lies on the Cumbria Coastal Way and Wainwright Coast to Coast long-distance footpaths, it is the only stretch of Heritage Coast on the English coastline between the Welsh and Scottish borders, and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Both long-distance footpaths follow the edge of the cliffs, which rise to 200 ft above sea level, and afford spectacular views of the Cumbrian mountains and coast. The RSPB maintains a reserve, which includes kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, razorbill, cormorant, puffin, shag and herring gull. It is the only breeding place in England for black guillemots. Several other birds are known to use this site regularly for breeding and these include the tawny owl, sparrowhawk, peregrine, raven and the rock pipit, which is known to breed in only one other site in Cumbria.

Two friends on the beach at Saint Bees

Looking south down Saint Bees Beach

Three friends on the beach at Saint Bees

Delphi (front view)

Delphi (back view)

Looking towards Coniston and the fells beyond from the lakeside path

Coniston is a village and civil parish in the Furness region of Cumbria, England. It is located in the southern part of the Lake District National Park, between Coniston Water, the third longest lake in the Lake District, and Coniston Old Man, the highest fell in the Coniston Fells group.. Coniston grew as both a farming village, and to serve local copper and slate mines. It grew in popularity as a tourist location during the Victorian era.

The poet and social critic John Ruskin also popularised the village, buying the mansion Brantwoodon the Eastern side of Coniston Water in 1871. Before his death, he rejected the chance to be buried in Westminster Abbey, instead being laid to rest in the churchyard of St Andrews, Coniston

Coniston is also the location of the fictional Lawson Park vivisection research facility in the animated film of the Richard Adams' book The Plague Dogs from which the two dogs escape.

Coniston Water is the third largest lake in the English Lake District.  It is five miles long, half a mile wide, has a maximum depth of 184 feet, and covers an area of 1.89 square milesRemains of agricultural settlements from the Bronze Age have been found near the shores of Coniston Water. The Romans mined copper from the fells above the lake, and a potash kiln and two iron bloomeries show that industrial activity continued in medieval times. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Coniston Water was an important source of fish for the monks of Furness Abbey who owned the lake and much of the surrounding land. Copper mining continued in the area until the 19th century. Arthur Ransome set his children's novel Swallows and Amazons and some of its sequels on a fictional lake, but drew much of his inspiration from Coniston Water. Some of Coniston Water's islands and other local landmarks can be identified in the novel. In particular, Peel Island is the Wild Cat Island of the book including the secret harbour.

In the 20th century Coniston Water was the scene of many attempts to break the world water speed record. On August 19, 1939 Sir Malcolm Campbell set the record at 141.74 miles per hour in Bluebird K4. Between 1956 and 1959 Sir Malcolm's son Donald Campbell set four successive records on the lake in Bluebird K7, a hydroplane. In 1966 Donald Campbell decided that he needed to exceed 300 miles per hour (483 km/h) in order to retain the record. On January 4, 1967 he achieved a top speed of over 320 miles per hour (515 km/h) in Bluebird K7 on the return leg of a record-breaking attempt. He then lost control of Bluebird, which somersaulted and crashed, sinking rapidly. Campbell was killed instantly on impact. The attempt could not be counted as a record-breaking run because the second leg was not completed. The remains of Bluebird were recovered from the water in 2001 and all of Campbell's body except for his head were recovered later in the same year. attempts to find the head have been made with no success.



  1. Thank you so much for taking us on your trip with you. I am so glad you shared. Much love to you, Mrs. Madpriest and the kids.

  2. Interesting (but sad, obviously) re Donald Campbell [I confess that my gut reaction was a “Bring Me the Head of …!” joke, which I stifled. Sort of.]

    Speaking of sad (oh, not your beautiful pics, MP, nor gorgeous doggies!): when you get home, do you think you could find the time for a Musical RIP thread? We’ve lost of LOT of rock, blues and R&B artists in the past month or so (a Staples sister, a Temptations singer, guitarist Alvin Lee, among others. RIP to all)

  3. Thanks for these photo essays. I have never been to England, despite wanting to see it since I was a boy and Henry VIII was ruling it. Your photos make it come alive.


  4. You’re the kind of docent I pray for. Ever consider guiding tours? Such beautiful country – “Oh, that we were there.” Maybe someday.